An injury ravaged Real Madrid host local rivals Getafe later this evening at 21:00 at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, looking for back to back wins in an attempt to gain some rhythm and consistency.
Zinedine Zidane’s men are stuck between a rock and a hard place right now, with results not going their way leading to an underwhelming mood in the camp, and noticeably on the pitch. But the weekend’s coming from behind win over Huesca showed that there is still some urgency and hunger in the team, but it’s now about stringing results together as they look to not only wrestle back second spot in the league standings, but to gain some momentum heading into their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie against Serie A side Atalanta.
On the other hand, this game comes at a good time for Madrid, who face a Getafe side which are struggling of late too. A goalless draw against Deportivo Alaves is sandwiched in-between two heavy defeats, first a 5-1 loss to Athletic Club and then a 3-0 defeat to Sevilla on Saturday means José Bordalás and his side are currently in 13th, which could get worse if they lose to Madrid today and other results don’t go their way too.
The key talking point
Madrid continue to struggle breaking opponents down, and largely rely on Toni Kroos and Luka Modric to find ways through. Full backs Ferland Mendy and Alvaro Odriozola simply don’t make enough overlapping runs, and neither do the wingers, other than Vinicius Junior, who’s confidence is at an all-time low, but against Huesca, at least he was trying to make things happen. The attack is largely centered around Marco Asensio, who’s grit and determination, rather than his actual form, has been a shining light for the club in the past month or so, as the Spaniard continues returning to full match fitness and form. With Kroos absent for this game, it’ll be interesting to see what Zidane decides to go with today. It wouldn’t be a bad prediction to say the Frenchman might opt for a four man midfield, with Karim Benzema and Asensio up top, allowing Isco to play the connector role with either Antonio Blanco or Sergio Arribas playing closer to Modric and Casemiro.
But this match might play into the hands of Zidane, and Madrid’s only way of hurting the opponent. They seem to be fixated on going over the top of the opposition’s defence, rather than through, and Getafe in recent games have been punished for being all over the place at the back. Sevilla and Athletic both used that to their advantage, and Bordalás will have to construct a defensively sturdy base to give his attackers a chance on the counter attack in transition.
Takefusa Kubo could come up against his parent club, and might be up against Marcelo, because Zidane is without a right-back, which usually means Ferland will fill in on that side. It would be refreshing to see Zidane attempt to play with a back three with Marcelo and Ferland in advanced left wing-back roles, to add creativity, but also would mean extra stability in defensive transitions, as Casemiro can slot back to support the three central defenders, if that’s something Zidane opts to experiment with. It’s likely he won’t though, as he has been far too safe this season, and a tad predictable.
Madrid have a long absentees list, with Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal, Lucas Vazquez, Rodrygo Goes, Federico Valverde, Odriozola and Eden Hazard all out with injuries, while Kroos is suspended for this one. Isco returns to the squad though from a back niggle which kept him out on Saturday.
As for the visitors, head coach Bordalas won’t be on the sidelines as he was sent off in the game against Sevilla, but Mauro Arambarri is back and available after a suspension. Djene Dakonam is suspended for his horrific challenge on Lucas Ocampos. But the key men, Jaime Mata, Carles Alena and Marc Cucurella are all available, as is Madrid’s loanee Kubo.
The last time they met?
Real struggled to beat Getafe at the end of last season, when football returned post-lockdown. It was a 79th minute Ramos penalty that sealed a 1-0 victory at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium, in a game which put Real four points clear at the top of La Liga in their title winning run-in.