Preview: Eibar vs Real Madrid — LaLiga
Photo by Angel Martinez/Real Madrid via Getty Images
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After a string of home fixtures and favorable results Real Madrid are travelling to Bilbao, before making the short trip to challenge Eibar away from home. Madrid are currently third on the table with 22 points, but get the chance to eclipse Sociedad to summit, before Barcelona face Celta at home. There are no easy games for Los Blancos after they lost on the road against newly promoted Mallorca. 

Team News

Eibar

Mendilibar has announced a 19-man squad for the game against Real Madrid. Here’s the full list:

Dmitrovic, Yoel, Burgos, Bigas, Olivera, Cote, Correa, Arbilla, Tejero, Escalante, Diop, Exposito, Orellana, De Blasis, Leon, Inui, Gonzalez, Enrich, Garcia, Charles. 

Real Madrid

James and Bale are yet to be declared fit for the club although they are likely to feature for their national teams during the break. Jović and Marcelo are out due to fitness problems while Brahim makes a surprising return. Zidane has also brought back Vinicius Jr. who missed out on Wednesday. Here’s the list: 

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Alphonse Areola, Thibaut Courtois, Diego Altube, Dani Carvajal, Éder Militão, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Ferland Mendy, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Casemiro, Fede Valverde, Isco, Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema, Lucas Vázquez, Brahim, Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo Goes.

What to Expect

Eibar

The home side are coming into the game in really good form. They have won both of their last two league games against Leganes and Villareal with two spirited performances. Mendilibar has used the traditional flat 4-4-2 formation against Villareal and is expected to do the same against Real Madrid. 

In this formation, Eibar look compact with Diop and Escalante in the middle of the pitch while their fullbacks and two wingers widen the pitch for their side on the attack. They have plenty of quality in the striking department as well in Enrich, Kike and Charles. 

Real Madrid

Zidane has already found a preferred first XI for the big games. With meaning no disrespect to the opponent and being completely aware of his team’s fragile defense, Zidane may still rest some of the players from his Gala XI. Most of these changes could be in the midfield. Toni Kroos and Casemiro are playing like machines. They are guaranteed starters for their respective countries as well. 

To manage the workload, Zidane might call upon Modric to replace Kroos and perhaps Isco as well at some stage of the game. Brahim’s chances of getting minutes are slim ahead of Vinicius Jr. and Lucas Vázquez. The latter might even go onto start the game ahead of Rodrygo who is also on a stretch. But the likes of Carvajal, Ramos, Benzema, and Hazard are once again in line to start the game.

Head to Head

Real Madrid have won eight out of the last 10 games between the two sides but they were severely humiliated by Eibar on their last visit to Ipurua. Santiago Solari’s team were beaten by 3-0 in an unforgettable afternoon. 

Last 10 games

Eibar: W1 D1 L8

Real Madrid: W8 D1 L1

Form

Eibar: W W L L L

Real Madrid: W D W W L

Predicted Line-ups

Eibar: Dmitrovic; Blasis, Olivera, Bigas, Angel; Orellana, Escalante, Diop, Inui; Charles, Kike.

Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Casemiro, Modric, Isco; Rodrygo, Benzema, Hazard.

Players to Watch

Charles, Eibar

Brazillian striker Charles is our featured player from the Eibar camp.

Photo by Legan P. Mace/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Eden Hazard, Real Madrid

The Belgian captain’s goal drought is beginning to raise concerns. Can he change that against Eibar?

Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Referee

Adrian Cordero Vega will officiate in this game. 

Key Quotes

“Every match is difficult. Maybe in Eibar it’s more so, because it’s a very different field from the others, smaller. We know the difficulty, but there is no easy game in this league and you cannot say that we are going to have it easy in any match. We are ready to put in a good performance, knowing the opponents.” – Zinedine Zidane

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