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Match Preview (La Liga 2016/17): Sevilla vs. Real Madrid

Real must keep their momentum in La Liga

Sevilla v Real Madrid - Copa del Rey: Round of 16 Second Leg Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Real Madrid travel to the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán for their third, and arguably most important match against Sevilla of the year so far.

Real progressed to the last eight of the Copa del Rey after a 3-0 home win and 3-3 away draw against the Andalusians, having been two goals behind with just 13 minutes left of the tie on Thursday. Sergio Ramos’ cool panenka penalty and Karim Benzema’s well taken finish in stoppage time ensured that their route into the next round of the Copa was secured.

And now they need to bring three points back to the capital to enhance the gap on Barcelona and Sevilla; while keeping themselves at the top of La Liga.

In between those two legs with Sevilla, Real also brushed Granada aside 5-0, meaning they have scored 11 goals so far this calendar year, and conceded just the three. Thursday’s draw also saw Los Merengues set an unprecedented record of 40 games unbeaten in all competitions.

With that, Real now play Celta in the next round of the Copa this week, taking their total number of games left to play in January to five -- including Sevilla next.

This Sevilla side have been performing well under Manager Jorge Sampaoli, who replaced Unai Emery in the summer, and the Andalusians currently sit third in La Liga.

Wissam Ben Yedder has been lethal in front of goal, scoring eight and assisting twice in 13 appearances in La Liga so far. Luciano Vietto has been in similar form, with six goals and three assists in 14 appearances.

Real cannot afford to allow Sevilla chances. They haven’t lost in La Liga since a 2-1 away defeat to Granada at the start of December. Since then, they’ve brushed Celta and Malaga aside 3-0 and 4-1 respectively. In their final match of 2016, they destroyed minnows Formentera 9-1 in the Copa.

In their last outing in Liga, they hammered Real Sociedad 4-0 at the Anoeta. Sampaoli has fielded a few different variations in tactics, but likes a 3-5-2 set up. One could argue it is a fluid system, but his side have also been seen to line up in 3-4-2-1, 3-5-1-1 and 4-1-3-2.

In whatever set up Sampaoli goes with, they will look to stifle the midfield, and create their own chances using through balls.

For Real Madrid, James and Isco remain sidelined, but Zinedine Zidane can call upon Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric, whom he rested for Thursday’s tie.

Staff Predictions

Result (1) Score (2) Goal Scorers (3) Total Score
Result (1) Score (2) Goal Scorers (3) Total Score
Om RM Win 2-1 CR7, Ramos; Higuaín 42
Kiyan RM Win 3-1 Benz, CR7, Asensio; Pjanic 45
Timm RM Win 2-1 (RM win extra time) CR7, Ramos; Dybala 41
Mike - - - 34
Lucas RM Loss 1-2 CR7; Higuaín, Dybala 26
Nate RM Win 4-2 -CR7x2, Bale, Morata; Higuain, Dybala 47
Marc - - - 3
Lewis - - - 10
Tommy RM Loss 1-2 Benz; Higuaín, Mandzukic 19
Naguib RM Win 2-0 CR7, Bale 29
Vicki - - - 1
Ondra RM Win 2-0 CR7, Ramos 18
Jack RM Win 2-2 (RM win on pk's 4-3) CR7, Ramos; Dybala x2 6
Matt RM Win 1-0 CR7 8
Sam RM Win 2-1 - 1
José RM Win 3-1 CR7 x2, Morata; Mandzukic 3

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