Real Madrid return to La Liga action following their Supercopa de España triumph as they host Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon.
It’s so far so good this season for Los Blancos, with Zinedine Zidane’s side neck and neck with Barcelona at the top of La Liga, seeing off Getafe in an emphatic 3-0 victory last time out. With Barça not playing until Sunday, Zinedine Zidane’s side can temporarily leapfrog their rivals with a win over Sevilla and apply some pressure on their counterparts.
Despite their recent shortcomings in the league, Sevilla continue to fight for a Champions League spot, currently residing in fourth place – level on points with Atlético Madrid. Los Palanganas have won just two of their last five La Liga outings, though, registering draws against Osasuna and Athletic, while falling to defeat at home to Villarreal.
This top of the table clash promises to be an interesting match up, with neither team wanting to give up ground in the race for their respective objectives.
Here is 90min’s preview of Saturday’s fixture.
Where To Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 18 January|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||15:00 (GMT)|
|Where Is It Played?||Santiago Bernabeu|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Premier Player HD|
|Referee?||Juan Martínez Munuera|
Los Merengues have a host of first-team injuries to contend with ahead of Saturday’s game against Sevilla, with Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio all ruled out.
Hazard has a foot injury, Benzema is still recovering a hamstring problem and Asensio is continuing to rehabilitate after suffering an ACL tear during pre-season. Gareth Bale should return after illness but Federico Valverde is suspended.
Sevilla have comparatively less to be concerned about, with Sergio Escudero their only notable injury worry.
The 30-year-old left-back has resumed training this week after picking up an eye injury, but he’s unlikely to play .
|Real Madrid:||Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Rodrygo, Bale, Jovic|
|Sevilla:||Bounou; Navas, Gudelj, Gomez, Rodriguez; Vazquez, Jordan, Torres; Ocampos, De Jong, Nolito|
Head to Head Record
As expected, Real Madrid edge proceedings against their Andalusian counterparts, with Zidane’s charges winning 76 of the 144 meetings between the two.
Real Madrid have won the previous two fixtures between the two clubs, although Sevilla have won two of the last four meetings. Moreover, Los Blancos have won 65% of their last 20 league games at home, while Sevilla have lost 45% of their last 20 away league encounters.
Despite being unbeaten in their last 16 games across all competitions, Real Madrid have faltered in recent weeks, drawing three of their last six fixtures.
Los Merengues did, however, hoover up the first trophy of the season, overcoming city rivals Atlético Madrid on penalties for Zidane’s tenth trophy of his relatively short tenure.
Spain’s most successful side have, however, been unable to capitalise on Barcelona’s inconsistencies this season and remain behind their arch rivals on goal difference.
Sevilla have Champions League aspirations of their own and will be looking to take another stride towards securing a qualification berth with a surprise victory.
Julen Lopetegui’s side have three wins in their last five matches in all competitions, coming against Escobedo, Mallorca and Bergantiños, although Saturday’s opponents will represent a very different threat entirely.
Here is how both sides have fared in their previous five fixtures.
|Real Madrid 0-0 (4-1) Atlético (12/01)||Escobedo 0-5 Sevilla (12/01)|
|Valencia 1-3 Real Madrid (08/01)||Sevilla 1-1 Athletic Bilbao (03/01)|
|Getafe 0-3 Real Madrid (04/01)||Mallorca 0-2 Sevilla (21/12)|
|Real Madrid 0-0 Athletic Bilbao (22/12)||Bergantiños 0-1 Sevilla (18/12)|
|Barcelona 0-0 Real Madrid (18/12)||Sevilla 1-2 Villarreal (15/12)|
Real Madrid have been frustrating to watch at times, but have been brilliant on other occasions. Raphael Varane has been brilliant in defence, while Toni Kroos and Luka Modric have looked razor sharp at times.
Sevilla’s struggles against Real on the road are well documented, so it’s difficult to envisage anything other than a win for Zinedine Zidane’s side.
Sevilla have only failed to score twice since October, but Madrid have the joint best defensive record in La Liga, conceding a meagre 12 goals so far this season. A home win should be a safe prediction.
Prediction: Real Madrid 2-0 Sevilla