REAL MADRID C. F.
. Santiago Bernab u, Madrid
Saturday 26th September, 2015, 17:15 GMT
Newly instated La Liga leaders Real Madrid will be looking to cement their grip on top spot when they take on a struggling Malaga side at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid on Saturday. Real Madrid battled to a win 2-1 against a gritty Athletic Bilbao side at the Estadio San Mame courtesy of a brace from Karim Benzema. On the other hand, Malaga have endured a miserable to start to the season and are currently placed in 19th position with no wins and 2 draws in 5 matches.
Team News and Tactics
Real Madrid have had an unbeaten start to the season with 4 wins and 1 draw in their opening 5 matches. After overcoming a difficult trip to the Basque countryside to face Bilbao, the Los Blancos face a relatively easier opponent in Malaga at the Santiago Bernebeu. 3 more points will heap further pressure on bitter rivals FC Barcelona who fell to a surprising 4-1 defeat against high flying Celta Vigo in midweek.
Costa Rican International goalkeeper Keylor Navas has had a fantastic start to the new campaign for the capital club having conceded just one goal in 5 matches. He will be optimistic in adding to his clean sheet tally against a Malaga side which has failed to score a single goal all season.
In defence, Real Madrid’s injury problems were further compounded by a leg injury picked up by Pepe in the 2-1 win in midweek. He is racing to be fit against Malaga. His centre-back partner Sergio Ramos is also expected to miss the match on account of a shoulder dislocation he suffered against Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League. The inexperienced Nacho Fernandez will partner Raphael Varane at the centre of defence for the Los Merengues provided Pepe is unable to recover from his niggle.
With Danilo still out, Carvajal will continue at right-back with Marcelo occupying the left-back position.
Toni Kroos and Luka Modric will be deployed in front of the defence as a two man pivot in midfield. Mateo Kovacic and Isco will continue to deputize for the injured Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez in attacking roles, while Ronaldo and Benzema will start up front for Real Madrid.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Navas; Varane, Pepe, Marcelo, Carvajal; Kroos, Modric; Isco, Benzema, Kovacic, Ronaldo.
19th place Malaga will be fearing the worst when they take on the table toppers Real Madrid at the Santiao Bernabeu. Despite tottering just above last position in the table, Malaga have conceded the 2nd fewest goals (3) in the league this season only behind Atletico Madrid (2) and Valencia (2).
Keeper Carlos Kameni has performed admirably in goal for Malaga this season having made a string of crucial saves at important moments in the matches played. He will be hoping to do more of the same against the team who have scored the joint highest number of goals this season in La Liga (14) along with Celta Vigo.
Weligton Oliveira will partner Marcos Angeleri at the centre of defence for the South coast club with Boka and Roberto Rosales continuing at left-back and right-back positions respectively.
Ricardo Horta and Dude will operate as wingers on either flanks for Malaga while Recio and Fernando Tissone will occupy the central midfield berths. Juanpi Acosta will play in the hole as a creative force behind the striker, Charles Oliviera.
Nordin Amrabat, Roque Santa Cruz and Ignacio Camacho are expected to miss out due to injury.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Kameni, Weligton, Angeleri, Rosales, Boka; Tissone, Recio; Horta, Duda, Juanpi; Charles.
- Malaga have failed to score a single goal in 5 matches played so far this season
- Real Madrid are the joint top scorers in La Liga this season with 14 goals along with Celta Vigo
- In 30 previous meetings between the two sides, Malaga have secured just one win, beating Real Madrid 3-2 during the 2012-13 season.
- Real have 23 wins against this weekend’s opponents, while just six matches have resulted in draws.
- Since their sole defeat to Malaga, Real have secured five straight wins, including last time the sides met at the Bernabeu in April, when they secured a 3-1 win.
- This can be a heated fixture, with seven red cards coming in the last 15 meetings between the two sides.
Player to watch out for:
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Real Madrida s French striker Karim Benzema roared back into the spotlight with a well timed brace for the capital club against Atheltic Bilbao in midweek. He currently sits joint top of the La Liga scoring charts with Cristiano Ronaldo and Nolito (5 Goals).
Benzema also opened the scoring for the Los Blancos against Shakhtar Donetsk in the first round of the Champions League.
The French International endured a torrid time last season as he failed to make a mark for the club due to form and injury. Benzema will be anxious to bury the demons of last season when he lines up against Malaga on Saturday.
Real Madrid 4 – 0 Malaga
Despite injuries to a host of first team players such as James Rodriguez, Bale and Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid will be expected to overpower a Malaga side that has failed to score a single goal this season. Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking to get on the score sheet and add to their tallies in the race to become the Pichichi this season. Real Madrid will be hoping to put atleast 4 goals past a hapless Malaga side and will coast to a comfortable win.
Blast from the past: