After a terrible week away for Real Madrid in both leagues they were champions of last season, they look to get things back on the right track against Las Palmas where they will return home to the Santiago Bernabéu. A loss in La Liga against Girona and one against Tottenham at Wembley in the Champions League has the media and Real fans alike perplexed. It’s clear that the defending champions are not playing their best and something is off. Whether it’s the numerous injuries to the squad since the start of the season or team chemistry as a whole, all is not right with the club. With the front office reportedly not making any moves in the January window, it’s obvious the change has to come within the current locker room. Perhaps when the starting squad is fully healthy (hopefully) things will change completely for the better. But until then, Real need to get their heads collected and aim for the full 3 points at home against Las Palmas before things get too far away from them in La Liga.
The injury list remains essentially the same with Mateo Kovacic, Dani Carvaja, and Keylor Navas all still out of action. However, a new injury has surfaced with Raphael Varane after missing play with the squad against Tottenham as well. He is back in training, but will likely miss the La Liga match against Las Palmas.
Potentially back in action is Gareth Bale, who has missed a significant amount of time after suffering a calf injury over a month ago. While he likely won’t start yet, it’s possible he will be on the bench and possible subbed in at some point in the match. Either way, Bale being closer to starting again is only positive news and hopefully he can maintain the form he had before going down to injury.
Las Palmas will still be without Alen Halilovic and Oussama Tannane. As well as Jonathan Viera, who sustained injury against Deportivo last weekend.
Lizoain, Bigas, Lemos, Castellano, Macedo, Samper, Tana, Gómez, Calleri, Rémy, Vitolo
Casilla, Achraf, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo, Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Isco, Ronaldo, Benzema
Even though Real have struggled, their starting XI should look relatively the same with their best squad starting. Casilla, though he's played pretty poor, will still start in place of Navas. Nacho will come in for Varane as he has for many of the defenders this season. Achraf Hakimi will still fill in for Carvajal in his absence. The midfield most likely stays the same as well as the forwards for the squad. Isco will most likely be placed in the playmaker role again, backing up Ronaldo and Benzema.
Real must get the best performances out of their star players, this means Benzema and especially Ronaldo. Since coming back from his suspension, Ronaldo has been dead quiet in most of the matches he’s played in La Liga. He got himself the lone goal for Real against Tottenham, a match where he looked like the only player interested for this side. But, Real needs him to step up in La Liga as well. While they don’t live and die by him, they certainly need his help and his play can certainly dictate and carry the best performance out of this squad. Perhaps he can even inspire Benzema to starting scoring as well, .as it’s intended to be with these two up top.
Real need a win here, losses and draws simply cannot be acceptable at this stage after the disappointment this squad has shown so far. A loss against previous 15th place Girona, who were moved up to La Liga this season, seemed like the lowest Real could go. The loss against Tottenham, while aggravating to watch, was at least to a great squad and one of English football’s current best. A loss at home against a team that is in 19th, a relegation spot, would be absolutely devastating for Real at this point. It would certainly question what the direction of this club is under Zidane and the criticism that would come of this would most likely be unbearable.
Real have to collect themselves and step up to inferior opposition. While it’s foolish to underestimate any La Liga club, there’s a certain level of play that is to be expected out of a championship club vs one that is in relegation jeopardy currently.
3-1 Real Madrid-Las Palmas
Kiko Casilla shouldn’t be expected to keep a clean sheet after two questionable performances in a row. With Varane now out, it will be even harder to keep a goal out of their own net with some of the woes defensively. Real’s chance is dominating play and possession and racking up goals against the Canary Islanders. Ronaldo needs to lead this team to 3 points and hopefully inspires his teammates to step up as well.
A win puts this team back on track, a loss furthers the narrative of the downfall of the champions this season.
HOW TO WATCH, STREAM LA LIGA
Time: 20:45 CET, 02:45pm EST, 11:45am Pacific.
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain.
Available Streaming: BeIN Sports (USA), Fubo.TV (EVERY Real Madrid game with a high-quality and legal stream, click here to sign up and benefit from a summer discount for new members and Managing Madrid readers).