Real Madrid will be looking to build on their recently found momentum with a win over Real Betis at Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
Real Madrid finally broke their run of draws with a 3-1 win at the Anoeta against a Real Sociedad side that had looked the part in the lead-up to the weekend fixture. Zinedine Zidane will now be looking towards gaining some solid momentum with another win on Wednesday.
Real Betis, on the other hand, are yet to draw a game so far in La Liga. Quique Setien has a decent side at his disposal and the club seems to have started off well. However, they now face a daunting task on their trip to Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the fixture.
Team News & Tactics
Cristiano Ronaldo will be relieved to have finally completed his five-match suspension and the Portuguese will be raring to kick off his La Liga campaign with a positive performance on Wednesday – great news for Zinedine Zidane, who has seen his side struggle to be as dominant as they have been in the last couple of seasons.
Zidane though, has several injury issues to cope with. Jesus Vallejo and Theo Hernandez’s absence will weaken the backline with Marcelo also serving his suspension while Toni Kroos, Mateo Kovacic and Karim Benzema are also sidelined with their respective injuries.
Dani Ceballos should be in line to start, if Zidane does decide to rest any of his midfielders from over the weekend. The main point of contention, though, should be the left-back position. Both Theo and Marcelo are out, which means Zidane has no natural left-back available to him.
We could see the manager field Carvajal on the left, with Nacho taking up the right side of the defence, as he has often done. Cristiano Ronaldo is poised to start upfront despite Borja Mayoral’s impressive performance against Real Sociedad over the weekend.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Navas; Nacho, Ramos, Varane, Carvajal; Modric, Ceballos, Isco; Bale, Ronaldo, Asensio
Joel Campbell is the only absentee for Quique Setien, with the former Arsenal man nursing a knee injury. Former Real Madrid player Antonio Adan is line to start against his boyhood club and will be vital to the visitors’ fortunes on Wednesday. Setien is unlikely to rotate his side much.
However, Ryad Boudebouz was rested for the weekend tie and is likely to take his place in the starting lineup, replacing the young Juan Narvaez. Antonio Sanabria could also come into the side in place of Sergio Leon. The key, though, will be the presence of Aissa Mandi and Joaquin in defence and attack respectively.
The 4-2-3-1 formation is likely to be retained by Setien, who is likely to set up his side to counter the Real Madrid side on Wednesday.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Adan; Navarro, Mandi, Amat, Durmisi; Camarasa, Garcia; Joaquin, Boudebouz, Tello; Sanabria
1. Both the managers come in with ominous records against the other club. Zinedine Zidane has never lost a game against Real Betis while Setien has never registered a win against the home side.
2. Real Madrid are yet to register a win at Santiago Bernabeu in La Liga this season while Betis themselves have not registered a single point in their away endeavours thus far.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo will be eager to get on the scoresheet, having already fallen nine goals behind Lionel Messi, who currently leads the scoring charts in La Liga.
4. Real Betis have scored in 4 of their last 5 matches against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo has a record of 5 goals and 5 assists in 10 appearances against Real Betis.
Player To Watch
While Antonio Adan is likely to be tested throughout the match, he will be looking towards his defence for help – a defence that should be marshalled properly by Aissa Mandi, if Betis are to keep the attackers from Real Madrid at bay.
The Algerian international is a regular for Betis at the back and has been impressive for the visitors. On Wednesday, though, he will have to be at his very best to tackle Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo in particular, who will be hungry for goals.
Real Madrid 5-1 Real Betis
The current gameweek has already seen two grand scorelines between Valencia-Malaga and Barcelona-Eibar. And with Cristiano Ronaldo returning, we could see another high-scoring fixture. On the other hand, Real Madrid’s injury issues at the back should see Betis get one or two for themselves as well.
A comfortable win is on the cards for Real Madrid and we will not be surprised to see Cristiano Ronaldo get himself more than a single goal on Wednesday.