Real Madrid will be aiming to go to the top of the La Liga standings when they take on CA Osasuna at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night.

Real Madrid will have a great chance to claim pole position in the 2021/22 La Liga table when they play hosts to CA Osasuna at the Santiago Bernabeu in Matchweek 11 on Wednesday night.

Real Madrid were looking out of sorts before the international break but have found solid ground since the resumption of club football a fortnight ago. Having thrashed Shakhtar Donetsk 5-0 in the UEFA Champions League, Los Blancos defeated bitter rivals Barcelona 2-1 in La Liga last weekend, moving into second place, just a point below leaders Real Sociedad, with a game in hand.

Osasuna, meanwhile, have made an impressive start to the new season and are currently stationed sixth in the table after ten matches. Jagoba Arrasate’s side have accumulated eighteen points so far, just three shy of Sociedad at the top, following their 1-1 draw against Granada last week, that extended their unbeaten run to four games.

With Real Sociedad scheduled to play on Thursday evening, a victory here could see Real Madrid go top of the pile while Osasuna could also move level on points with the leaders should they grab an upset win at the Bernabeu. Ahead of this enticing match-up coming our way, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.

Team News & Tactics

Real Madrid

Real Madrid have a new injury issue to deal with as midfielder Federico Valverde is ruled out with an ankle sprain. He joins Gareth Bale and Dani Ceballos out on the sidelines. Carlo Ancelotti has no other injury or fitness-related problems to contend with ahead of the visit of Osasuna on Wednesday.

Given that he did not make any changes to the starting XI for the last two games against Shakhtar and Barcelona, Los Blancos’ boss might opt to make a few alterations for the midweek clash. Changes in defence are unlikely, though, with Eder Militao and David Alaba set to continue their formidable centre-back partnership while Thibaut Courtois continues in goal.

Despite Dani Carvajal’s return to fitness, he is likely to be eased back into action, meaning Lucas Vazquez should continue at right-back while Ferland Mendy’s impressive form since making a comeback from injury earns him another start at left-back. 

Eduardo Camavinga could get a run-out in the middle of the park against Osasuna, with the Frenchman likely to come in for Casemiro. At the same time, Marco Asensio may replace Luka Modric to give the ageing Croat a breather. Toni Kroos, however, is expected to hold on to his spot in the lineup.

There are unlikely to be any changes to the attacking unit despite Eden Hazard’s availability. Ancelotti is expected to stick with the on-fire trio of Rodrygo Goes, Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior for the Osasuna clash.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Courtois; Vazquez, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Asensio, Camavinga, Kroos; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius

Osasuna

Osasuna manager Jagoba Arrasate will have to make do without the services of Cote, who is suspended after being sent off against Granada. In addition, Ante Budimir, Aridane Hernandez and Jonas Ramalho all miss out because of injuries. The visitors are expected to line up in the 4-1-4-1 formation that has worked quite well for them of late, with minimal changes in personnel from the Granada clash.

Sergio Herrera will be the man between the goalposts for Osasuna and could be in for a busy night at the Bernabeu. He will need all the protection he can get from the four-man backline of Nacho Vidal, David Garcia, Unai Garcia and Manu Sanchez. The two full-backs, Vidal and Sanchez, will be asked to stay tight and compact alongside the centre-backs to deny space to the Real Madrid wingers.

The onus of cutting out the influence of the Real Madrid midfield creators will fall on the shoulders of Lucas Torro, who will line up as the sole defensive midfielder. However, the 27-year-old ought to have support from Darko Brasanac, while fellow midfielder Jon Moncayola will look to be more involved in the attacking side of things.

Roberto Torres, who has two goals and assists apiece, will carry a threat from the right-wing while Ruben Garcia is expected to feature out on the left flank. Chimy Avila, who was on target in the draw against Granada, ought to feature as the lone striker yet again, ahead of Kike Garcia.

Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Herrera; Vidal, David Garcia, Unai Garcia, Sanchez; Torro; Torres, Brasanac, Moncayola, Ruben Garcia; Avila

Key Stats

  • Real Madrid are unbeaten in their last 12 La Liga fixtures against Osasuna (W9 D3).
  • Osasuna have lost four of their previous six Wednesday matches in La Liga (D2).
  • Real Madrid are undefeated in their last 13 La Liga home games (W9 D4). Their last loss on home turf came in January earlier this year against Levante.
  • Osasuna have won their previous four away matches in La Liga – their best away winning streak in the competition’s history.
  • Karim Benzema has been directly involved in six goals in his previous five home matches against Osasuna across all competitions (four goals, two assists).

Player to Watch

Vinicius Junior

The Brazilian’s stunning start to the 2021/22 season continued this past weekend as he ran the Barcelona defence ragged with his pace, ball control and direct running. While he may not have been directly involved in a goal in the El Clasico, Vinicius Junior was one of the best players on the pitch and has already accrued a tally of seven goals and five assists in just 12 games across all competitions this season.

The 21-year-old has been praised heavily by manager Carlo Ancelotti heading into Wednesday’s contest against Osasuna. Considering the red-hot form that the Brazilian is in, he will once again have a major role to play as Real Madrid look to bag another victory and move to the top of the La Liga standings.

Prediction

Real Madrid 2-0 Osasuna

Osasuna are enjoying a good run of form at the moment, and the confidence will be high, despite the unfortunate draw against Granada last time out. However, coming up against a Real Madrid side that will be buoyed by the El Clasico victory could prove a challenge too big for Jagoba Arrasate & co.

The form Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior are currently in makes Real Madrid the clear favourites for this tie. They should be able to bag all three points on Wednesday night without any major hiccups.

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