Match Preview: Real Madrid vs Osasuna
LaLiga this season has turned into something of a rollercoaster ride. Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid can consider themselves lucky, for it isn’t their brilliance but their rival’s inconsistencies that’s kept them in contention during the past two weeks or so.
Today they take on Osasuna at home — a relatively uncomplicated task in usual seasons, not so much in this one. Madrid were held to their fourth draw in five games on Wednesday. Champions league hopes are still strong, but Chelsea have everything it takes to oust them which is why tonight’s fixture is another must win game to keep the whites in title winning territory.
What to Expect
Seeing how Barcelona and Atlético Madrid have lost their respective games, Osasuna will come in unafraid of the pressure hoping to stun the Champions. It’s just the kind of season they’ve been having really. Having already stunned Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao early in the season and Villarreal more recently, Jagoba Arrasate has quite the interest in taking hits at the top sides.
Real Madrid must be wary. The league is at stake here and any mess ups can cost them heavily. Should Zinedine Zidane opt for a more conservative team, Osasuna will likely see a lot more of the ball than we’d usually expect them to. If he goes all out in search of a victory, though, it’s hard to see Osasuna have much of a chance.
Since being promoted last season they’ve had a brilliant 19/20 and an above par 20/21 season. Arrasate is confident of finishing in the upper half of the league and recent results suggest they might actually get there.
Dani Carvajal’s injury versus Chelsea sure is a blow, but it gives another opportunity for Álvaro Odriozola to impress. Sergio Ramos is healthy and has returned, but is rested for the game — he’ll be fresh but without any game time if he is to start at the Bridge. Lucas Vázquez remains injured and so does Ferland Mendy, while Fede Valverde is still under isolation.
Militão — Varane — Nacho
Odriozola — Modrić — Casemiro — Kroos — Marcelo
Benzema — Hazard
Nacho — García — Aridane — Sánchez
Torro — Moncayola — Martínez
Torres — Budimir — García
Players to Watch
Real Madrid: Éder Militão. The Brazilian played brilliantly in midweek against Chelsea. He finally seems to be finding his feet and has taken over in Sergio Ramos’ absence very nonchalantly. Regardless of whether he plays as part of a back 3 or 4, he comes up against Ruben García tonight — Osasuna’s most lethal player.
Osasuna: Ruben Garcia. The left footed midfielder has evolved. This has been more or less his season. He was always the type of midfielder to score as much as he created. This season he’s predominantly played as a wide midfielder and will feature as a left winger in the 433.
Chimy Ávila hasn’t played at all this season and Ante Budimir has underperformed significantly as of late. García is tenacious when pressing, and highly technical to come up against. He has a good left foot on him and works well on the overlap.
Real Madrid 3-0 Osasuna
Real should have no problems in dealing with Osasuna. Los Rojilos can be defensively compact and generate lots of thrust on the counter, but Madrid’s irritable form as of late should see them come out and play the way they expect themselves to on Wednesday.