Despite a laboured win for Real Madrid over the weekend against Espanyol, they still had enough in the tank to take all three points. For Sevilla, it wasn’t a bad week either, having kicked off their Europa campaign in style against Standard Liege, before wrapping up a win over Levante at the weekend.
This is the fits mid-week league fixture of the season for both sides and one expects a lot of familiar faces on the pitch. Both teams have gone through upheavals over the summer in the form of manager and personnel and it will be interesting to watch what tactics the sides employ to continue their winning run.
The Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium is one of the daunting places to visit and Sevilla are sure to give the visitors a testing time. Having hit 6 goals last time around, Sevilla will hope to grab something from the game. With rivals Barcelona dropping points over the weekend, both Madrid and Barcelona are now level on points with goal difference being the only factor that separates them.
Date: 25th September
Kickoff: 22:00 (local time), 1:30 AM (IST – 27th September)
Live Stream: Live on LaLiga’s Facebook page (Indian sub-continent only) – https://www.facebook.com/LaLiga/
Venue: Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium
Having whacked half a dozen goal against their hapless opponents Levante over the weekend, Sevilla come into this game with a certain air of confidence. Manager Pablo Machin has managed his troops well. The Red and White side beat Madrid 3-2 in May, and will look to emulate that performance.
And given the firepower at his disposal, one wouldn’t be surprised if the game turns out to be an end to end game. The defensive of the game for Sevilla still needs to be worked upon and their reputation for the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan being a fortress needs to be reinstated, having lost 5 times already in 2018.
The likes of Andre Silva and Wissam Ben Yedder are expected to lead the line against Madrid. Another fascinating fact about this fixture is the number of late goals that have been scored in this fixture.
With Isco being diagnosed with acute appendicitis, one can expect Asensio to retain his place and welcome back Welsh winger, Gareth Bale to the side. The defence for Madrid may also welcome back Marcelo and Carvajal, both of whom were absent over the weekend due to injuries of varying degrees.
A VAR goal was the difference between Madrid and Espanyol over the weekend. And with the Madrid derby to come, one may see elements of tiredness among some of the players, especially the midfield. Real Madrid it seems is still to hit top gear under Loptegui but have displayed a sense of adventure every time they play this season. Thibaut Courtois should continue in goal despite questions about his display.
Sevilla (3-5-2): Vaclik; Gomez, Kjaer, Carrico, Vidal; Sarabia, Banega, Vasquez; Navas, Andre Silva, Ben Yedder
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Kroos, Casemeiro; Bale, Benzema, Asensio.
Last 5 matches in all competitions
Real Madrid: W-W-D-W-W
Wissam Ben Yedder and Andre Silva have already chalked up hat-tricks this season. Andre Silva, kicked off in style scoring a plethora of goal in the season opener against Rayo Vallecano, while Ben Yedder has 5 goals from his past two games.
This promising partnership is sure to delight the home fans and with Madrid not having won at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium since 2015, one can expect a mighty performance from Sevilla. One fancies both of them to trouble a defence which may be fatigued after back to back games. Despite that, it is the service from the midfield that will be important to get the target men on the score-sheet.
Despite criticism, Julen Lopetegui has already led this Madrid side to the top of the LaLiga standings albeit a goal difference. Bale and Benzema are once again expected to lead the line for Los Blancos with Asensio supporting them.
There are though certain questions about Asensio and whether fatigue has contributed to his less swashbuckling performances in the last few games. Alongside a Madrid defence which has kept a clean sheet away from home since the start of the season, one can expect certain vulnerabilities which Sevilla may look to capitalize on.
A difficult game to call, although it may just be an entertaining draw.
Predicted Score: 2-2