La Rosaleda, Malaga
Saturday, 15 March, 19:00 GMT
As we go into the 28th La Liga gameweek, Real Madrid travel to Malaga. Can Malaga be the barrier in Real Madrid’s race to the La Liga title?
Real Madrid will travel to Malaga to play one of the most important games of the season. Being 3 points clear at the top, this game can make or break Real Madrid’s chances of the La Liga title before the upcoming El Clasico. Having seen a lot of ups and downs this season, Real Madrid are in a perfect position and cannot afford a slip-up at this stage. Real Madrid are currently 3 points ahead of Atletico Madrid and 4 points ahead of Barcelona at the top of the table. A win against Malaga will ensure that they remain at the top and go into the Clasico next week as league leaders.
Playing at home, Malaga will be hell-bent and will give their best to try and put an end to Real Madrid’s unbeaten streak. With 29 points in the 13th place, Malaga are only 3 points away from the relegation zone and a loss will only worsen their condition. However, having won their last game away from home against Osasuna, Malaga come into this game with a glimmer of hope. The fact that Real Madrid will be under pressure considering their upcoming Clasico, Malaga can exploit the situation and take advantage of it.
Real Madrid will look to extend their unbeaten run to 30 games now and also maintain their 3-points lead at the top. A win will ensure that Real Madrid go into their next game which is against Barcelona 3 points clear at the top. Having had no other fixtures in the week after last weekend’s home win against Levante, Real Madrid have had enough time to prepare for this fixture. A very important game for both the teams, it promises to be a tight affair with Real Madrid going into the game as favourites. The last time these two teams faced each other, it resulted in a 2-0 victory for ‘Los Blancos’ at the Bernabeu with Willy Caballero putting up a stunning display despite the loss.
Bernd Schuster will be facing his former employers at home and will want his team to spoil the party for ‘Los Blancos’. Malaga, currently struggling at the 13th place in the table have only won 1 of their last 5 league games. However, that victory has come away from home against Osasuna. The hosts have a few concerning injury and suspension problems to deal with. Full back Jesus Gamez is suspended for the clash while centre back Ferreira is also out with an injury. Angeleri is likely to revert to the right back position with Wellington starting at the heart of the defence. Midfielder Darder is also suspended for the clash while forward Eliseu is out with a stomach problem.
Bernd Schuster will field a 4-2-3-1 with Caballero featuring between the sticks. The back four will consist of Angeleri, Sanchez, Wellington and Antunes. Camacho and Tissone will occupy the defensive midfield roles. Duda will be fielded as a central attacking midfielder flanked by Samuel and Portilo on the wings. Santa Cruz will lead the attack upfront.
Probable Line-Up (4-2-3-1): Caballero; Angeleri, Sanchez, Wellington, Antunes; Camacho, Tissone; Samuel, Duda, Portilo; Santa Cruz;
Real Madrid are in fine form. Having gone 29 games unbeaten, Real Madrid are having a solid season and have been one of the most consistent clubs in Europe this season. After a comfortable 3-0 win against Levante over the weekend, Real Madrid find themselves 3 points clear at the top of the Liga table. Real Madrid are 3 points ahead of second placed Atletico and 4 points ahead of Barcelona who faced a shocked defeat against Valladolid last weekend. Looking to continue their fine run and maintaining their position in the league, Real Madrid will leave no stone unturned in their attempts to seal a victory. A win seems all more important for ‘The Whites’ as they will be facing eternal rivals Barcelona next week. Real Madrid will be boosted by the return of Daniel Carvajal as Alvaro Arbeloa is out injured for the visitors. Defender Sergio Ramos is suspended for the clash and Raphael Varane is likely to start at defence while the attacking trio is unlikely to be changed. With Di Maria just one yellow away from suspension, Ancelotti might not risk the Argentine and will look to field Isco in midfield and will let him have a crack at his old teammates.
Ancelotti will stick to the 4-3-3 which seems to be working perfectly well for everyone at Real Madrid. As has been the norm lately, Diego Lopez will be fielded between the sticks as he does for all the league games. Carvajal, Pepe, Varane and Marcelo will be assigned the defensive duties. Alonso, Modric and Isco will feature in the middle of the park. The sensational attacking trio of Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo will take their usual positions upfront.
Probable Line-Up (4-3-3): Lopez; Carvajal, Pepe, Varane, Marcelo; Alonso, Modric, Isco; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo;
Malaga 1-3 Real Madrid
With ‘Los Blancos’ in such a fine form and Malaga fairly struggling, it will be difficult to believe that Malaga can end Real Madrid’s unbeaten run. With Ancelotti stressing on the importance of this fixture, Real Madrid will put their strongest foot forward in order to seal the win and go into next week’s Clasico 4 or more points ahead of Barcelona.