Friday, August 7, 2020

Prediction: Real Madrid vs Deportivo Alaves

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 9 Jul 2020

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Verdict: Karim Benzema to score

Best odds: 3/4

Bookmaker: 888sport

Real Madrid will play host to Deportivo Alaves at their Castilla side stadium bearing the name of club legend Alfredo Di Stefano on Friday evening, in a game which will be the 35th for both teams in the 2019/20 La Liga campaig, and a very important one for them both.

Real Madrid

A recent run of underwhelming results from their arch-rivals Barcelona has given Real a great chance to snatch the title back from the Catalans and bring it back to the Spanish capital. They were leading the race by four points ahead of this round, but Barcelona won their game this time – the Catalan derby against Espanyol – and are only a point behind now. It means Real must win this game to avoid the risk of dropping behind should they stumble anywhere in the last three rounds.

The form Los Blancos have been on lately will certainly seem encouraging to their supporters. They’ve won all of their last six league encounters, even though some of those triumphs have been disputed over some questionable refereeing and VAR decisions.

Team News

Head coach Zinedine Zidane will be without the influence of two defensive pillars in his team. Captain Sergio Ramos and right-back Dani Carvajal are both suspended having picked up yellow cards in the win over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday. On the other hand, centre-back Raphael Varane should be back from a head injury and is likely to take the spot beside Eder Militao, who played a fantastic game against Bilbao, in the heart of defence.

It’s a bit more complicated on the right defensive flank with no natural replacement for Carvajal. Winger Lucas Vazquez could drop into the role, or Zidane may choose to deploy left-back Ferland Mendy on the right, with Marcelo on the left.

Winger Eden Hazard is out again with a fresh ankle problem. The former Chelsea man simply cannot catch a break, fitness wise, but Zidane has Marco Asensio, Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Junior to choose from when deciding who should be flanking Karim Benzema in attack. Out-of-favour Gareth Bale is also an option.

Deportivo Alaves

Alaves have been struggling throughout the season to book as many points as possible in their bid to remain in La Liga Santander for next season, and at the moment, it doesn’t look to bad for them. They travel to Madrid sitting in 16th place with 35 points to their name, the same as Eibar in 17th, but seven more than Mallorca in 18th and eight more than Leganes in 19th. The defeat in the Catalan Derby has made the relegation of bottom-side Espanyol a mathematical certainty. Be that as it may, Alaves aren’t safe just yet and they mustn’t relax too much in the remaining games.

With all due respect towards Juan Muniz and his team, this game was never to be counted on in terms of points for  them. Their recent form and its difference to that of Real tells a tale; one win and five defeats from their last six league outings.

Team News

Muniz won’t be able to count on defender Ruben Duarte who is out for the season due to a foot injury. Goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco is absent with a muscular problem, but the rest of the squad should all be in contention.

Conclusion

As has been said, there isn’t much doubt that Real Madrid will emerge victorious once more. However, due to the extremely short odds on that happening you might want to go for a goalscorer this time. There’s no Hazard, Bale’s involvement is questionable, and any of the younger wingers might get on the scoresheet – and yet they may not. Sergio Ramos won’t be there to take a match-winning penalty or free-kick this time, or to threaten from set-pieces.

The likeliest man to put the ball in the net? Karim Benzema.

Verdict: Karim Benzema to score

Best odds: 3/4

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on four different football blogs.

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