Taking charge of his third game for Real Madrid, Zidane will be under pressure to prove his side’s worth away from home. After a highly successful start to his managerial career, Zidane takes up his first challenge playing away at the Estadio Benito Villaramin.

Zinedine Zidane couldn’t have got better opponents to come up against for his first game away from the Bernabeu. Real Betis are in poor shape and are struggling for form. The club have failed to garner a win in their last 10 games and haven’t scored a goal in the last 7.

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Juan Merino v Zinedine Zidane

This is going to be an interesting battle as both managers will have a mini-reunion of sorts on the pitch. Zidane and Merino have a 20-year old history, back when the Real Madrid manager visited Estadio Benito Villaramin and a scored a stunner against a Real Betis side which Juan Merino was a part of. The two will renew their battles, though they will be in-charge from the sidelines this time round. Both managers are equally inexperienced and fresh into their job. Though the result will most probably go in Zidane’s favour, it will be an interesting battle nonetheless.

Goals, goals, goals will remain the mantra for Zidane

REAL MADRID VS SPORTING GIJONReal Madrid are known for attacking football and under Zidane, Los Blancos haven’t let go of that part of their identity. The Spanish giants are scoring goals with amazing ease and the attack seems to have got more freedom under Zidane than they did under Benitez.

Having scored 5 goals each in the first two games that Zidane was in-charge of, Real Madrid are expected to score a lot of goals on Sunday as well against a lowly Betis side that is unlikely to put up much of a challenge.

Juan Merino should pray for a miracle

Juan Merino hardly has a chance of getting Betis anything positive out of this game. Betis are only 5 points away from the relegation zone and they have been in very poor form in the recent games. Their home record is also dismal and coming up against Real Madrid they hardly stand a chance to improve their league position. Betis have no option but to sit back and try their best to stop the attacking talents of Real Madrid. They could however, attempt to break the Real Madrid defence which some lowly teams have managed to do in the past.

Key Battles

Cristiano Ronaldo v Cristiano Piccini

REAL MADRID VS SPORTING GIJONCristiano Ronaldo may not be having the best season of his career according to some people but the Portuguese is still a threat to the opposition defence. The winger had a good game against Gijon as he scored a brace last weekend.

The forward will be hoping to continue his good run and trying to make his job difficult will be Betis right-back Cristiano Piccini. Both players have nothing other than their first name in common and they will be battling on the pitch on Sunday. Piccini is bound to have a tough time to keep Ronaldo under control, but it will be interesting to see how the youngster faces the three-time Balon d’Or winner.

Modric v Cejudo

This will be an interesting battle between the two midfielders as both have a few similar traits. They both like to shoot from a distance but are yet to score a goal this season. It seems like Modric will have an upper hand in this battle considering the quality of players that he will be surrounded with.

Ruben Castro v Sergio Ramos

Real Madrid vs Deportivo CorunaRuben Castro is Real Betis’ top scorer with 8 goals and the only hope for Betis on Sunday night. He might be the only player Ramos needs to be worried about on Sunday as the forward is very good on the ball and has a knack for goals. Ramos returns after injury and it will be interesting to see whether the Spaniard can fulfill his duty on Sunday.

Strengths

Real Madrid

  • Real Madrid’s strength lies in their ability to score early goals. It allows them to sit back and relax in the latter part of the game.
  • Real Madrid have a strong bench which will come in handy on Sunday as they are without Bale, who is out through injury.
  • Real Madrid are good on the ball and are likely to make use of that as they will see a lot of the possession against Betis.

Real Betis

  • Real Betis are good on the set pieces and could use that to their advantage to score a goal or two.

Weaknesses

Real Madrid

  • Defence seems to be the only weak link in the Real Madrid squad that may prove to be a problem on Sunday.

Real Betis

  • Real Betis have a lot of problems defending against counter attacks and Real Madrid are famous for their ruthless counter attacks.
  • Real Betis have difficulty in creating chances and finishing them.
  • Real Betis have problems defending against skillful players.

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