Real Madrid will be looking to extend their lead at the top of the La Liga table when they take on Osasuna at Estadio El Sadar this weekend.

Real Madrid will be hoping to return to winning ways after their Copa del Rey debacle earlier in the week, when they lock horns with CA Osasuna at El Sadar on Sunday afternoon.

Osasuna are in the 12th position in La Liga, with 28 points from 22 matches. Jagoba Arrasate’s men have lost their last two fixtures in all competitions, with their most recent game ending in a 3-1 defeat to Villarreal. While their home form has been poor, they have been undefeated in their last two matches at El Sadar and will be hoping to at least salvage a point this week.

Real Madrid sit at the top of the La Liga table with a three-point lead over Barcelona. With the Catalans scheduled to play later on Sunday, Zinedine Zidane’s side have a chance to further extend their lead and put pressure on the reigning champions. They will be hoping to put behind their Copa del Rey quarter-final defeat to Real Sociedad earlier this week and bag a win.

The reverse fixture played at Santiago Bernabeu in September last year ended in a 2-0 win for Real Madrid, with Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes on target. And ahead of their latest meeting this weekend, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both the teams.

Team News & Tactics

Osasuna

The hosts will be without the services of key forward Chimy Avila for the Real Madrid game, while Kike Barja and Juan Perez are also set to miss out, with the latter picking up an ankle injury during training. Aridane Hernandez is suspended for the contest.

Jagoba Arrasate will set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Sergio Herrera lining up between the sticks. Nacho Vidal and Pervis Estupinan should occupy the full-back slots for Osasuna while Unai Garcia and David Garcia ought to pair up at the heart of the defence in the absence of Hernandez.

The defence will be screened by the midfield double pivot of Jon Moncayola and Darko Brasanac, while the creative onus will fall on the shoulders of Ruben Garcia, who will slot in as the No. 10 for Osasuna.

The width will come from Robert Ibanez and Roberto Torres, who will look to make the most of the spaces left vacant by the attack-minded full-backs of Real Madrid. Spearheading the attack for the home team will be Enric Gallego.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Herrera; Vidal, Unai Garcia, David Garcia, Estupinan; Moncayola, Brasanac; Ibanez, Garcia, Torres; Gallego

Real Madrid

Real Madrid will once again be without marquee summer signing Eden Hazard, despite the Belgian training with the team. But, they have been boosted by the return of Gareth Bale, who has recovered from his ankle injury. Rodrygo Goes has been left out of the 19-man squad announced by Zidane for the trip to El Sadar.

Bale returns, but still no Hazard (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Bale returns, but still no Hazard (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Having rotated his personnel for the cup tie against Real Sociedad, Zidane will recall his first-team regulars on Sunday afternoon, with Thibaut Courtois returning in goal in place of Alphonse Areola. Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy should reclaim their places as the full-backs after missing out of the cup tie, while Raphael Varane will return to partner Sergio Ramos at the centre.

Casemiro has been in fine form in recent weeks and having been rested for the cup game earlier in the week, the Brazilian should return to the base of the three-man midfield for Real Madrid. Toni Kroos is expected to feature from the get-go once again while Luka Modric is also in contention to start after not being involved in the cup tie.

Vinicius Junior is enjoying a decent run in the side and should once again get the nod on the left flank, while Lucas Vazquez could be in line to start on the right side, ahead of Bale and Isco. There is no looking past Karim Benzema for the centre-forward role for Los Blancos.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Vazquez, Benzema, Vinicius

Key Stats

  • Real Madrid have won their last four La Liga games, three of them while keeping a clean sheet. They last won five consecutive games in the competition in February 2019 under Santiago Solari.
  • Osasuna are winless in their last nine La Liga games against Real Madrid (D2 L7), conceding 3.6 goals per game on average.
  • Real Madrid have scored headed goals in three of their last five away La Liga games with all of them being assisted by Toni Kroos.
  • Osasuna have only lost two of their last eight home La Liga games against Madrilean sides (W5 D1), 0-3 vs Atletico Madrid in 2016 and 1-3 vs Real Madrid in 2017.
  • Karim Benzema’s 13 league goals have been worth nine points for Real Madrid this season – no player’s goals have been worth more (Maxi Gomez and Roger Martí also 9).

Player to Watch

Vinicius Junior

In a good vein of form (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

In a good vein of form (Photo by Javier Soriano/AFP via Getty Images)

The Brazilian sensation had a slow start to his second season at Real Madrid and seemed to have lost his starting berth under Zinedine Zidane. However, Vinicius Junior has impressed in recent matches, putting himself back in contention for a regular place in the lineup ahead of compatriot Rodrygo.

Vinicius Junior was easily Real Madrid’s best player by a country mile in their disappointing defeat to Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey quarter-final, getting an assist on the night while he also had a goal ruled out by VAR. Set to feature from kick-off on Sunday, the Samba speedster will be hoping to solidify his position in the Real Madrid starting XI with another strong display.

Prediction

Osasuna 1-3 Real Madrid

After a run of solid displays, Real Madrid’s defence succumbed against Real Sociedad last time out. But, the return of regulars like Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal should help solidify things for the visitors on their trip to El Sadar.

Osasuna have lost two matches in a row and the game against Real Madrid comes at the wrong time for them. Chimy Avila’s absence will be a blow for Jagoba Arrasate’s side and Zinedine Zidane & co. should be in for a straightforward victory on Sunday afternoon to stretch their lead at the top.

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