Real Madrid take on Sporting de Gijón in what looks set to be a straightforward affair this Sunday afternoon. In wake of the FIFA ban imposed earlier this week, newly appointed manager Zinedine Zidane will be keen for his side to impress on the pitch once again and avoid any unnecessary talks of needed big-name reinforcements.
Zidane's second match in charge will be met with as much anticipation as his first, and the Frenchman will be sure to convey to his players the need to go out and score early against the struggling Sporting de Gijón: "We need to be on our guard because we know that we're up against tough opposition, who know how to play and who'll come here fighting. We need to make a good start and focus on the things we've worked on during the week".
Despite the precaution, Madridistas can remain calm and will indeed be confident of victory. Having lost only one out of the last 27 previous La Liga games at home (against FC Barcelona) and coming off a 5-0 mauling of Deportivo de La Coruña, the in-form duo of Benzema and Bale and the ever-hungry Cristiano Ronaldo will be eager to add to their goal tally in a match that is expected to be filled with goals. The BBC, much to the fans' liking, has scored 18 out of Real Madrid's last 19 league goals.
The out-of-form Gijón outfit currently sit 18th in La Liga and have lost eight out of ten of their last matches in all competitions. Abelardo Fernández, manager of Sporting and former FC Barcelona centre-back, will be hoping that his side will put up an improved defensive display, given that his team have kept one sole clean sheet in their last 18 outings.
However, given the preposterous fact that Madrid have scored 30 goals in their last five home fixtures, all signs point to an action-packed thrashing.
With Zidane likely to rotate his players at an attempt to keep his side fresh and competitive, James may likely get the nod after having been benched in favour of Isco in last week's matchup. Danilo may likewise start ahead of a Dani Carvajal who impressed immensely against Deportivo. With Sergio Ramos missing, Zizou has already confirmed Varane's place in the starting line-up. The 22-year-old French defender will be looking to inspire and remain a starter once the Madrid captain is back from injury.
In what is expected to be an overwhelmingly one-sided affair, expect the mighty Los Blancos to make this eight successive defeats for Abelardo Fernández's men.