Santiago Bernabeu, Spain
19th September, 2015; 19:30 GMT
Real Madrid take on Granada as they look to keep up their brilliant form under Rafael Benitez. Though Carlo Ancelottia s successor suffered a slow start to the campaign, Real Madrid have scored 15 goals so far without conceding any.
Team News, Tactics, Line-ups
Rafael Benitez faces his biggest challenge at Real Madrid as the likes of James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos remain sidelined due to injuries. Along with the Colombian international, Gareth Bale was central to Beniteza s plans at Madrid and it seems that the manager will have to shuffle things around in order to cope with such a severe loss.
Karim Benzema is expected to lead the teama s attack along with Cristiano Ronaldo who is on a red hot goal scoring form. The Portuguese has scored 8 goals in his last two outings and Benitez will be banking on his star player to lead the charge against Granada. Isco is expected to find a spot in the starting eleven along with Mateo Kovacic who could get his first start at Real Madrid after moving from Inter Milan. Alternatively, the manager could also opt to play Isco centrally while promoting Jese Rodriguez to the starting line-up in a bid to strengthen the wings.
Luka Modric and Toni Kroos are likely to take their place in the midfield with Pepe, Marcelo and Carvajal leading the defence. Raphael Varane suffered a slight knock in their Champions League clash on Tuesday and with Sergio Ramos out injured, Nacho could get the nod to partner Pepe in front of Keylor Navas.
Following the disastrous transfer swap between Manchester United and Real Madrid, Keylor Navas seems to have found his feet at Madrid after scripting a new record at the club as he became the first goal-keeper to start the season with 4 consecutive clean sheets.
Expected Starting Eleven: Navas (GK); Marcelo, Pepe, Nacho, Carvajal; Modric, Kroos, Ronaldo, Isco, Kovacic; Benzema
Granada will be keen to avoid another thrashing at Santiago Bernabeu after they succumbed to a 9-1 defeat in the same fixture last season. Having won only 3 points from their opening fixtures, Granada will hope to put forward a strong performance against Real Madrid.
Obvious underdogs on paper, Granada have a better chance to take on Madrid due to their long list of injuries. El- Arabi and Marquez will be keen to stretch the make-shift defence in order to test Keylor Navas in goal. However, their poor defensive record is going to be a constant source of worry for Jose Ramon Sandoval as they attempt to keep Real Madrid at bay.
Fernandez is expected to take his place between the posts with Lopes, Cristiano Biraghi, David Lomban and Babin guarding the defence at Santiago Bernabeu. With Rubin Perez out with an injury, Rene Krhin and Fran Rico will take their place in the midfield, flanked by Isaac Success and Ruben Rochina on the wings. El Arabi is expected to lead the charge with Javi Marquez for support.
Expected Starting Eleven: Fernandez (GK); Lopes, Biraghi, Lomban, Babin; Krhin, Rico, Marquez, Rochina, Success; El Arabi
- Last season, Real Madrid won the same fixture 9-1 with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring 5 goals.
- While Real Madrid havena t conceded a single goal this season, Granada have one of the worst defensive records in the league after conceding a total of 7 goals in 3 fixtures.
- Real Madrid have managed to get the better of Granada in 7 of their last 8 fixtures.
Player To Watch Out For
Cristiano Ronaldo remains the player to watch out for as Real Madrid take on Granada in the Spanish La Liga. The Portuguese superstar managed to score 5 goals in the same fixture last season and it will not be a surprise to find his name on the final score sheet.
With Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Sergio Ramos out injured, it will be up to Cristiano Ronaldo to lead the team as they look for their 4th consecutive win under Rafael Benitez.
Real Madrid 3-1 Granada
It will be interesting to see if Keylor Navas can keep another clean sheet with both Sergio Ramos and Varane missing from the starting eleven. Despite the absence of some important names, Real Madrid are expected to win against Granada in a bid to keep the pressure on Barcelona.