After two consecutive losses, Real Madrid look to get back to winning ways when they welcome  UD Las Palmas to the Santiago Bernabeu in matchweek 11 of the La Liga

The reigning Champions are just coming off of a 3-1 thrashing at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley. Prior to that they were beaten by the newly promoted Girona at the Estadi Montilivi, which put them a good 8 points behind Barcelona already.

Las Palmas on the other hand are currently languishing at 18th place, having won only 2 games so far this season. One against a 19th placed Malaga and the other, a shock 1-0 victory over 15th placed Athletic Bilbao.

Team News & Tactics

Real Madrid

Dani Carvajal and Gareth Bale have returned to training with the first team, while Raphael Varane, Keylor Navas and Mateo Kovacic are still recovering from their respective injuries and are expected to miss this crucial tie. However, Bale and Carvajal aren’t expected to be a part of the starting XI.

It might be too soon to reintroduce them, especially Carvajal due to his heart condition. They are likely to feature in the latter stages of the game and we will likely see the duo reach full fitness only after the international break.

As for the rest of the personnel, Zidane is expected to go with the same starting XI that started in their 1-3 loss at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur. Despite the shock loss, they are still his best players and he likely won’t take any chances in such an important game.

Kiko Casilla is the obvious choice to start in goal, while Marcelo, Nacho Fernandez, Sergio Ramos along with Achraf Hakimi should make up the defence. Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric in midfield with Isco in a more central attacking role and Ronaldo and Benzema leading the line.

He could revert to a 4-3-3 formation, with Marco Asensio coming into the left wing and Isco moving to the right with Cristiano in the middle. He might consider shuffling the midfield however, with Dani Ceballos or Marcos Llorente coming in to give Modric, Kroos or Casemiro some rest.

Probable Starting XI(4-3-2-1): Kiko Casilla; Achraf Hakimi, Nacho Fernandez, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Luka Modric, Casemiro, Toni Kroos; Isco; Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema

Real Madrid vs UD Las Palmas(1)

UD Las Palmas

The Islanders will likely field a similar starting XI to the one that lost to Deportivo La Coruna last week. Chichizola will likely come back into the squad in place of Raul Lizoain. Michel, Pedro Bigas, Mauricio Lemos and Dani Castellano are also likely to retain their places in defence.

Alberto Aquilani will likely come back into the squad ahead of Sergi Samper, and the former Liverpool midfielder will start alongside Joe Gomez, who is also expected to retain his place in defensive midfield.

Loic Remy, Vitolo and Jonathan Calleri are all expected to start in attack. Jonathan Viera however, might have to settle in for a place on the bench if Pako Ayestaran decides to bring back Tana into the starting XI.

Probable Starting XI(4-2-3-1): Leandro Chichizola; Michel, Pedro Bigas, Mauricio Lemos, Dani Castellano; Alberto Aquilani, Vicente Gomez; Vitolo, Jonathan Viera, Loic Remy; Jonathan Calleri

Real Madrid vs UD Las Palmas(2)

Key Statistics

  • Real Madrid have lost only 2 of their last 29 La Liga matches at the Santiago Bernabeu.
  • Las Palmas have conceded a minimum of 3 goals against Real Madrid in their last 4 matches across all competitions at the Santiago Bernabeu.
  • Las Palmas have failed to score in 7 of their last 8 away matches in the La Liga.
  • Real Madrid are undefeated in their last 5 matches against Las Palmas across all competitions.
  • Real Madrid have scored a minimum of 2 goals in 17 of their last 20 home matches Liga matches at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Player to Watch

Real Madrid: Gareth Bale

Real Madrid's Welsh forward Gareth Bale (C) vies with Las Palmas' forward Jese (L) and Las Palmas' defender Daniel Castellano during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF vs UD Las Palmas at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on March 1, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JAVIER SORIANO (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

Gareth Bale vies with Jese (L) and Daniel Castellano during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF vs UD Las Palmas at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on March 1, 2017. (Picture Courtesy – Getty Images)

The Welshman recently completed a full training session with his teammates and is in line to make his first appearance since Real Madrid’s 1-3 Champions League victory over Borussia Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion, way back in September.

Bale had a good start to the season, scoring 3 goals and getting 4 assists in 9 appearances, before his now customary injuries reared their ugly head and kept his sidelined for over a month. The 28-year-old has never scored or assisted against UD Las Palmas, and now would be a perfect time for him to open his account.

Prediction

Real Madrid 4-0 UD Las Palmas

While 2 consecutive losses in a row wouldn’t be considered a ‘crisis’ at most top European clubs, the same rules don’t apply when the reigning Champions of Europe are concerned. Real are coming off 2 consecutive defeats and the fans and staff will be desperate to the see their side win on Sunday.

The loss to Girona has already put them in a difficult spot on the table and Real Madrid will look to take no prisoners against Las Palmas. This game a ‘must win’ for Zidane & co if they are to have any chance of catching up with table-toppers Barcelona.

And because the match is against a side that has won only 2 games all season and since it is at the Santiago Bernabeu, it will have to be a convincing one. So we expect the an under-pressure Real Madrid to step up to the occasion and cruise to 4-0 victory.

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