Real Madrid host La Liga strugglers Las Palmas on Sunday evening at the Santiago Bernabeu as the home side seek to recover after disappointing displays against Spurs and Girona in the last week.
Zinedine Zidane’s men are looking to bounce back after suffering two defeats in one week. After positive results in league and cup competitions in October, Real’s last few games have undone their good early work as they drop to second in their Champions League Group and are now third in La Liga, eight points behind leaders Barcelona.
Injury has not helped Zidane, with the loss of defensive powerhouse
As for the visitors, Las Palmas, they have had a somewhat up and down week, as they won their first game since mid-September, even if it was a cup game against Deportivo. Strangely enough, after defeating Deportivo in the cup, they fell to a 3-1 home defeat against the same opposition in the league at the weekend.
Despite their loss at home, the win away in the cup, with an impressive final score of 4-1, will give some hope that they can cause an upset at the Santiago Bernabeu and condemn Real to another defeat.
If results against the Madrid giants last season are anything to go off we should be in for a cracker, as both games ended in a scored draw, with Las Palmas drawing 3-3 at the Bernabeu in March.
These two sides have only met 8 times in La Liga, with the Madrid side coming out on top more times then out, but this does not suggest in anyway that games in recent times have been easy for the La Liga champions.
A memorable match took place in March of last season as Real Madrid drew 3-3 at home against Las Palmas. In an enthralling game with goals and a red card, it would come as no surprise to know that Real took the lead first, when Isco put the home side ahead after just eight minutes. However, the game then turned on its head as Dominguez leveled for the visitors to go into the half-time break all square.
The game sprang into life in the second half, as Gareth Bale was sent off two minutes after the restart for two bookable offences. Viera then gave the underdogs the lead with a penalty, and to add to the shock of the Real fans three minutes later the side from Grand Canaria went 3-1 ahead through Kevin Prince Boateng.
Real through the kitchen sink at Las Palmas and eventually their efforts were rewarded as their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up to the plate with two goals in the final five minutes to earn his side a draw.
A pulsating match which proved vital for Real, as they went on to be crowned champions, while Las Palmas enjoyed an eleventh placed finish in a very successful season for the then newly promoted side.
Achraf vs Remy
With Dani Carvajal out for the foreseeable future, it has been a big step up for young A
Modric vs Viera
For the majority of last season, Real won their games by controlling the midfield with the brilliant Luka Modric at the heart of it. If Real are to succeed at the weekend Modric will need to be on top form and run the show as his side seek to close the gap between themselves and Barcelona.
As for Viera, he featured heavily in the reverse fixture and could prove to be the decisive again this season. For the game as a whole, if Madrid control the midfield then they have an excellent chance of winning, as for Las Palmas they need to disrupt any rhythm that their opponents have in order to be in with a chance of winning the game.
Without Varane, Gareth Bale, Mateo Kovacic, Dani Carvajal and Keylor Navas, Zidane is likely to pick the same squad that faced Tottenham in the Champions League on Wednesday. Bale has set his return for the crunch match against Atletico Madrid in two weeks, with Kovacic likely to be back in action for that game as well.
Carvajal is back in training following his heart operation, but will not be back for quite some time, as Real take every precaution necessary to ensure the right back will recover properly.
Predicted Line Ups
Real Madrid (4-3-1-2): Casilla/ Achraf, Nacho, Ramos, Marcelo/ Modric, Kroos/ Isco/ Ronaldo/ Benzema.
Las Palmas (4-3-3): Lizoain/ Macedo, Lemos, Bigas, Castellano/ Viera, Aquilani, Gomez/ Remy, Callero, Vitolo.
Despite Real’s poor form at the moment and Las Palmas struggling in the league, it is difficult to see past a home win. With that being said, this match won’t be as easy as many would think for Real, with their defence leaking goals at the moment, an open game with a lot of goals is on the cards.
Predicted Score: Real Madrid 3-2 Las Palmas.