Real Madrid are back in action this weekend as they take on Real Betis at home after two straight road matches.
Real are back in second in the league table with Atletico reclaiming the first spot by three points. Atletico are set to take on Athletic Bilbao on Sunday which will have further point implications this weekend. Barcelona are two points trailing Real with a match still in-hand.
Betis are among the top clubs in Spain currently sitting in sixth and holding the last Europa League spot for now. However, they’ve dropped many points the last stretch of matches as they have won one match in their last five while drawing four straight.
These two clubs met at the Villamarin back in September where Real took a narrow 3-2 victory after a penalty taken from Sergio Ramos. Real will be adding a few to squad from the injured list for this match.
Real Madrid will see the return of both Luka Modric and Eden Hazard to the squad. They will still be without Sergio Ramos, Ferland Mendy, Toni Kroos, Lucas Vazquez and Fede Valverde.
Betis will be without Dani Martin, Cristian Tello and Victor Camarasa. Nabil Fekir is suspended after drawing a straight red card last weekend.
Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Isco; Asensio, Vinicius, Benzema
It’s likely that Zidane will start both Dani Carvajal and Raphael Varane so they can receive some minutes before this coming week’s semi-final against Chelsea. The same should be had for the returning Modric.
Hazard will likely feature off the bench for this one as his return will likely be handled with much more caution given his extensive run of injuries.
Bravo; Emerson, Ruiz, Mandi, Moreno; Rodriguez, Guardado, Canales; Ruibal, Joaquin, Iglesias
Real Madrid—Real Betis 2-1
This is a crucial match for Real given the quality of opponent as opposed to the last couple of weeks in the league. A win is essential if Real hope to keep up with Atletico who still have to play this weekend.
Betis are great at set pieces while that is one aspect of the game where Real is not so strong. Preventing quality set pieces and not taking dangerous fouls will be a key to this match for Los Blancos.
With the returns for Real and the squad being in a much better place even from just last week, this should be one where they pull through a victory. Betis have shown they know how to force a result but dropping points can’t really be an option anymore.
This is a big match before Real Madrid set their sights towards Chelsea in an even bigger one on Tuesday.