Real Madrid play their first home LaLiga match of the new year at the Bernabéu against Sevilla on Saturday. These two clubs last met back in September at the Pizjuán where Real took the match 1-0.
Real are currently tied on points with Barcelona still at 40 points. Sevilla find themselves trailing the league leaders by 5 points, tied on points with Atlético.
The Sevillans suffer from the same scoring problems Atlético have this year, scoring only 24 league goals this season. The defense has been what has come through for Sevilla, only conceding 18 goals so far.
There’s been a lot of changes in the last couple days for Sevilla. The club lost their backup striker in Chicharito, but added his replacement in Youssef En-Nesyri from Leganés. Despite losing two of its best players in Wissam Ben Yedder and Pablo Sarabia over the summer, they’ve fared quite well with their summer replacements and are currently in a Champions League spot.
This is a big match for two of Sevilla’s own as well. Real Madrid loanee Sergio Reguilón and former manager Julen Lopetegui will make their return to the Bernabéu.
Despite returning to training this week, Sergio Ramos will miss Saturday’s match due to injury. Bale, Hazard and Asensio all still remain out of action. James has also been left off of Zidane’s match squad. Odriozola and Mariano are out as well. Benzema has been included, however.
Sevilla have no players injured for this match.
Fede Valverde is serving suspension for this match after receiving a straight red for his goal-saving tackle in the Supercopa de España Final. Lucas Ocampos is also suspended for Sevilla.
Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Militão, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Rodrygo, Isco, Benzema
With Ramos out, Militão will most likely take his place alongside Varane. Zidane also has a choice of starting Marcelo or continue rolling with Ferland Mendy.
With Valverde suspended, Modric will likely reunite with his midfield partners for this match.
We’ll likely see a similar attack formation to the Supercopa since Hazard and Bale are both still out. If Benzema is fully recovered, which is assumed since he is in the match squad, he would start over Jovic.
Vaclík; Navas, Carlos, Carriço, Reguilón; Jordán, Fernando, Banega; Vázquez, Munir, de Jong
Real Madrid—Sevilla 2-0
Real Madrid have been a force at home this season. However, Sevilla have been great on the road and haven’t lost away in their last five matches.
If Benzema starts, its is a huge positive because he is the club’s leading scorer and can be a complete difference maker in what is likely to be a tight, defensive match. Sevilla are a very good defensive side that can grind the 90 minutes out to force a result.
Sevilla not having Lucas Ocampos is a huge loss for them since he is their top scorer with five goals on the season. Ever Banega is tied for second with six assists, so he is certainly a player to watch out for. Diego Carlos has also been a great addition to the Sevilla backline.
While being a great defensive side, Sevilla are not a huge offensive threat. Luuk de Jong, who has served as their starting striker, has been largely disappointing scoring only two goals on the year. Having En-Nesyri in the squad for his debut match with his new club could be a factor since he does have more goals.
Much like the Supercopa final against Atlético, it’s likely to be a more defensive match where Real will have to work hard to score. They can hopefully get it done at home in order to capture three necessary points and end Sevilla’s road streak.