A Look At Our Remaining La Liga Fixtures

Real Madrid are currently leading La Liga with a two-point advantage over Barcelona and a game-in-hand. Things are looking good for Los Merengues but they cannot afford to get complacent as the Catalans will surely be ready to pounce at any given time.

Now, let’s take a quick look at all the remaining matches that Real Madrid have left in La Liga as they have a very difficult month coming up in April where they will play 7 of their remaining 11 La Liga matches. It’s important to also keep in mind that the team is fighting in the UEFA Champions League as they take on Bayer Munich in the quarterfinals.

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1. Real Madrid VS Alaves – 

Real Madrid will take on Alaves once their back from the international break with the game scheduled to take place on April 2. Sitting a little comfortably in mid-table, Alaves have been able to provide their fair share of upsets this season and they will continue to do what they can to have more great club memories by the time this season ends. With this game being played at the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid should be able to come out with all three points and keep their main focus on some of the bigger matches ahead.

Last Fixture: Alaves 1-4 Real Madrid
Current Rank/Points: 10th Place/40 Points

2. Leganes VS Real Madrid – 

Another one of the easier matches coming up, Real Madrid will be visiting Leganes as they continue their aim to win La Liga this year. Leganes are one of the relegation candidates and will definitely be putting up a huge fight as they know that time is definitely running out. At the moment, they’re safe but cannot afford to slip up at any point as the three teams in the relegation zone will keep their eyes on 17th place. Having said that, I also predict this to be an easy match and wouldn’t be too surprised if we see Zidane choose to have on eof his rotation matches.

Last Fixture: Real Madrid 3-0 Leganes
Current Rank/Points: 17th Place/26 Points

3. Real Madrid VS Atletico Madrid – 

This is the first major match that Madridista’s will be looking forward to in La Liga and making a statement here will go a long way for Real Madrid. Atletico Madrid aren’t at their best this season but we all know that, once the derby arrives, past form is quite useless! Atletico will be fighting for a spot in next season’s Champions League and a win against their fiercest rivals will go a long way to boosting their morale and hopes for that to happen. A loss to Atletico could lead to a domino effect, which will inevitably lead to Barcelona finding their way to the top. There is no such thing as a good time to play Atletico Madrid and we will need to be at our very best if we want all three points on the night.

Last Fixture: Atletico Madrid 0-3 Real Madrid
Current Rank/Points: 4th Place/55 Points

4. Sporting Gijon VS Real Madrid – 

Between two major games against Bayern Munich and Barcelona, Real Madrid have to visit relegation candidates, Sporting Gijon. Currently lying in the relegation zone, Sporting aren’t really as dangerous as they once were but that does not mean that they’re unable to cause any damage to the current league leaders. They have had their ups and downs this season but will be doing all they can to get maximum points from their remaining ten fixtures in La Liga.

Last Fixture: Real Madrid 2-1 Sporting Gijon
Current Rank/Points: 18th Place/21 Points

5. Real Madrid VS Barcelona – 

This is undoubtedly the biggest match for Real Madrid in their remaining La Liga fixtures. It is quite safe to assume that both teams will be fighting for top spot but the point difference is what may vary. If both teams are able to continue getting maximum points until this matchday, then Barcelona will only be two points behind Real Madrid and will need a win to keep their title hopes alive. Even though the Catalans have had some unexpected slip-ups in their season, they are still more than capable of coming out with a win and we saw them at their best against PSG in the Champions League (putting aside some questionable refereeing). Barcelona have more than enough firepower to turn this title race upside down and it will be a night thatn many fans will be looking forward to.

Last Fixture: Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid
Current Ranks/Points: 2nd Place/63 Points

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6. Deportivo La Coruna VS Real Madrid – 

Deportivo La Coruna aren’t having their best season as they lie low in the bottom half of the league but, at home and mainly against the bigger teams, they suddenly find a way to transform into a team that are really capale of grinding out results. Only a couple weeks ago, they were able to beat Barcelona and the cherry on top was that this result came right after Barcelona’s 6-1 thrashing of PSG. Real Madrid will have to visit them and be wary of the threat that they pose. Are Deportivo beatable at home? Definitely, but we cannot take this game for granted.

Last Fixture: Real Madrid 3-2 Deportivo La Coruna
Current Rank/Points: 16th Place/27 Points

7. Real Madrid VS Valencia – 

Valencia have been very confusing this season and it is definitely going to end up being one that they will want to forget. Having said that, they are currently able to grind out results and have some promising moments during their matches. They were able to beat Real Madrid in the last time the two teams met while also almost causing an upset to Barcelona having played the full second half with 10-men. Anything can be expected from Valencia and Los Blanos will have to be extremely careful and learn from their past mistakes.

Last Fixture: Valencia 2-1 Real Madrid
Current Rank/Points: 14th Place/30 Points

8. Granada VS Real Madrid – 

By the time Granada host Real Madrid, a lot could have happened in La Liga. The fight for first place could still be alive but the relegation battle could be a lot clearer. Only one position ahead of last-placed Osasuna Granada need a miracle in their next ten games if they are to come out of the relegation zone. Not only do they need to come out with some results, but they have to depend on other results going in their favor. Put that with the pressure of playing against a Real Madrid side fighting for top spot, it simply doesn’t look too good for them.

Last Fixture: Real Madrid 5-0 Granada
Current Rank/Points: 19th Place/19 Points

9. Real Madrid VS Sevilla – 

Let us all hope that, by the time we reach this game against Sevilla, we would have been crowned champions of Spain. Even though playing against Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu is completely different than playing against them away, it doesn’t change the fact that they are a very strong team who are fighting as hard as they could to stay in the top 3 of the rankings. They have had a really good season so far and will want to end it on a high note. Los Blancos have beaten them before and knocked them out of the Copa del Rey but that doesn’t make this game any easier, especially when keeping in mind that we were beaten by them in the last game played against each other in La Liga.

Last Fixture: Sevilla 2-1 Real Madrid
Current Rank/Points: 3rd Place/57 Points

10. Malaga VS Real Madrid – 

In what could be the last La Liga day of the season (depending on when our match against Celta de Vigo will be scheduled), Real Madrid visit a struggling Malaga side who don’t really know where they future will be. In the bottom half of the season and trying to stay up, they aren’t too far away from relegation. With some results going against them and the other teams around them getting a few massive points, Malaga could very well see themselves as relegation candidates a few weeks from now. Predicting what may happen in this match is difficult given all the citcumstances but it’s definitely a game that Real Madrid should be winning.

Last Fixture: Real Madrid 2-1 Malaga
Current Rank/Points: 15th Place/27 Points

11. Celta de Vigo VS Real Madrid – 

Now, it’s not sure when this game will be scheduled as the La Liga board are still trying to find a right time for the teams to face each other after the initial game was rescheduled due to weather conditions and the Celta de Vigo pitch needing some fixing. Celta are not an easy team to play so, the way I see it, the later we play them the better! They were able to knock Real Madrid out of the Copa del Rey and will want to show that it was not luck that made them win that tie. They have always had a reputation for beating the top two Spanish teams and will want to give respect to that reputation by getting points against Real Madrid.

Last Fixture: Real Madrid 2-1 Celta de Vigo
Current Rank/Points: 11th Place/38 Points

 

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Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Real Madrid: Leaders During the International Break

With the international break coming up, almost a full squad available, and the known fact of the difficulty of playing at the San Mames, Zinedine Zidane came out with a very strong starting eleven as Los Blancos were able to give Athletic Bilbao their first loss in San Mames in August 2016.

Starting Lineup:

No risks were taken as Los Merengues knew how important all three points were on the night with Barcelona playing Valencia and Sevilla taking on Atletico Madrid on the same match-week. The starting eleven consisted of:

Keylor Navas, Daniel Carvajal, Nacho Fernandez, Sergio Ramos [C], Marcelo, Carlos Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema

Scorers:

Athletic Bilbao –
Aritz Aduriz (65′)

Real Madrid –
Karim Benzema (25′)
Carlos Casemiro (68′)

Keylor Navas –

Things seemed to have taken a positive turn for Keylor Navas who was very assured on his line and was able to take care of the threats coming his way. The Costa Rican had a few vital saves and it will definitely be doing wonders for his self-esteem. He’s a good goalkeeper and, in the past few weeks, has been missing his confidence (probable because of the media and the recent talks about Real Madrid purchasing a new goalkeeper) but against Athletic Bilbao he was great and hopefully things will continue to improve from here on wards.

Marcelo – 

It’s not really normal to see Marcelo being outplayed, especially outrun, but Inaki Williams gave him a lot to deal with on the night. Going forward, the Brazilian left-back was at his usual best and connected with Cristiano Ronaldo brilliantly but, at the back, things weren’t as peachy for him. He faced a few problems trying to keep up with Athletic Bilbao’s Inaki Williams, who gave him a lot to think about on the night.

Carlos Casemiro – 

Other than scoring the winning goal for Real Madrid on the night, Carlos Casemiro was easily the man-of-the-match on the night. The Brazilian took care of everything that came his way and was also able to give the disgusting Raul Garcia a run for his money when it came to the “dirtier” side of the game. As usual, Casemiro got his customary yellow card on the night but other than that, he had a perfect match.

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Gareth Bale – 

It’s simple: Gareth Bale is nowhere near his best and will definitely need some more time to reach anywhere close to that level. Zidane would not have been happy with the Welshman against Athletic Bilbao but it was good to see him given the full 90 minutes because it will benefit him. Bale will be with Wales during the international break and will therefore get more time on the pitch (hopefully he can come back feeling fit). On his return, expect to see an improved player but against Bilbao, he was quite disappointing.

My Personal Player Ratings – 

Keylor Navas – 8/10
Daniel Carvajal – 7.5/10
Nacho Fernandez – 8.5/10
Sergio Ramos – 8/10
Marcelo- 6.5/10
Carlos Casemiro – 9/10
Toni Kroos – 7/10
Luka Modric – 6/10
Gareth Bale – 5/10
Cristiano Ronaldo – 8/10
Karim Benzema – 8.5/10

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Real Madrid VS Bayern Munich: Zidane VS Ancelotti

Real Madrid have been drawn against arguably the most difficult team in the UEFA Champions League quarter finals in a match which will see Zinedine Zidane go against Carlo Ancelotti.

With many Los Merengues fans predicting that this may end up being the end to our run in the Champions League, it’s difficult not to have hope after knowing exactly what we are capable of if we show up with our full firepower and determination to win.

Bayern Munich knocked Arsenal out 10-2 on aggregate in the second round to reach this point of the competition while Real Madrid beat Napoli 6-2. With both teams reaching this round after convincing wins, it will be extremely interesting to see how they play against each other.

The first leg will be on April 11/12 while the second leg on April 18/19.

The other matches in the competition are:

Atletico Madrid VS Leicester City
Borussia Dortmund VS AS Monaco
Barcelona VS Juventus

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UEFA Champions League: Our Possible Opponents

Real Madrid were able to beat Napoli 6-2 on aggregate in order to advance to the quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League. Now, things are only going to get tougher and, if they continue playing the same way they have in the past few weeks, it’s going to definitely get sadder for us as well…

The draw for the quarter finals will be held on Friday March 17 at 2:00 PM (KSA) and will be streamed live on http://www.uefa.com.

Real Madrid’s possible opponents:

  1. Atletico Madrid (Spain)
  2. Barcelona (Spain)
  3. Bayern Munich (Germany)
  4. Borussia Dortmund (Germany)
  5. Juventus (Italy)
  6. Leicester City (England)
  7. AS Monaco (France)

If anyone was to predict the 8 teams that would reach this season’s quarter finals, I don’t think anyone would be able to come up with this prediction! Leicester City are definitely the overachievers of this competition so far and they are now the only English team that are still taking part in UEFA’s elite competition as we have already seen Manchester City and Arsenal crash out of the tournament through the hands of AS Monaco and Bayern Munich.

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There are no easy games left and, even though there may be a lot of people hoping to see their teams drawn against Leicester Ciry, they have already proven that they can come out with the good whenever needed and therefore it may be a trickier game than initially anticipated. However, if I had to pick the list of teams that I would rather see Real Madrid play against in order, it would be the following (from most favored to least):

  1. Leicester City
  2. AS Monaco
  3. Borussia Dortmund
  4. Atletico Madrid
  5. Juventus
  6. Barcelona
  7. Bayern Munich

Now, I know that people may disagree with my list but, well, it is what it is. I genuinely think that Bayern Munich are the most difficult team in the competition at the moment and, given the fact that they are currently coached by Carlo Ancelotti, it simply doesn’t make anything easier for Real Madrid.

Now, let’s see what the upcoming draw throws at us before we take a deeper look at our upcoming opponents in the UEFA Champions League!

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Real Madrid 2-1 Real Betis: Back To The Top!

Real Madrid hosted Real Betis and knew that the three points at stake just got more important after Barcelona’s unexpected loss against Deportivo La Coruna, which meant that a win will bring them back to the top of La Liga.

Starting Lineup:

Zinedine Zidane decided to make a couple changes to the starting lineup after the UEFA Champions League match but was still able to field a strong squad. The starting eleven consisted of:

Keylor Navas, Daniel Carvajal, Nacho Fernandez, Sergio Ramos [C], Marcelo, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Isco, James Rodriguez, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Alvaro Morata

Scorers:

Real Madrid –
Cristiano Ronaldo (41′)
Sergio Ramos (81′)

Real Betis –
Keylor Navas [OG] (25′)

Keylor Navas:

The criticism continues and Keylor Navas didn’t do himself any favors after a shocking mistake against Real Betis led to him scoring an own goal, which at the time gave the visitors a 1-0 score. Other than that, a strong case can be made for him deserving a red card after committing a foul outside the box. In general, it was a night to forget for the Costa Rican but he will have some solace in knowing that he made a brilliant save in the dying moments which kept Real Betis from equalizing on the night. Is it time for Los Blancos to give Kiko Casilla a chance? Should the team be looking for a new starting goalkeeper? I guess time will tell…

Luka Modric:

An absolute menace in midfield, Luka Modric started the game with extremely high intensity and didn’t let anything or anyone get the best of him. The Croatian midfielder had a little extra motivation on the night as he was playing his 200th Real Madrid match but he has always been quite consistent and continued to show why Zinedine Zidane counts on him so much.

Cristiano Ronaldo:

With his goal against Real Betis, Cristiano Ronaldo has now equaled Jimmy Greaves as the footballers with the most league goals in Europe’s top 6 league history with 366 goals! The Portuguese has been forced to adapt to a new style of playing given his advancing in years and injury problems but that is never a problem for the best player in the world as he continues to prove to everyone why he’s so good. His header for the equalizing goal was a beautiful thing to watch and he continues to be one of the first names on the starting lineup.

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Sergio Ramos:

If you asked any Madridista (well, any football fan) who would save the day for Real Madrid if they desperately needed a goal, chances are the answer would be something along the lines of: “Sergio Ramos during the last few minutes of the match”. Also, they would have been 100% correct. On the 81st minute, a magnificent cross from Toni Kroos found the head of an unmarked Sergio Ramos (I don’t understand how he can be unmarked given his history with clutch goals) who found the back of the net. It’s the same story on a different day as our captain saves us yet again!

Nacho Fernandez:

Some may argue that Nacho Fernandez was Real Madrid’s man-of-the-match and it would be a little difficult to argue against it if Luka Modric wasn’t so brilliant in midfield. The Spanish defender was extremely solid in his position and Real Betis found it difficult to get past him on many occasions. He has been playing more regularly this season and, given his commitment and extreme loyalty to the club, it’s a wonderful thing to see for any fan.

My Personal Player Ratings:

Keylor Navas – 5/10
Daniel Carvajal – 5.5/10
Nacho Fernandez – 8.5/10
Sergio Ramos – 8.5/10
Marcelo – 7.5/10
Toni Kroos – 7.5/10
Luka Modric – 9.5/10
Isco – 7/10
James Rodriguez – 8/10
Cristiano Ronaldo – 8.5/10
Alvaro Morata – 6/10

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Napoli 1-3 Real Madrid [Agg. 2-6]: Through to the Quarter Finals!

In a buildup to the game which Napoli fans felt would be similar to a “funeral” for the Real Madrid players, it was Los Merengues who came out victorious on the night after a very difficult and gut-wrenching first half.

Starting Lineup:

With the full squad fit to play the match, the lineup chosen by Zinedine Zidane was no surprise to anyone as he stuck by his word of not wanting to take any risks against the Italians even though Los Blancos went into the game with a 3-1 lead. The starting lineup consisted of:

Keylor Navas, Daniel Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos [C], Marcelo, Carlos Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema

Scorers:

Napoli –
Dries Mertens (24′)

Real Madrid –
Sergio Ramos (51′)
Dries Mertens [OG] (57′)
Alvaro Morata (91′)

Keylor Navas:

I expressed this in an earlier post but feel the need to mention it once again: There is something definitely wrong with Keylor Navas. His nerves are extremely apparent and therefore leads to him making some major mistakes while also looking very shaky on the ball. Even though our defending hasn’t been anywhere close to “good” recently, it doesn’t help much knowing that your goalkeeper isn’t very confident either. With each match that passes, this is becoming increasingly apparent and if he’s not back to his best anytime soon, this may turn out to be a long summer for the Costa Rican goalkeeper. Having said that, giving Kiko Casilla an opportunity in the starting lineup isn’t a bad idea either!

Pepe:

What a performance by Pepe! The Portuguese central defender was a rock in his position and was able to take care of most of the threat coming his way. He was alert and also made sure to make the right tackles at the right time (which is unfortunately not something we do very often honestly). With his contract ending this summer, it will be difficult not to offer him a new one after witnessing performances like these!

Sergio Ramos:

There is no way that this man is real. Once again, it was Sergio Ramos who stepped up and gave Real Madrid the goal they needed to take control of the match. Even though it didn’t happen in the dying moments, it was still a massive goal which put Napoli on the back foot. Other than his goal, his overall performance was perfect and he has shown once again why he’s regarded as one of the best defenders in the world.

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Alvaro Morata:

Coming on for Karim Benzema during the second half, Alvaro Morata did exactly what he does best: be a super-sub! The Spanish forward acted upon his instincts perfectly to net Real Madrid’s third goal of the night in the dying moments and, even though the tie wasn’t in doubt at the time, it was great to see him shutting the Napoli fans up who built up this game so much only to see their team fall in the end.

My Personal Player Ratings:

Keylor Navas – 5/10
Daniel Carvajal – 6/10
Pepe – 8.5/10
Sergio Ramos – 9.5/10
Marcelo – 6.5/10
Carlos Casemiro – 6/10
Toni Kroos – 6.5/10
Luka Modric – 6.5/10
Gareth Bale – 6.5/10
Cristiano Ronaldo – 7/10
Karim Benzema – 6/10

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Real Madrid Announce The Squad Ahead Of Napoli Match

Real Madrid are getting ready to finish the job in Naples after beating Napoli 3-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu during the first-leg of the UEFA Champions League clash between the two teams.

Even though a 3-1 lead seems comfortable, it won’t be easy to secure against the top scorers of the Serie A who will be playing at home and will want to give their fans something to cheer for on the night. Los Blancos will need to be focused throughout the full 90 minutes and, a loss of concentration like we saw against Valencia or Las Palmas will definitely make things a lot more difficult for us.

The Squad List:

Goalkeepers –
Keylor Navas
Kiko Casilla
Ruben Yanez

Defenders –
Daniel Carvajal
Pepe
Sergio Ramos
Nacho Fernandez
Marcelo
Danilo

Midfielders –
Toni Kroos
James Rodriguez
Carlos Casemiro
Mateo Kovacic
Luka Modric
Marco Asensio
Isco

Forwards –
Cristiano Ronaldo
Karim Benzema
Gareth Bale
Lucas Vazquez
Mariano Diaz
Alvaro Morata

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With the “BBC” being called up, many will expect them to start the game but it remains to be seen whether that would be on Zidane’s mind or not. Other than that, Toni Kroos is expected to start as well after resting during the weekend with the back four going back to a more familiar lineup between Carvajal, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, and Marcelo.

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