Competition: La Liga, Matchday 8
Venue: Estadio de Mendizorroza
Referee: Santiago Jaime Latre
Timings: Saturday, 6th October, 2018, 5:30PM CET (Madrid), 5:30PM BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 12:30PM EST, 9.30AM PT (USA), 10 pm IST (India)
Real Madrid enter the weekend clash against Deportivo Alavés after a disappointing game in midweek, losing to CSKA Moscow away from home in the Champions League. Julen Lopetegui had to start without some of his key players like Marcelo Vieira, Isco Alarcon and Gareth Bale who were injured. He risked not playing Sergio Ramos, who didn’t even make the team.Toni Kroos’s rather casual back pass resulted in a very early goal for the Russian team who decided to sit on the same. The team from the Spanish capital were unlucky enough to not score at all even after 26 attempts on the goal and having 73% possession.
The Basque side sits 6th on the table, with 11 points, 3 behind Real Madrid. Alavés lost their most recent game to Levante, even though they took the lead within the first 5 minutes of the game. During this game, they lost their key starter Burgui following an injury.
Winger Ibai Gomez has been directly involved in his team’s last 4 goals, scoring 3 and assisting once. Another Alavés man in form is Fernando Pacheco. The goalkeeper has been one of the standout performers in the league this season and has kept as many clean sheets as Barcelona number #1 Ter Stegen.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, haven’t won any of their last 4 games, failing to score in the last 3, and have conceded 5 goals in the same time period. Their defence has been leaky, with World Cup winner Raphael Varane having to rescue them on every occasion. Despite this, they are joint Liga leaders, only behind on goal difference.
Read More | A Schematic Representation Of Real Madrid’s Problems Under Julen Lopetegui |
The corresponding fixture ended in a dominating 2-1 win for the Champions of Europe, with all 3 goals coming in the first half. Dani Ceballos started that game to the surprise of the Real Madrid faithful and ended up with 2 goals on the scoresheet.
The injuries to Lopetegui’s men have been coming in as hard and fast as the Liga fixtures for them. Dani Carvajal was forced to retire from action in midweek and won’t be back until late October. Álvaro Odriozola replaced his Spanish colleague in the game and will most likely continue.
Some good news arrives for the frontline as Bale makes his return to team training. The Welsh winger has been given the green light and will probably be seen against Alavés this weekend.
First choice left back Marcelo is still not fit and will probably be replaced by the versatile Nacho Fernandez in that position.
Captain Sergio Ramos who, too, was doubtful for Champions League game has made the team and will look to return to the starting eleven.
To complete the trio of first team starters injured, Isco won’t be travelling with the team either.
Alavés go into this fixture without any pressing concerns as they have all their starters fit and running. They will, however be missing wide midfielder Burgui who’s played 6 games this season, but has started only one.
Patrick Twumasi is also a doubt for this game.
Deportivo Alavés (4-4-2): Pacheco; Martin, Laguardia, Maripan, Duarte; Gomez, Pina, Garcia, Jony; Sobrino, Guidetti
Alavés would temporarily go level on points with Real Madrid and Barcelona if they pull off a shock result this Saturday. This would only happen if they start all their best men. The primary goal for them is avoiding relegation so it’s highly unlikely that they’ll continue pushing this strongly as the season progresses.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Courtois; Odriozola, Varane, Ramos, Nacho; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Asensio
After failing to score in 3 games on the bounce, the Spanish giants will have to start all key players for this one. Karim Benzema is the only player who’s started all game under Lopetegui this season and is also their top scorer in the league till now.
Read More |Luka Modric: Dancing With The Devils From Zadar To Madrid |
Deportivo Alavés 1-2 Real Madrid.
Real Madrid have not lost to Alavés since the infamous 1-0 loss at Bernabeu stretching way back in 2000. They’ve won 11 of the last 12 meetings post that result. During this time, Madrid have failed to score less than 3 goals against Alavés on only one occasion – last season.
Nacho will have a quite a job at hand trying to keep Ibai Gomez at bay, while Rubén Duarte will be face to face with a fit and inform Gareth Bale whose responsibilities have stepped up this season follow the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.
We predict a goal from Rubén Sobrino, while Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio make their mark on the same scoresheet.