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Deportivo La Coruῆa

Saturday, 13th February 2015

17:00 GMT

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Real Madrid return to La Liga action as they host Deportivo La Coruῆa at the Bernabeu. Real Madrid are on a bad run of form having started the year on the wrong foot. After losing the year’s first game against Valencia, Real Madrid were eliminated by local rivals Atletico Madrid, who also beat them in La Liga last weekend. Real Madrid were embarrassed by Atletico as the league leaders suffered an astounding 4-0 defeat at the hands of the last season’s champions. Facing Deportivo at home, Real Madrid have the chance to prove to their critics that they deserve to be at the top and protect their one-point lead over second placed Barcelona by winning the home game.

Deportivo La Coruῆa will travel to the Bernabeu with the hope of taking advantage of Real Madrid’s poor form that they displayed against Atletico last week. Deportivo have a tough task at hand to contain a down but not yet out Real Madrid team. Manager, Victor Fernandez, will be hoping his side exceed expectations on Saturday. Deportivo, who have won their last two league games, have the advantage of facing a Real Madrid side that is severely ridden by injuries at a crucial juncture in the season. Placed 11th in the league table, Deportivo have no pressure to win this one.

Team News and tactics

Real Madrid

Ancelotti’s side must come in this game with a solid intention to win it at any cost. They lacked the intention and passion against Atletico last Saturday and the result was left for all to see. Since the game against Atletico, a lot of criticism and controversial accusations have come Real Madrid’s way regarding the club and players’ attitude. However, the European champions are still the league leaders with an advantage of one point over Barcelona. Against Deportivo, Real Madrid must play their best football, if they want the criticism to subside and make the home fans happy. While Real Madrid are definitely favourites to win the game if they play their natural style of football – a mix of possession-based and highly paced counter-attacks. A failure to earn three points will prove to be risky for Real Madrid in the long run.

Since the game against Sevilla, Real Madrid have lost some pivotal players of the squad to injuries. Coentrao and Khedira have joined Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Modric and James Rodriguez in the injury list leaving Carlo Ancelotti short of options in the defence as well as midfield. Khedira’s injury means Illarramendi will most probably start the game alongside Kroos and Isco, while Lucas Silva is expected to get his first minutes for the club as a substitute. Marcelo has completed his suspension and will start the game.

 Probable Line-Up (4-3-3): Casillas; Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo; Illarramendi, Kroos, Isco; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo;

real deportivoDeportivo La Coruῆa

Deportivo are sitting comfortably in the mid-table, placed 11th in the league. They have nothing to lose when they travel to Madrid and will play the game with absolutely no expectations from them to succeed. However, the team will be confident after two successive league wins and will go into this game determined to upset Real Madrid.  Deportivo will definitely have to spend a lot of time in their own half defending the juggernaut of Madrid’s attacking trio – Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo. In order to succeed, Deportivo must be very compact while defending and allow little space for the Real Madrid attackers to do their job. A tough fixture awaits Deportivo.

Having had a good game last Friday, Deportivo manager is not expected to make many changes to his side since the 2-0 win over Eibar.

Probable Line-Up (4-2-3-1): Fabricio; Juanfran, Lopo, Insua, Luisinho; Bergantinos, Borges; Cuenca, Lucas, Cavaleiro; Riera;

Player To Watch Out For

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo has received a lot of criticism for having no impact in the game against Atletico and then throwing a party to celebrate his birthday after the embarrassing defeat. Ronaldo is a player known to bounce back just when everyone is about to write him off. On Saturday, the Balon d’Or winner plays the team he made his competitive debut against for Real Madrid and he will be determined to show his fans and supporters that he still has it in him to be one of the best, if not the best, in the world.

Prediction

Real Madrid 3-0 Deportivo

Real Madrid maybe a bit off form and injury-ridden, but that will not stop them for dominating the game against mid-table Deportivo. The Real Madrid squad has a point to prove and the game against Deportivo is just the right platform for them to regain their lost momentum. An easy victory seems to be on the horizon for Real Madrid.