Real Madrid will look to get back to winning ways in La Liga when they welcome bottom-placed Leganes to the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night.
Real Madrid will return to La Liga action in matchweek 11 as they host wooden spooners Leganes at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
Zinedine Zidane’s side have struggled to say the least in the last few fixtures in all competitions, which includes a 0-1 loss against Mallorca in their last league match. Los Blancos somehow scraped their way through against Galatasaray with a narrow 1-0 win in the Champions League. With five wins and a draw from their first nine games in La Liga, Real Madrid need to up their game and get back to winning ways when they face bottom-placed Leganes.
Real Madrid were at the top of the table before their defeat against Mallorca and now Zidane’s men are determined to come back from that loss and get back in touching distances with rivals FC Barcelona at the top of the table.
On the other hand, Leganes also faced Mallorca in their last La Liga game where they came out 1-0 winners breaking their three-match losing streak. Mauricio Pellegrino, who was appointed as their manager at the start of last season has parted ways with the club after a shambolic start to their new season.
However reserve team manager, Luis Cembranos has been handed the duty of the side and there has been an instant transformation as the players have shown some heart in registering their first win in La Liga this season. Los Pepineros are still four points below safety with seven losses and two draws and if they don’t turn things right now it will be difficult for them to avoid relegation.
Leganes will look to take motivation from the Mallorca game when they come out to face the mighty Real Madrid away from home. It will be a test of character for the visitors to churn out a result from this fixture.
Team News & Tactics
Zinedine Zidane will miss Alvaro Odriozola after the Spaniard was sent off against Mallorca in their last league game. Other absentees include Nacho and Marco Asensio, with the winger being sidelined for a long time after suffering an ACL injury in pre-season. The absentees’ list also welcomes a new member in Gareth Bale as the Welshman suffered a knock on his calf while on international duty.
Zidane is likely to start with the same team which faced Galatasaray in the Champions League. Dani Carvajal and Marcelo are set to slot in their full-backs positions with Raphael Varane partnering Sergio Ramos at the heart of the defence. Thibaut Courtois should start in goal.
Casemiro will be the man shielding the backline and recycling possession, while Toni Kroos will venture forward and create chances for the forwards. The midfield is not complete without Federico Valverde as the Uruguayan adds more balance to the team with his industrious work ethic.
Eden Hazard ought to start on the left flank as the former Chelsea man has not struck the right chords since arriving at the Santiago Bernabeu this summer. Karim Benzema will lead the lines with young Rodrygo starting on the right.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos; Rodrygo, Benzema, Hazard
One of the main reasons why Los Pepineros are at the bottom of the table is their everlasting injury list. Leganes have been plagued with injuries this season as Luis Cembranos won’t get the services of players like Ruben Perez, Fede, Rodrigo Tarin, Marc Navarro and Alexander Szymanowski.
Cembranos will not look to change a winning combination as Roberto Rosales and Jonathan Silva will lineup in the full-back position providing the much-needed width to their play. Unai Bustinza will partner Greek defender Dimitris Siovas at the heart of the defence with the task of keeping players like Benzema and Hazard at bay.
Young defensive midfielder Christian Rivera will also have his task cut out as the 22-year old will bear the duties of shielding the backline and breaking up play, while players like Roque Mesa and Recio will add the creative panache to the side.
In attack players like Oscar Arnaiz and Martin Braithwaite are the biggest weapons for the visitors as both players have been amongst goals and can unleash their express pace on the counters. The former is also on loan from Real Madrid and it will be an added incentive for the 21-year old to prove his mettle against his parent club. With three goals in La Liga till now, Martin Braithwaite is the highest scorer for Leganes.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Cuellar; Rosales, Bustinza, Siovas, Silva; Mesa, Rivera, Recio; Arnaiz, Carrillo, Braithwaite
- Leganes have just amassed only one point from their last six meetings against Real Madrid (D1 L5) The draw came last season at the Butarque.
- Leganes are winless in their last five away games in La Liga (L4 D1) earning only one point from a draw.
- Real Madrid have lost their four home La Liga games in 2019, most in a calendar year for Los Blancos ever since 2005 (5).
- Real Madrid have lost only one of the last 21 La Liga games played against Madrilenian sides (W13 D7), with Leganes losing three of their last five games which includes last two losses in a row.
Player to Watch
This can be the match for the Belgian to step up and stamp his authority and give a taste of his finesse to the Bernabeu crowd. Hazard has created a handful of chances and worked hard but the former Chelsea man has not found his feet ever since shifting loyalties this summer.
Hazard missed an open chance against Galatasaray when he scuffed his shot wide from close range with the goal left gaping. However, this can be the perfect platform for the Belgian to step up at the hour of need and regain his confidence. If he steps up against Leganes, this can be the turning point for the 28-year old as well as Real Madrid this season.
Real Madrid 3-0 Leganes
Real Madrid are clear favourites but keeping the past record in mind Leganes will have their fair share of chances if they approach the game correctly. Los Blancos defence is not the same as earlier and players like Braithwaite and Arnaiz will look to use their pace and hurt Carvajal and Marcelo on the flanks.
Zidane’s men will like to score early and dictate play which will take the wind out of the visitors’ sails and the French tactician has enough players to make the plan work. Real Madrid’s main aim will be to get back to winning ways in the league. The major difference in quality in both sides makes it in favour of the hosts. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-0 win for Real Madrid, a result that puts Leganes in a deeper hole.