Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
January 27, 2013; 11:00 GMT
Real Madrid are in the headlines for all the wrong reasons again. Just when it seemed the squad had picked itself up and put aside its differences, if there were any, the Spanish national daily Marca has dropped a bomb. In a sensational revelation it claimed that Real Madrid captains Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos had served an ultimatum to President Fiorentino Perez regarding Jose Mourinho’s departure at the end of season. While Perez, Casillas and Ramos have all denied these revelations, it clearly would have affected the morale of a team that had only just started to pick up the last pieces of jigsaw puzzle. Casillas suffering a broken bone hasn’t helped in calming the nerves either. Real Madrid will now meet Barcelona in the semi-finals of Copa Del Rey, after the latter advanced at the expense of Malaga.
Amidst all the controversy surrounding them, Real Madrid will need to put up a performance to up the morale for a series of fixtures that represent their only chance of silverware this season.
Getafe have had an inconsistent season so far in La Liga and are currently in the 11th position. They have secured victories, important ones at those, especially against Real Madrid when they defeated their more illustrious cross town rivals in the reverse fixture early on in the season, but have failed to maintain consistency. El Geta are known to produce some of their best football against Real Madrid and have caused them trouble in several fixtures in recent years. Manager Luis Garcia will be looking for more of the same from his side on Sunday.
Team News and Tactics
Jose Mourinho would have wanted to select his team with an eye on the Copa Del Rey fixture against Barcelona, but the string of injuries and suspensions for the ‘Cup’ means that the starting line-up pretty much selects itself for this fixture.
Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas, according to early reports, has fractured a bone in his left hand which could sideline him for upto two months. It will be a massive blow for Real Madrid who play several key fixtures, including both the ‘Cup-Clasicos’ and Champions League fixtures against Manchester United. Pepe also remains sidelined as he recovers from his ankle surgery early this month.
Sergio Ramos returns to the squad after serving a four-match suspension, although he will miss the clash against Barcelona, as will Fabio Coentrao and Angel Di Maria. This would mean an automatic inclusion for the trio in the starting line-up in their respective positions. Antonio Adan will keep the goal for Real Madrid, assisted by a backline of Arbeloa, Ramos, Albiol and Coentrao. Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira, both of whose performances have improved in the recent weeks, will form the midfield pivot.
The attacking trio for Real Madrid will comprise of Di Maria on the right flank, Ronaldo, who will return to La Liga action after missing the 0-0 draw against Osasuna on account of suspension, on the right flank, and Luka Modric through the middle. Mesut Ozil, who turned in his best performance for Real Madrid this season against Valencia, last week, will be rested with an eye on the fixture against Barcelona. Jose Mourinho’s preference to play Karim Benzema ahead of Gonzalo Higuain in most of the fixtures against Barcelona he has been in-charge of will mean that the latter will lead the line for Real Madrid.
Getafe’s susceptibility to attacks from the flanks and failure to exert dominance in the midfield this season are two gaps in the armour that Real Madrid will want to utilise, especially with the return of Ronaldo to the side. The former’s strength at defending set pieces and winning aerial duels, only behind Real Madrid in these statistics, will see Los Blancos’s best chances come from the wings while Khedira and Alonso will need to dominate the game in the middle of the park. The duel between Ronaldo and Juan Valera will be an interesting one.
Probable Starting XI [4-2-3-1] : Adan(GK); Arbeloa, Ramos, Albiol, Coentrao; Khedira, Alonso; Di Maria, Modric, Ronaldo; Higuain
Manager Luis Garcia has a severely depleted squad for the fixture. Key figures in former Real Madrid winger Pedro Leon and Abdel Barrada, alongside injuries to Angel Lafita and others means that their squad would pretty much select itself as well. However, Diego Castro will make a welcome return to the squad.
One of Getafe’s most consistent performers this season, Miguel Moya would start in goal. He will be assisted by a backline of Juan Valera, Alberto Lopo, Alexis (on loan from Sevilla) and Miguel Torres. Xavi Torres will be partnered by Juan Rodriguez, who has forced himself into the side of late, in forming the midfield pivot, while the attacking trio will comprise of returning Diego Castro on the right flank, Pablo Sarabia, a Real Madrid Castilla graduate, through the middle and Adrian Colunga will line up on left flank. Paco Alcácer will lead the line.
Getafe will need to rely on their strengths to come away with anything from this fixture. They will have to play most of the game in their own half as Real Madrid will dominate the midfield. They will need at times to defend as a unit and their relative ease at playing in their own half and ability to win aerial duels will benefit them. Getafe prefer to take a lot of shots during the course of 90 minutes, something which might unsettle the inexperienced Adan in goal. Juan Rodriguez and Diego Catsro will be instrumental for the Azuolones.
Probable Starting XI [4-2-3-1] : Moya(GK); Valera, Lopo, Alexis, M. Torres; X. Torres, Rodriguez; Castro, Sarabia, Colunga; Alcácer
- Real Madrid have won their last 4 home matches against Getafe in all competitions.
- Getafe have failed to win their last 6 matches in La Liga.
- Getafe are on a six game winless streak in La Liga
- Real Madrid are 15 points behind league leaders Barcelona.
Player To Watch Out
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
The Portuguese superstar missed out on La Liga action due to a suspension and his absence was dearly felt in the Real Madrid ranks. He has started the new year on a high note and will be central to Los Blancos’ hopes at a slightly cagey Bernabeu after the recent events.
Real Madrid 3-1 Getafe
Despite the recent controversies, the quality in Real Madrid ranks and the Getafe’s depleted squad would mean that the home side will take the three points. It could be a cagey affair initially but Los Blancos will prevail. It is high time that this team sent out a message worthy of the shirt they wear.
Blast from the Past