Real Madrid will be hoping to complete their progression to the Copa del Rey quarter-finals when they take on CD Leganes at the Butarque on Wednesday.
The Copa del Rey quarter-finalists will be revealed at the end of this midweek, with the second leg ties being played from Tuesday. On Wednesday, Leganes will play hosts to Real Madrid at Estadio Municipal de Butarque, hoping to overturn a daunting three-goal deficit to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Leganes’ form has dipped quite a bit over the last month or so, with their 1-0 win over Huesca last weekend overturning a five-game run without a success. The drop in form also reflects in their standing in league football, with Mauricio Pellegrino’s men just three points outside the relegation zone.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, continue to blow hot and cold across competitions, which would invariably be piling on the pressure on Santiago Solari. While Los Blancos have ended up winning their last two games, the 2-1 win over Real Betis this past weekend was only their first in the league, propelling them to fourth on the table.
As iterated earlier, Real Madrid hold a three-goal advantage over Leganes in their Round of 16 tie, having prevailed 3-0 in the first leg. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the Copa del Rey encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Mauricio Pellegrino does not have many pressing concerns hampering his preparations foe the visit of Real Madrid. On Wednesday, the Leganes boss could be without as many four first-team players due to various injuries.
Guido Carrillo (ankle) and Michael Santos (hip) are certain absentees, with the duo recovering from their respective problems, with their scheduled return being next month. Additionally, Alexander Szymanowski and Mauro dos Santos are also dealing with minor injuries of their own, and are likely to miss out.
Ivan Cuellar should continue in goal for Leganes, with Andriy Lunin ineligible to face Real Madrid as part of the terms of his loan deal at the club. Meanwhile, Pellegrino should retain his preferred system with five defenders at the back, with the full-backs being Juanfran and Jonathan Silva.
The three central defenders should be Rodrigo Tarin, Kenneth Omeruo and Unai Bustinza, with Dimitrios Siovas being rested. Javi Eraso, Recio and Mikel Vesga should be the three central midfielders, with Martin Braithwaite leading the line for Leganes.
Probable Lineup (5-3-2): Cuellar; Juanfran, Tarin, Bustinza, Omeruo, Silva; Eraso, Vesga, Recio; Braithwaite, Rolan
The injury problems have eased somewhat for Santiago Solari, who has seen a number of first-team regulars return to training this week. The Real Madrid boss now has just three players unavailable, with Karim Benzema, Jesus Vallejo and Franchu missing out.
The aforementioned regulars who have rejoined training are Thibaut Courtois, Javi Sanchez, Toni Kroos, Marcos Llorente, Marco Asensio, Gareth Bale and Mariano Diaz, although only Mariano and Sanchez are expected to feature for Real Madrid on Wednesday.
In Vallejo’s absence, Sanchez should be partnered by club captain Real Madrid, with Alvaro Odriozola being handed a rare start as the right-back. Courtois’ continued absence means Keylor Navas will continue to deputise in goal.
Dani Ceballos should be given the chance to impress from the get-go against Leganes after coming off the bench to earn a 2-1 win for Real Madrid against former employers Real Betis. With Llorente still not fully fit, Casemiro should remain the holding midfielder, with Federico Valverde starting as well.
Up ahead in attack, Mariano Diaz is only likely to start on the bench, as he continue building up his fitness, and in his absence, Vinicius Junior could start upfront, although he will likely form a fluid front three alongside Lucas Vazquez and January signing Brahim Diaz.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Navas; Odriozola, Sanchez, Ramos, Reguilon; Valverde, Casemiro, Ceballos; Vazquez, Vinicius, Brahim Diaz
- Real Madrid have won every game they have played against Leganes at Estadio Municipal de Butarque.
- The two sides have already met twice this season, with Real Madrid winning both games by an aggregate margin of 7-1.
- Leganes and Real Madrid had also met in last season’s Copa del Rey, with Los Pepineros prevailing on the away goals rule after beating Los Blancos 2-1 at the Bernabeu.
- Seven of then ten matches played at the Butarque this season have seen under 2.5 goals being scored.
- Vinicius Jr. has been in fantastic form in the Copa del Rey, having directly contributed to five goals (two goals, three assists).
Player to Watch
During what has been a difficult season for Real Madrid, Vinicius Jr. has triumphantly emerged as quite an exciting prospect for them. And, it is in the Copa del Rey where the Brazilian has made the most telling impact, starting every game and directly contributed to five goals (two goals, three assists).
The player’s pace and trickery has often left the defenders dumbfounded, particularly because they have very little research on him, and another exciting performance is on the cards for Wednesday. Expect Vinicius to set the house on fire and guide Real Madrid to a much needed win.
Leganes 1-2 Real Madrid
Things have not been easy for Real Madrid lately, with Los Blancos having to wait till last midweek to record their first win of 2019. Their showing against Real Betis though, showed that they are still lacking in confidence and fluidity quite considerably.
Leganes though, are not going through their best run either, and with Mauricio Pellegrino set to make some rotations, a lack of chemistry could hurt. And, with Real Madrid seeming to thrive in Copa del Rey this season, we expect Santiago Solari & co. to record another win on Wednesday to comfortably progress to the next round.