To be honest, the same result we got at Real Madrid earlier this season wouldn’t bother me a bit. That one was a 0-0 draw and honestly it might suit both sides here pretty well. At the Bernabeu, we had the majority of possession but they had the majority of the chances. I think with a more direct style of play this time around we can flip the script on that.
Real Madrid lead La Liga by six points not so much because they are a dominant side but because no one has stepped up to challenge them. They were unconvincing in their win against Granada, they lost to Athletic Club in the Copa before that, drew Elche in the league prior to that, and went into extra time, also with Elche, in the Copa on January 20th. They will be without Karim Benzema and, honestly, in my estimation Carlo Ancelotti still hasn’t figured out the best way to adjust for that (it would be a Hazard false 9 instead of an Isco one, for me). The Italian manager is also notoriously bad at rotating and so the players we face will be tired.
Nevertheless, this is still a ridiculously talented side and they do seem to find a way to grind out wins more often than not.
If they were missing Benzema and we were fully fit, I’d really like our chances. But as you know, Gerard Moreno is also very likely to be out of this one, and we have yet to see Danjuma run a full 90 minutes since his return from injury. I think if we play a counter attacking style we can give them all kinds of threat, but even as good as we looked without Gerard against Betis I’m never as comfortable without him as I would be with him on the pitch.
Boulaye Dia should be back from AFCON, though it remains to be seen if Emery will start him right away. Given Paco’s inability to convince it wouldn’t shock me.
1-1 draw. I think we are capable of winning this one but I wouldn’t bet on it. It seems like we usually find a way to let these big Madrid sides find at least a point against us.