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Las Palmas vs Real Madrid, La Liga 2016-17: Match Preview

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Las Palmas started the year strong only to flatline a bit. This weekend, they host a Real Madrid team in flux.

Real Madrid v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Champions League Final Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Las Palmas is over 1,200 miles from Madrid in the autonomous Canary Islands, just off the coast of Morocco. Among the Gran Canaria archipelago, La Palma is arguably the richest in art, beautiful architecture, beaches, and bananas, making it a rather popular tourist destination. And this weekend, the beautiful little island will host Real Madrid, though they certainly won’t be in town to hit the beach.

Los Blancos got a disappointing 1-1 draw at home against Villarreal and will be certainly looking forward to bounce back and earn all three points tonight against a Las Palmas team who have been impressive so far this season. They are ahead of big teams like Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao or Valencia even though their main goal was to avoid relegation once again. Real Madrid struggled at Las Palmas last year as well, getting a late 1-2 win through a set piece goal scored by Casemiro.

Tonight, the Brazilian midfielder won't be available and neither will be Marcelo. Both players don't have a clear replacement on the squad, so coach Zinedine Zidane will have to make some very important decisions. It looks like Toni Kroos will be playing deep with Modric making his return to the starting XI as well. Kovacic, James and Isco will compete for the third spot in the midfield. Kovacic would provide a much-needed physical presence in Casemiro's absence and Isco could help Real Madrid control the tempo of the game and the possession of the ball. James is the more productive player of the three, delivering assists and scoring goals more often, so the Colombian could help Madrid as well after his good performances lately.

Either way, Real Madrid are expected to get the win ahead of what will be a very tough and crucial away match against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League. Make no mistake, though, this game against Las Palmas could be as crucial down the road.

Staff Predictions: