Real Madrid Vs Osasuna, Liga BBVA 2013-2014: Match Preview for La Liga's Return

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

After a couple weeks off, it's back to the league.

After the colossal win against Bayern in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final, it's natural for Carlo, the players and the fans to be looking ahead to next week's all-important second leg. This is natural, it's the biggest game of the season (to date) and will require the utmost focus and effort from everyone involved. However, Real Madrid is still in the running (mathematically) for the league title and will look to beat 15th place Osasuna this weekend in order to keep pace with Atletico Madrid.

Osasuna_medium

If you all remember, Osasuna was the game in which Real Madrid fell behind 2-0 thanks to two Oriol Riera goals and Sergio Ramos picking up two yellow cards (some can argue that one card was very dodgy) and had to fight back to salvage a 2-2 draw. Ugly draw and gutsy stuff from Osasuna but don't let that fool you, they're still not a very good team as they sit only three points above relegation. They're on a streak of four unbeaten games (1W, 3D) but they've only one once in their last nine games. They'll be missing midfielders Roberto Torres and Francisco Silva due to suspension and Lolo due to injury so Madrid shouldn't have much problems controlling the game. Their key man to focus on is Riera who has 12 goals to his name and can definitely be a threat in the air. However, stop him and you basically stop their entire chance of scoring.

Osasuna isn't an offensively or defensively talented team and have a hard time against clearly superior opponents. When they do have the ball they like to either cross the ball in for Riera to try and get his head on it or shoot from a relative distance and especially from the left side. They like to play the ball wide but that's also where they're at their weakest when it comes to defending as only three clubs in the league have given up more goals. The problem they face is that they're at the bottom of the league in terms of spending time in the opposition half so a healthy dose of Modric, Illarra and Isco controlling the show in the final third might be in order.

Based on Carlo's comments, Pepe and Benzema, as well as possibly Gareth Bale, could get the day off against the lowly side which would be a great chance for the likes of Alvaro Morata and Nacho to get some minutes as my guess is that Varane will start in the place of Sergio Ramos. Nacho could also start at RB if Carlo wants to give Daniel Carvajal some rest. Cristiano Ronaldo should be getting plenty of game action to test out his leg and fitness.

Prediction: 3-0 in favor of Real Madrid. Osasuna might look to pack the box but Madrid should be able to break through eventually behind the support of the home crowd.

Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid visit Valencia and Barca will take the road to Villarreal. Make sure to send all your positive juju to Valencia and the Yellow Submarine.

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