19th April 2015
Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Real Madrid host Malaga as they look to close in at the top of La Liga as the season nears its climax.
Real Madrid face Malaga at the Santiago Bernabeu in another must-win game for The Whites. Ancelottia s men will have to be at their best to beat Javi Garciaa s Malaga in a tie that can bring Real Madrid even closer to league leaders Barcelona. Meanwhile, Malaga, who have only won three of their last 10 league games will have a tough task to keep Real Madrid from winning the game at the Bernabeu. Saturdaya s game will come after Barcelonaa s match against Valencia, the result of which should motivate Real Madrid to be at their very best.
Team News and Tactics
Playing at home, Real Madrid will be at their usual best, attacking and holding most of the ball. Having won their last three league games with a convincing scoreline, Real Madrid come into this game full of confidence. Their midweek stalemate against Atletico might have dampened the spirit at the Bernabeu but the game against Malaga is the perfect setting to regain the confidence ahead of the second leg against Atletico. Real Madrid must win this game at any costs to see themselves fighting for La Liga till the very end of the season.
Ancelotti has very few selection problems as most of the Real Madrid squad is fit. However, the Italian will be missing the services of striker Karim Benzema as the Frenchman picked up an injury during training. But the striker is expected to return against Atletico in the Champions League return leg next week. This may tempt Ancelotti to field James Rodriguez and Isco together or give Chicharito another start while resting James. Ancelotti might be inclined to resting a few key players such as Varane and Casillas, keeping the upcoming encounter against Atletico in mind.
Probable Line-Up (4-3-3): Navas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Kroos, Isco; Bale, Chicharito, Ronaldo;
Malaga come into this game with hardly any burden of expectations on their shoulders. Placed seventh in the league, Malaga are five points behind the last Europa League spot and nine behind the last Champions League spot. Travelling to Bernabeu, a draw would be a great achievement for Javi Garciaa s side. They will not be enjoying a lot of possession and the defenders, especially the full-backs, will have to work doubly hard to keep the Real Madrid attackers at bay. Malaga have managed to only win three of their last 10 league games, but one of those victories came at Barcelona and that is reason enough for them to not lose hope for Saturday.
Malaga will be without the services of defender Weligton Oliveira as the Brazilian picked up his 10th yellow card of the season in the 2-2 draw against Atletico last week. Apart from the defender, Javi Garcia is expected to field the strongest players at his disposal.
Probable Line-Up (4-2-3-1): Kameni; Rosales, Sanchez, Miguel Torres, Boka; Darder, Recio; Samuel, Amrabat, Castillejo; Juanmi;
Player to watch out for
Isco (Real Madrid)
After Jamesa return from injury, Isco has been relegated to the bench on two occasions. Despite his fine form throughout the season, the Spaniard has had to fight for a place in the starting 11 time and again. On Saturday, James might be rested and Isco might start against his former team. Playing against his former side, Isco is expected to make the stadium stand up and watch his brilliance. Isco has a point to prove and now is the time for him to shine in Ancelottia s eyes.
Real Madrid 2-0 Malaga
Though it will not be an entirely smooth game for Real Madrid, a Los Blancosa are expected to win it rather comfortably. They will try to score some goals in the second half and will look to lower the intensity in the second, keeping the upcoming midweek encounter against city rivals Atletico in mind.