After a controversial El Clasico defeat that had threatened to undo much of the good work done thus far, Real Madrid’s 7-3 thrashing of Sevilla helped calmed the nerves at Santiago Bernabéu. Gareth Bale got in among the goals and assisted a further two, which would have given his confidence a much needed boost, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo who scored another perfunctory hat-trick, duly replying to Sepp Blatter’s rather foolish remarks.
Hoping to build on the win, Real Madrid will travel across the city in the neighborhood of Vallecas to take on Rayo Vallecano, regarded as ‘The’ left-leaning club in Madrid. Derbies in Spain, more so in the capital, often tend to involve overt political ramifications and the supporters of the home team will be on Real Madrid’s back, the ‘Government’s Club’ the moment they come out on the pitch, setting up the scene for an exciting derby clash.
Rayo Vallecano – Team news, Lineup and Formation
After finishing an impressive 8th last season, Rayo have endured a horrible start to the season and currently sit 19th at the bottom of the table. On the back of consecutive defeats and a crippling injury list, Real Madrid’s visit might just have come at the worst possible time for Los Vallecanos. With possibly as many as six players ruled out, manager Paco Jimez has an unenvied task on his hands.
Rayo would be expected to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, Jimez’s choice for majority of this season. Ruben Martinez would continue between the posts, with a tinkered back-four featuring Tito, Galvez, Anaitz Arbilla and Nacho at left back. Adrian and Roberto Trashorras will form the holding pivot in the middle of the park, with a routine trio of Lass, Jonathan Viera and Iago Falque ahead of them. Alberto Bueno will be leading the line for Rayo Vallecano.
Expected Line-ups (4-2-3-1): (GK); Tito, Galvez, Arbilla, Nacho; Adrian, Trashorras; Lass, Viera, Falque; Bueno
Real Madrid – Team news, Lineup and Formation
Xabi Alonso’s return to the field of play has perhaps been this season’s best piece of news for Madridistas. Carlo Ancelotti will be pleased to see two key players in Isco and Alonso return from injuries almost simultaneously and boost the squad; the duo was clearly missed during the Clasico. With a full squad to choose from, Ancelotti will be glad to have a pleasant selection headache unlike his counterpart.
Real Madrid will take to the pitch in a 4-2-3-1 formation, although there will be changes from the team that started against Sevilla. Ancelotti stated in his presser that Xabi Alonso will start in the midfield, and hinted at Varane being dropped in view of the game against Juventus on Tuesday. On the pitch, Diego Lopez will resume his duties between the posts, assisted by a back four featuring Pepe and Carvajal’s return alongside Ramos and Marcelo.
In the midfield, Illarra would make way for Alonso, who will partner Sami Khedira in the holding pivot. Aided by Isco’s return, Real Madrid’s attacking third will feature the fearful trio of Bale, Isco and Cristiano Ronaldo. Among a plethora of faults, Rayo Vallecano have been found particularly week in defending down the flanks against Counter attacks, and perhaps no team could be better suited to take advantage of this with the wealth of attacking talent on display. Karim Benzema, also boosted by a better performance against Sevilla, will lead the line for Real Madrid.
Expected Line-ups (4-2-3-1): Lopez (GK); Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Khedira, Alonso; Bale, Isco, Ronaldo; Benzema
- Cristiano Ronaldo, with his hat-trick against Sevilla, has now surpassed the goal scoring exploits of the legendary Ferenc Puskas
- Real Madrid have won their last 7 matches against Rayo Vallecano in all competitions.
- Real Madrid are undefeated in 25 of their last 27 matches in La Liga.
- Rayo Vallecano have lost 8 of their last 10 matches in La Liga. They endured a two-month losing streak between August and September, losing in all 6 fixtures.
Player to watch out for
Gareth Bale enjoyed his finest performance in a Real Madrid shirt till date and all eyes will inadvertently be on the world’s most expensive player as he attempts to kick-start his career in Spain. His speed on the flanks and ability to combine with Isco and Ronaldo will be crucial to Real Madrid’s hopes of walking away with three points in a hostile environment.
Rayo Vallecano 1-3 Real Madrid
It is almost always tough to predict the outcome in a derby game, but the quality in Real Madrid ranks, boosted by important players returning from injury, and Rayo’s run of form implies that Los Blancos will walk away with three important points.
Blast from the Past