Match Preview: Real Madrid vs Unión Deportiva Almería.

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It should be a straight-forward game as Real Madrid seek to keep La Liga hopes alive against visitors Unión Deportiva Almería.

Almería is 19th in La Liga and almost certainly heading for the drop to the Segunda División a year after regaining promotion to La Liga. While the club gave Real Madrid some difficulty away at the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos in fairly recent memory, their last visit to the Bernabéu ended in an 8-1 romp for the home side.

Third-placed Real Madrid is three points behind league-leaders Atlético Madrid and two behind Barcelona. Due to the late kick-off on Saturday, the team could potentially be five points off the top of the table before kick-off if Barcelona win their game. Atlético Madrid play on Sunday, giving Real Madrid a good chance to at least find themselves level on points.

Nothing about Almería's season this year suggests Real Madrid should have any difficulty dealing with this side at home, even with injury to Cristiano Ronaldo. The visitors will be fielding a weakened side too; their left will be particularly vulnerable though they have injuries on both flanks. Both Sebastián Dubarbier (injury) and right-fullback Rafita (suspension) are out for the match.

Carlo Ancelotti's squad is as expected. Dani Carvajal is suspended. So is Xabi Alonso. Marcelo is rumoured to be over his hamstring difficulties. Ancelotti's comments during his press conference earlier today did suggest he was reluctant to start Marcelo so soon after injury however, so expect Fábio Coentrão to start.

With injuries to every part of his squad, Ancelotti has called up four canteranos to make twenty in total. It would be a surprise to see any of them feature, however.

The Squad

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas, Diego López and Jesús Fernández.

Defenders: Varane, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrão, Nacho and Llorente.

Midfielders: Bale, Casemiro, Modric, Di María, Isco, Illarra, Lucas Vázquez and Mascarell.

Forwards: Benzema, Morata and Willian José.

The game kicks off at 22:00.

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