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January 2017 - Real Madrid’s Next Big Test

The next month could make or break the season for Los Blancos

Sevilla FC v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

The next month for Real Madrid could decide much for the way the second half of the season shapes up. Between a trio of fixtures against Sevilla and a match against Real Sociedad to finish the month, this could be an interesting start to 2017.


As many of you have undoubtedly seen, Real Madrid have drawn Sevilla in the next round of the Copa del Rey. What makes this particularly interesting is that we were already scheduled to play the next league fixture against them on January 15th. The three matches against Jorge Sampaoli's side will be played in just 11 days, and given Sevilla's current run of form and 3rd place position, will present one of the biggest challenges Real Madrid have faced all season.

Sevilla haven't had the most difficult schedule in the last month and a half, but barring a UCL defeat to Juventus and a surprise loss to Granada, they have been pouring the goals in. Their two young internationals up front, Luciano Vietto and Wissam Ben-Yedder have combined for 11 goals to help the team to a 32 goals-for total.

Real Madrid seem to have mixed results against Sevilla historically with six wins from nine since the 2012 season. We've had a smattering of convincing wins over the years, but far more the case, the results are close and go to either side.

Los Blancos will have to stay sharp over the three-game stretch to overcome Sevilla's press. Fortunately, their defense has been fairly exposed and we shouldn't have too much trouble netting several goals a game. If we can keep our heads about us, and our defensive line avoids their usual one-or-two-a-game blunders, we have a pretty solid chance of winning the CDR tie and, more importantly, the League match to maintain our lead.

In betwixt the Sevilla matches we face Granada and Malaga. On the face of it, neither team should present too much difficulty. Granada in particular have not been playing well, but the match gives us only two days rest after our first Sevilla match and only 4 days rest prior to the next, so fatigue and rotation will be a factor as we desperately need to start the year regaining our 6 point lead in the league.

Malaga is currently in 11th and on a pretty poor run of form. However, you never know with Malaga… They may have lost to Granada and been sent packing from the CDR by Cordoba, but barely a month ago they drew Barcelona at the Nou Camp. Throw a regular nemesis of Cristiano Ronaldo in the has-the-capacity-for-super-human-form of Carlos Kameni, who tends to decide whole games by himself, and this fixture isn't super ideal in the January mix.

Outside of a Madrid derby, or another Clasico, I'm not sure there is a team in La Liga that I'd rather face LESS than Real Sociedad. What do you say about a side that no one thought would be nearly as strong as they are this season, but continues to turn out solid performances? With former Real Madrid outcast Asier Illarramendi pulling the strings at the midfield helm, the San Sebastian side have been a menace at the fifth place spot. Aside from a shocking 1-5 loss to Deportivo at the start of December, Sociedad have been on a great run of form with the two big highlights a magnificent battle of a draw against Barca (that they should have won) and a 2-0 win against Atletico.

We'll need to be very wary of Willian Jose, who is on 9 goals this season, if we want to escape with a victory. Fortunately, Jose is really their only solid goal-scoring threat, and there are pretty leaky at the back. Plus, we are at home for this match.

Much hangs on the success or failure in the month of January. Zidane's men, who are breaking records by the week in spite of less-than-stellar play and a continued blight of injuries, have the chance to continue their amazing run of form and cement a solid start to the second half of the season.

Step up, stay focused, and we could continue to see a dynasty in the making.

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