Monday, May 17, 2021

Prediction: Real Madrid vs Osasuna

Verdict: Total goals under 2.5

Best odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

Real Madrid are set to face Osasuna at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium on Saturday, in what will be the 34th La Liga match of the season for both sides.

A match away to Real Madrid is always a big one for any club in the world, regardless of the need for a good result or points; it’s always an opportunity for players to present themselves at the highest level, but for Real at the moment, this match is absolutely crucial.

Real Madrid

Los Blancos are currently in second place in the Spanish top tier, and they’re probably closer to defending the title they won last season than they’ve been at any point of the campaign so far. For a long time it seemed Atletico Madrid would run away with it, but the patchy form of Diego Simeone’s team in recent months has opened the door not only for Real, but for Barcelona as well.

Real are just two points behind Atletico, with five games still to be played. Barcelona were in a great position to go above both rivals from the capital, having the same tally as Real and a game in hand, but they fumbled on Thursday when they unexpectedly lost at home to Granada. It should be said, however, that Sevilla, with one point less than Real and Barcelona, are in the race as well at this point.

Real haven’t lost a game in any competition since January. In the last six La Liga matches, they beat Celta Vigo away by 1-3, Eibar at home by 2-0, Barcelona at home by 2-1, drew 0-0 away to Getafe, beat Cadiz away by 0-3, and drew 0-0 at home against Real Betis. In the meantime, they managed to knock Liverpool out of the Champions League in the quarterfinals and drew the first leg of the semis against Chelsea at home by 1-1, which means they travel to London to face the Blues again next week.

Team News

Zinedine Zidane could potentially welcome captain Sergio Ramos back to the fold, though with the Chelsea rematch on the horizon, it’s more likely that the experienced centre-back starts on the bench, allowing Eder Militao to partner Raphael Varane in the heart of defence again.

There will be no Ferland Mendy or Dani Carvajal on the defensive flanks. Marcelo will likely take Mendy’s place on the left, but Lucas Vazquez, the standard replacement for Carvajal on the right, is also out. It means Alvaro Odriozola should be named to start.

Fede Valverde is missing from the midfield, leaving Zidane with very little choice but to put Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in with Casemiro, though there could be a place for Isco as well if the head coach opts to rest one of the two most creative players.

Upfront, Eden Hazard could start after making a substitute appearance against his former club in midweek.

Osasuna

It will surely be a great opportunity for Osasuna players to prove themselves against the 13-time European champions, but all in all, the team is in a very comfortable position at the moment and won’t feel too much pressure over the outcome of the contest.

Osasuna are currently in 11th place with 40 points, 10 more than Elche who top the relegation zone, which means there is very little for them to worry about when it comes to relegation. They won’t be too preoccupied by the prospect of playing in Europe either, with the gap to Betis in sixth the same as the one to Elche in 18th. Mid-table placement is a fine season result for them, and that’s where they seem to be going at the moment, regardless of this match.

Jagoba Arrasate’s side lost only once in their last six league matches, 2-1 away to Celta Vigo last week. Before that, they drew 0-0 away to Huesca and at home against Getafe, then triumphed 1-2 away to Europa League semifinalists Villarreal, 2-0 at home against Elche and 3-1 at home against Valencia. Not a bad run of form, overall.

Team News

Osasuna are in relatively fine shape ahead of the Madrid trip, with only backup goalkeeper Ruben Martinez and midfielder Inigo Perez missing.

It remains to be seen whether Arrasate will make any changes to the team that faced Celta. If he does, winger Jony and midfielder Roberto Torres are likely to come in.

Conclusion

Anything other than a Real Madrid win in this game would obviously be a huge surprise, given the champions’ need for points and the vast difference in quality between the two sides. But with the match being squeezed between the two clashes with Chelsea, they won’t be looking to overexert themselves. One goal and a solid defensive display should be enough.

Verdict: Total goals under 2.5

Best odds: 11/10

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 seven different football blogs.

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