Real Madrid face Granada on Monday at Los Carmenes in a must-win encounter as we head towards the very final phase of the 2019/20 La Liga campaign.
Real Madrid will look to stretch their lead at the top of La Liga table when they lock horns with Granada at Los Carmenes on Monday. The league leaders have a slender one-point lead over FC Barcelona heading into this game as we head towards the final phase of the campaign.
However, Los Blancos do have a game in hand, with FC Barcelona securing an unconvincing, narrow win over Real Valladolid on Saturday. That means sealing a victory against Granada could help Real open up a four-point lead. It could, therefore, go a long way in securing the league title, especially with just two games after this one.
That being said, Granada are indeed a tricky customer. They have been in good form recently, notably winning in two of their last three fixtures in La Liga. They had also beaten FC Barcelona 2-0 earlier in the campaign while securing a draw with Atletico Madrid.
Hence, the Andalusian outfit definitely have what it takes to produce an upset even against one of the most powerful teams in Europe. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this important fixture in the Spanish top flight on Monday.
Tactics & Team News
Granada manager Diego Martinez is missing out on the services of a host of key first-team players including Maxime Gonalons, Quini and Alex Martinez. Neyder Lozano is also out injured while both Alvaro Vadillo and Jesus Vallejo are doubts heading into this game.
📷 Finaliza la sesión en Los Cármenes. El equipo se concentrará mañana por la mañana.
— Granada C.F. ❤️⚪️ (@GranadaCdeF) July 12, 2020
Martinez usually prefers a four-man backline but has recently embraced the three-man setup meaning the likes of Domingos Duarte and Victor Diaz should retain their place in the backline. The potential absence of Vallejo, however, could pave the way for German Sanchez to return to the starting lineup.
Dimitri Foulquier and Carlos Neva are set to operate as wing-backs, although in fairness, they are more likely to provide defensive cover for the central defenders. Same can be said for Yangel Herrera in the number six role, although his midfield partner Ramon Azeez could feature in a more advanced role.
The Granada attack, meanwhile, is set to be spearheaded by veteran striker Roberto Soldado, who could receive creative support from the wide attacking duo of Antonio Puertas and the club’s top scorer, Carlos Fernandez.
Probable Lineup (5-2-3): Silva; Foulquier, Diaz, Sanchez, Duarte, Neva; Herrera, Azeez; Fernandez, Soldado, Puertas
Heading into this game, Zinedine Zidane will be boosted by the return of two experienced defenders in Sergio Ramos and Dani Carvajal. Marcelo, however, is set to miss the remaining league matches, thus making Ferland Mendy a guaranteed starter at left-back.
As for Carvajal, he is more than expected to replace Lucas Vazquez at right-back while Eder Militao might have to make way for the returning Ramos. The veteran centre-back should be partnered by Raphael Varane at the heart of Real Madrid’s four-man backline.
In midfield, Zidane might prefer the dynamic nature of Federico Valverde over Luka Modric, especially against this Granada side. Hence, we expect the young Uruguayan to form the three-man Real Madrid midfield alongside Casemiro and Toni Kroos.
A key change in the attack could come in the shape of Eden Hazard replacing Marco Asensio at right-wing, with Rodrygo retaining his place on the opposite flank.
Karim Benzema, meanwhile, seems to have recovered from the knock he received in the last game. He is, therefore, expected to lead the Real Madrid frontline.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro, Valverde; Hazard, Benzema, Rodrygo
- Real Madrid have won their last 9 matches against Granada in all competitions.
- Real Madrid have kept a clean sheet in all their last 5 games.
- Granada have scored over 2.5 goals in 6 of their last 7 games against Real Madrid in all competitions.
- Real Madrid have the meanest defence in the league, having conceded just 21 goals in 35 matches.
- Real Madrid have won by 1 goal in all their last 3 away games.
Player to Watch
Benzema has been Real Madrid’s top-scorer this season, which has been critical for the club especially with Hazard enduring a tough debut campaign. In fact, the Frenchman is the second-highest scorer in La Liga with 18 goals, with the player’s exploits in front of goal helping the club stay on top of FC Barcelona so far.
Although Benzema hasn’t quite been able to rekindle his scoring form in the past few weeks, he was involved in both the goals in the win over Alaves last time out. And with Barcelona breathing down the neck, the onus will once again be on the veteran striker as he looks to extend his scoring tally this weekend.
What makes Benzema such a threat for Granada is not just his finishing but also his technical prowess and work-ethic, meaning Martinez’s men must keep close tabs on the Real Madrid star tomorrow.
Granada 0-2 Real Madrid
Real Madrid are favourites to come away with victors in these fixtures due to multiple reasons. Zidane’s men are now better fortified at the back following the return of Ramos and Carvajal while Hazard if he starts, can make an impact.
Expect the visitors, therefore, to dominate the proceedings and probe the Granada defence, which is likely to crumble against the sheer quality of the Madrid attackers.