Los Blancos will be keen on returning to winning ways on Saturday evening in what will be their first competitive home game of the season. The pressure will be felt by Madrid coach Rafa Benítez and his players after last week’s stalemate against Sporting de Gijón. Securing all three points against the recently-promoted Real Betis is simply a must.
With the departures of Fábio Coentrão, Lucas Silva and Asier Illarramendi, Real Madrid look to have finished all transfer business for the summer, albeit a potential late capture of David De Gea still possible. Karim Benzema, Pepe and Gareth Bale have all seemingly recovered from injuries, and with a fully fit squad, Benítez’s men will be seeking to entertain the ever-demanding home fans.
The last time the two sides met resulted in a 5-0 home loss for Pepe Mel’s side, with Madrid’s BBC grabbing a goal apiece. While Betis will be hungry to obtain a good result, Los Blancos should comfortably stroll past the Andalusian outfit.
3 things to watch for:
- Karim Benzema
Real’s lack of goals may come to an end with the return of Karim Benzema, who, although not fully match fit, will surely provide some of the missing firepower. The Frenchman recently put to bed all rumours of a potential summer exit and will be looking to combine with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in Saturday night’s matchup. "Benzema is a great player and we need him to have continuity, he is fundamental for us in attack," stated Benítez, who will certainly be glad with his striker’s return.
- James Rodríguez
After having been dropped to the bench for Madrid’s La Liga opener, James will be keen on making an impact at the Bernabéu in Madrid’s second La Liga match. Isco failed to impress against Sporting de Gijón, and now James may get the nod ahead of the Spaniard in Saturday night’s game. Benítez recently stressed the Colombian’s importance to the team, stating that "James is a great player. He's fundamental, the same as Isco and his other team-mates." The 24 year old midfielder/forward will now have to repay Benítez’s faith in him.
- Rafa Benítez
Benítez will once again attempt to shed the image of a defensive Real Madrid side, knowing that he must provide entertaining football if he wishes to maintain his position at the club. The Madrid-born coach must also make more of an impact on the game from the bench with smart substitutions. With Madrid’s great depth, it will be curious to see how the Spaniard contributes to the game tactically.