Real Madrid will be aiming to move up in the La Liga standings, when they clash against bottom dwellers SD Huesca on Sunday.

Real Madrid will travel to the Estadio El Alcoraz this weekend, as they gear up to face off against last-placed Huesca on Matchday 15 of the 2018-19 La Liga season.

Los Blancos sit fifth in the standings following their 2-0 win over Valencia last weekend. Real Madrid followed that up with a 6-1 demolition of Melilla in the Copa del Rey during the week and will look to carry the momentum from that victory into the weekend encounter.

Santiago Solari’s men have now fallen eight points behind league leaders Barcelona following the champions’ win over Espanyol in the Catalan derby on Saturday. They will be aiming to keep up pace with their arch rivals by bagging all three points.

Huesca, having earned promotion to the La Liga for the first time ever in their history, have found it tough going in the big league. The minnows are rooted to the bottom of the table, with just seven points from 14 matches so far and were forced into a managerial change in October, as they let go of Leo Franco to bring in Francisco to get things back on track.

Under the new head coach, the Aragonese outfit are yet to pick up a win and come into the big game against Real Madrid having received a 4-0 bashing at the hands of Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey earlier in the week. They will face a gargantuan task at their hands to get anything from their first ever encounter against the Merengues.

Team News & Tactics

Huesca

The home team will have to make do without a number of their first-team regulars as star attacker Alex Gallar, defenders Luisinho, Ruben Semedo and Carlos Akapo are ruled out. They will, however, be able to call upon midfielder Gonzalo Melero, who returned to training this week.

Huesca are likely to line up in a 4-2-3-1 setup against their esteemed opponents, with Serbian keeper Aleksandar Jovanovic set to start between the sticks ahead of Axel Werner. Jorge Miramon and Rajko Brezancic will take up the full-back slots on the right and left sides respectively, with Jorge Pulido and Xabier Etxeita lining up at the heart of the defence.

Damian Musto should recover from his injury issue to start as one of the two central midfielders for the Aragonese outfit. He will be partnered by the 21-year-old Christian Rivera in the middle of the park. On-loan midfielder Moi Gomez will be in-charge of the playmaking duties starting in the No. 10 role for the relegation battlers.

Serdar Gurler and David Ferreiro will be tasked with providing the width and cutting edge in the final third in the absence of Gallar, from the right and left sides respectively. Spearheading the attack for the minnows will be 19-year-old Cucho Hernandez.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Jovanovic; Miramon, Pulido, Etxeita, Brezancic; Musto, Rivera; Gurler, Gomez, Ferreiro; Cucho

Real Madrid

The Merengues will be without the services of midfield duo Casemiro and Toni Kroos for the weekend clash, while defenders Nacho and Sergio Reguillon are also set to miss out. Summer signing Mariano Diaz is also expected to be unavailable for the visitors while Marcelo is also unavailable, but star man Gareth Bale should be fit and available for selection.

Real Madrid are likely to set out in a 4-3-3 formation against the bottom feeders, with Thibaut Courtois set to continue between the sticks ahead of Keylor Navas. Dani Carvajal could be moved out to left-back, with Alvaro Odriozola on the right. Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos are expected to feature from the get-go for the reigning European champions.

With Casemiro unavailable, Marcos Llorente should once again get the nod in the holding midfield role for Los Blancos. Luka Modric, fresh after being awarded the Ballon d’Or, will feature alongside the Spaniard, with Dani Ceballos expected to complete the three-man midfield for the visitors.

Lucas Vazquez, who was on the scoresheet in the win against Valencia last weekend, should feature on the right flank once again on Sunday. On the left-side, Bale is in line for a start, despite Marco Asensio’s two-goal display in the midweek game. Karim Benzema will lead the line for the Merengues.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Courtois; Odriozola, Varane, Ramos, Carvajal; Modric, Llorente, Ceballos; Vazquez, Benzema, Bale

Key Stats

  • This will be the first time that Huesca and Real Madrid will be facing each other in their official history.
  • Real Madrid have won just once in their last six La Liga away games (D1 L4), conceding an average of 2.5 goals per game.
  • Real Madrid have conceded at least one goal in their last 11 away games in La Liga, their worst run since May 2004 (14).
  • Huesca find themselves staring at the prospect of relegation back to the Spanish second division this early into the season. On each of the last seven occasions where a La Liga team have had seven or fewer points after 14 games, they have ended the season relegated.
  • The Aragonese club are the only La Liga team to have conceded goals in every game this season (29 goals in 14 games) .

Player to Watch

Gareth Bale

Time to stand up (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Time to stand up (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The 29-year-old Welsh wing-wizard has failed to live up to the lofty expectations that were placed on him following Cristiano Ronaldo’s summer departure to Juventus. So far in the 2018-19 campaign, Bale has managed to score just three times in the La Liga in 13 appearances and has set up two more.

The former Tottenham Hotspur superstar is currently on a run of 10 straight games without scoring in the Spanish top-flight (794 minutes), the longest such streak of his entire career in the competition. He will need to start firing on all cylinders, at the earliest, if Real are to recover from their disappointing start to the campaign.

Prediction

Huesca 0-4 Real Madrid

The newly-promoted Huesca are without a victory in the La Liga since their opening day triumph against Eibar. The bottom side have conceded the most number of goals in the competition (29) and are second lowest in terms of goals scored in the league (12).

Real Madrid don’t boast the best of the away records this season. But, under Santiago Solari, the Merengues have lost just one game and will be in jubilant mood after their performances against Valencia and Melilla over the past week.

Huesca are yet to win a single game under new boss Francisco and we at The Hard Tackle don’t expect that to change this weekend, with Los Blancos likely to romp home to a resounding victory at Estadio El Alcoraz.

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