Saturday, 29th April, 2015
Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Real Madrid face Almeria at home after Barcelona beat Getafe to move five points ahead of the second-placed side.
It seems like the race for La Liga title will be stretched right till the very end as Real Madrid face Almeria looking to close in on league leaders Barcelona. Barcelonaa s win on Getafe, has helped them stay on top of the table and they have extended their lead to 5 points. Real Madrid must win against lowly Almeria on Wednesday in order to remain in contention of finishing at the top of the league. Meanwhile, Almeria need to fight hard to remain in the first division and avoid relegation. The Andalusian outfit is only two points ahead of the relegation zone and a defeat on Wednesday threatens to put them behind 18th placed Deportivo.
Team News and Tactics
The upcoming games for Real Madrid are truly going to test their resilience. The Spanish giants have to face Almeria, Sevilla, Juventus, Valencia and Juventus again in a span of two weeks and Real must win all of the league games in order to remain in the reckoning for the title. If Real Madrid falter in even one of the remaining five league games, they will be gifting the title to Barcelona. In a must-win situation like this, Almeria are one of the most favourable opponents Real Madrid would want to face. The club based in the Spanish capital will have a good chance of brushing up their attacking skills and resting some key players ahead of the Saturdaya s Sevilla test. Against Almeria, Real Madrid will play highly attacking football while maintaining most of the possession. The home side will try to exploit the gaps left by the defenders and it is difficult to see the defence concede any goals against Almeria at the Bernabeu.
Carlo Ancelotti will be missing the services of Dani Carvajal and Sergio Ramos as both the defenders are serving a suspension due to accumulation of 10 yellow cards each. Both the Spain internationals will enjoy some much deserved rest and travel to Seville on Saturday with a clean slate. Arbeloa and Pepe will be replacing the two defenders. In his press conference ahead of the game, Ancelotti confirmed that Jes and Keylor Navas will start the game. Chicharito Hernandez, who scored a brace last weekend against Celta, will definitely start the game along with Ronaldo. Teenager, Martin Odegaard, has also been called up for the game and the Norwegian might make his debut for a Los Blancosa .
Probable Line-Up (4-3-3): Navas; Arbeloa, Varane, Pepe, Marcelo; Isco, Kroos, James; Jes , Chicharito, Ronaldo;
Almeria have bigger problems to deal with than their opponents on Wednesday. The away side is trying to avoid relegation and travelling to the Bernabeu at this stage can hardly work in their favour. They are two points clear of 18th-placed Deportivo, but a defeat at the hands of Real Madrid can give Deportivo the opportunity to overtake Almeria in the relegation battle. To top it all, the away sidea s manager, Sergi Barjuan has only been at the helm for four games, having won two of them. Playing at the Bernabeu, Almeria will surely see very little possession throughout the game. The defenders will have to be on their toes to prevent the highly dangerous Real Madrid attack from running a riot. Almeria should remain cautious throughout the game and wait for their chances. The away side must exploit the gaps lefts behind by Reala s defence, which is used to playing a high-line, and be swift in their counter-attacks if they wish to return home with a positive result.
Almeria will be without Wellington Silva and Thievy Bifouma through suspension, but Sebastian Dubarbier is set to return to the line-up having served his ban. Meanwhile, Fernando Soriano, Michel and Fran Velez remain on the sidelines, giving the manager very few options on the bench.
Probable Line-Up (4-3-1-2): Ruben; Dubarbier, Trujillo, Mauro, Ximo; Verza, Thomas, Corona; Espinosa; Hemed, Zongo;
Player to watch out for
Chicharito (Real Madrid)
The Manchester United loanee was complaining of hardly getting any gametime at Real Madrid. However, given the opportunity, the Mexican has proved his worth and helped Real Madrid get into the Champions League semi-final and win against Celta de Vigo after going a goal down in ten minutes. Having scored 3 goals in the last two games, Chicharito is expected to add to his tally on Wednesday facing a considerably weak opponent in Almeria.
Real Madrid 3-0 Almeria
Real Madrid are expected to have an easy run-in at the opposition on Wednesday. However, keeping Saturdaya s game against Sevilla in mind, Ancelotti will not want to exert his players too much against Almeria. Despite that, Real Madrid should comfortably beat the side from the bottom half.