Real Madrid will be aiming to stretch their lead at the top of the La Liga standings when they lock horns with Cadiz at the Santiago Bernabeu this weekend.
Real Madrid will be hoping to make eleven wins in a row across all competitions when they face off against relegation-battlers Cadiz at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday night in Matchweek 18 of the 2021/22 La Liga.
Real Madrid are sitting comfortably at the top of the La Liga standings, having collected 42 points from their 17 matches so far, five points clear of Sevilla in second place. Currently on a run of ten victories in all competitions, Carlo Ancelotti’s men beat reigning Spanish champions and arch-rivals Atletico Madrid 2-0 last time out. They will be looking to carry forward that momentum and end 2021 with wins in their remaining two matches.
Meanwhile, Cadiz find themselves at the opposite end of the table, as they occupy 18th position with just 13 points from 17 outings. Just two points shy of Elche in 16th place, an unlikely win at the Bernabeu could lift Alvaro Cervara’s side out of the drop zone, at least temporarily. Los Piratas are unbeaten in their last two games in all competitions, most recently beating Albacete 1-0 in the Copa del Rey.
Cadiz had managed to pick up a shock 1-0 win over Real Madrid in the corresponding fixture last season, with Anthony Lozano scoring the only goal of the game. However, a repeat of that result looks beyond them in the ongoing campaign. Ahead of this encounter coming our way from the Santiago Bernabeu, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
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Real Madrid had some positive Covid test cases over the past week, which sees some of their players get ruled out of the contest. Luka Modric has since tested negative but will not be involved while the likes of Rodrygo, Gareth Bale, Marcelo, Marco Asensio and Andriy Lunin also miss out. On top of that, Dani Carvajal and Mariano Diaz have been ruled out with injuries.
Dani Ceballos has returned from his injury and is named in the squad for the first time this season. Academy prospect Peter has also been included by manager Carlo Ancelotti along with young goalkeepers Luis Lopez and Toni Fuidas, while Miguel Gutierrez also makes the cut.
There are likely to be one or two changes to the side that started against Atletico Madrid. Thibaut Courtois is an undisputed starter in goal for Los Blancos, while Eder Militao and David Alaba are permanent fixtures at the heart of the defence. Ferland Mendy should hold on to his place at left-back, but Lucas Vazquez is in line to replace the injured Carvajal at right-back.
Meanwhile, Eduardo Camavinga should get a rare start in the middle of the park against Cadiz in place of the absent Modric. Toni Kroos and Casemiro are expected to be retained in the starting XI, even though Federico Valverde is pushing for minutes.
Ancelotti has already confirmed that Eden Hazard will be starting on the right flank in the absence of Rodrygo and Asensio. A key game awaits the Belgian, who has struggled endlessly this term. Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema will make up the rest of the frontline for Real Madrid against Cadiz.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Courtois; Vazquez, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Camavinga, Casemiro, Kroos; Hazard, Benzema, Vinicius
Salvi Sanchez is ruled out of the trip to the capital due to suspension, while Jon Ander Garrido and Jose Mari are out with injuries. In addition, Iza Carcelen is also a fitness doubt for the contest at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Manager Alvaro Cervara will set his team up in a 4-4-2 formation in front of goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma. He will be shielded by a backline comprising Carlos Akapo and Alfonso Espino in the full-back slots, flanking the centre-back pairing of Fali and Juan Cala. They will have their hands full dealing with Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior.
Tomas Alarcon and Jens Jonsson are the preferred options in the middle of the park, with the duo looking to try and deny Toni Kroos the space and time on the ball to dictate the game from the centre. The threat from the wide areas will come from Ivan Alejo and the versatile Alex Fernandez.
They will be in charge of trying to exploit any places behind the Real Madrid full-backs and fire in crosses into the box for the strikers, Alvaro Negredo and Anthony Lozano, to attack.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Ledesma; Akapo, Fali, Cala, Espino; Alejo, Jonsson, Alarcon, Fernandez; Lozano, Negredo
- Real Madrid have won four of their previous five La Liga games against Cadiz, losing their most recent such outing in October 2020.
- Cadiz have won two of their last five away La Liga games against sides from Madrid (1-0 at Real Madrid and 1-0 at Getafe).
- Real Madrid have accumulated 42 points after 17 La Liga matches this season. They ended up as champions in four of the previous seven campaigns when they collected 42+ points at this stage of a season.
- Cadiz have won only two of their 17 La Liga games this term (D7 L8).
- Vinicius Junior has been involved in seven goals in his last seven La Liga matches (five goals, two assists).
Player to Watch
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It has been yet another forgettable and frustrating campaign for Eden Hazard, who has struggled with fitness issues again and, as a result, has found game-time very hard to come by. The Belgian superstar is behind the likes of Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo Goes and Marco Asensio in the pecking order of things under manager Carlo Ancelotti.
On Sunday, though, he will get a rare chance to start, and Hazard must make full use of this opportunity if he is to have any sort of future at Real Madrid. With speculations of an exit already starting to do the rounds, time is running out fast for the former Chelsea wing-wizard to prove himself at the Spanish capital club.
Real Madrid 2-0 Cadiz
Real Madrid are in a red-hot run of form and made it ten wins in a row in all competitions following their 2-0 triumph over neighbours Atletico Madrid in El Derbi last weekend. Vinicius Junior has been near-unstoppable, while Karim Benzema is scoring goals for fun. And, they will be up against a Cadiz team who are battling relegation and suffered heavy defeats to Elche, Atletico and Getafe not long ago.
So, even though Cadiz pulled off an unlikely win on their last away trip against Los Blancos, lightning is unlikely to strike twice, with Carlo Ancelotti & co. expected to pick up a straightforward win and open up an eight-point lead at the top.