Real took full advantage of their game in hand on Wednesday to reduce the deficit on those above them in the table. Leaders Barcelona are all but out of their reach, sitting an extensive 14 points ahead of their fierce rivals, but Los Blancos could well yet neighbours Atletico Madrid who are seven points above them in second.
Zinedine Zidane’s side were in a real slump over Christmas and into the New Year, but have responded well by winning four on the bounce and going unbeaten in six, crashing in 20 goals in the process.
A victory over Leganes in midweek cemented their place in the Champions League spots, pulling them nine points clear of fifth placed Sevilla. Zidane rested a number of key players in that game, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, but may well go full strength against an Alaves side that have won their last three La Liga games.
Here’s everything you’ll need to know ahead of Saturday’s clash…
Real Madrid 5-2Deportivo Alaves (2002)
This game included some star names including the likes of Luis Figo, Claude Makelele, Roberto Carlos and current manager Zidane. However, all eyes were on the new signing Ronaldo who was brought by manager Vicente del Bosque to ensure that they lay claim to their 28th Spanish league title.
Ronaldo started on the bench and an early goals from Zidane and Figo saw Los Blancos head into a 2-0 lead. Alaves pulled one back before the big moment came.
On the 64th minute, Ronaldo was called on for his debut, and it took him just 61 seconds to get his first goal for the Galacticos. Before the match was done, Figo got his second before Ronaldo also managed to bag another in the 79th minute to make it a day to remember for all.
Cristiano Ronaldo v Fernando Pacheco Flores
Ronaldo has three goals in his last three games against Alaves and it will be interesting if he can get the better of Pacheco who will need to be on his A-game if he wants to stop the Madrid front line.
The amount of goals Pacheco conceded reads nicely, as he’s only let in 33 goals this campaign, which is only five more than what Real have conceded. However, if there’s anyone who likes a shot at goal, it’s the Portuguese forward, who has an average of seven shots a game in La Liga this season. Even though he hasn’t been the same player of last season, he is always a threat no matter what, and Pacheco will need to be focused in order to not let his guard down.
According to Marca, Sergio Ramos will be absent for the game due to suspension. Having picked up a booking in the 3-1 win against Leganes for grabbing Leganes midfielder Nabil El Zhar, he is subsequently suspended for picking up an accumulation of bookings.
The Spanish skipper will join fellow defenders Marcelo and Jesus Vallejo on the sidelines after they both respectively picked up injuries.
Alaves’ top scorer Munir El Haddadi will miss the match for the same reason as Ramos.
If the head-to-head form is anything to go by, then Real Madrid are runaway favourites to take all three points at the Bernabeu on Saturday. The have won each of the last five meetings, scoring 15 goals compared to Alaves’ two.
Although Alaves go into the game on the back of three straight wins, the might of Real’s attacking line may be too much to handle for the Alaves defence. It’s not to say that Madrid will have it easy – because an easy game for Los Blancos this season has become a rarity.
Alaves will have to fancy their chances in front of goal as Real haven’t kept a clean sheet in eight consecutive games. However, Madrid should have enough firepower to see them over the line.
Score Prediction: Real Madrid 4-2 Alaves
” data-viewability=”https://www.riddle.com/a/142907″ style=”” contenteditable=”false”>