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Real Madrid vs Granada, 2017 La Liga: Match Preview

Real look to resume Liga with a win

Real Madrid v Sevilla - Copa del Rey: Round of 16 First Leg Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid host Granada on Saturday as they look to pick up where they left off in La Liga after the winter break.

As the second-half of the season kicks off, Los Merengues have plenty to feel confident, but will have to guard against complacency against a Granada side looking for their first win in three games.

El Graná’s last win came at home to Sevilla at the stat of December, coincidentally Real Madrid’s last opponents, where Granada triumphed 2-1. Since then they were held 1-1 by Malaga, before 2-0 losses at home to Real Sociedad and then away to Osasuna in the Copa del Rey respectively.

Real Madrid’s last outing in La Liga saw a tense victory over Deportivo, edging out their visitors 3-2. Since then they won both the semi final and final of the Club World Championship, before sweeping Sevilla aside 3-0 this week in the Copa del Rey Round of 16 first leg.

James Rodriguez bagged a brace and Raphael Varane nodded home to show Real’s strength in depth without key players.

That said, the hosts welcome back Cristiano Ronaldo, but will be without Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Mateo Kovacic and Lucas Vazquez. Granada also have seven players unavailable due to injuries and travelling for African Nations Cup duty.

Avoiding defeat on Saturday will mean Real extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to 39 games.

Granada are looking to gather as many points as possible. Artem Kravets and Mehdi Carcela-González lead the way in terms of goals for the visitors, with four and three goals respectively.

They’ve taken just nine points from 16 games so far in La Liga, and just two points from the root of the table.

Don’t be surprised to see Granada set up in a 4-5-1 formation, though they do usually use a 4-2-3-1. I imagine that the former formation would be in Manager Lucas Alcatraz’s mind, to try and limit the space afforded to Madrid’s potent midfield and attacking full backs.

For Real, expect to see Keylor Navas resume his position in goal, but the same back four and midfield three of Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos to start again as per the Sevilla tie. I predict that Marcos Asensio will make way for Cristiano, and Alvaro Morata will make way for Karim Benzema, but double goal hero James to retain his starting birth on the wide right of the front three.

On paper, this should be an easy victory for Real Madrid, but it is key that they do not take anything for granted and do a professional job, especially after a great end to 2016, and a resounding win midweek against a good Sevilla side, who they will face another two time this month.

For now, one game at a time, though!

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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