Defending champions Real Madrid will be aiming to close down the gap to the top of the La Liga table when they lock horns with Eibar this weekend.
The 2020/21 La Liga returns to action this weekend following the fifteen-day break due to the international break. And reigning champions, Real Madrid will be in action on Saturday afternoon as they gear up to take on SD Eibar at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.
Real Madrid find themselves in third place in the table, six points off of leaders Atletico Madrid. Zinedine Zidane’s men are currently on a ten-game unbeaten run in all competitions, defeating Celta Vigo 3-1 in their most recent fixture. And the manager will be hoping to continue that run and reduce the gap to the top, with Atleti facing a difficult game against Sevilla on Sunday.
Eibar, meanwhile, are staring at the prospect of relegation to the Segunda Division as they are 18th in the standings, albeit just two points below Elche in 17th. They are without a win in their last 12 games in all competitions, drawing 1-1 against Athletic Bilbao most recently. Jose Luis Mendilibar & co. are in desperate need of a victory as they look to pull away from the drop zone.
The reverse fixture, played in December last year, saw Real Madrid ease to a 3-1 win with goals coming from Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Lucas Vazquez while Kike was on the scoresheet for Eibar. Ahead of their latest meeting this weekend, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) April 2, 2021
Real Madrid have been dealt with another fresh injury blow as captain and icon Sergio Ramos has one again been sidelined with a calf injury. While the likes of Eden Hazard, Dani Carvajal and Federico Valverde have begun light training they are unavailable for selection when Eibar come visiting this weekend.
Zinedine Zidane is likely to set his team up in his preferred 4-3-3 formation on Saturday with Thibaut Courtois lining up in goal. Lucas Vazquez, who seems to be edging closer towards an exit from the club, should continue at right-back in Carvajal’s absence while Ferland Mendy starts on the left. Raphael Varane and Nacho should form the centre-back partnership.
Casemiro ought to be the deepest of the three central midfielders for Real Madrid, with the Brazilian looking to break up any attempts to counter from the visiting time and keeping his team in control. Luka Modric and Toni Kroos will be the two creative outlets for the Merengues the former with his driving forward runs and the latter with his razor-sharp passes from deep.
Karim Benzema is an undisputed starter in the centre-forward slot for Real Madrid. Vinicius Junior has shown some spark in recent games and should get the nod out on the left while Marco Asensio features out wide on the right-wing when Eibar come visiting.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Courtois; Vazquez, Varane, Nacho, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.
Eibar, meanwhile, will also be without five first-team players for their trip to the capital as Edu Exposito, Pedro Bigas, Yoshinori Muto, Rober Correa and Recio are all set to miss out.
— SD Eibar (@SDEibar) April 2, 2021
Jose Luis Mendilibar will set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation on Saturday with Marko Dmitrovic manning the goal. Alejandro Pozo and Rafa Soares ought to be the two full-backs who will largely play close to the centre-back duo of Paulo Oliveira and Anaitz Arbilla but will look to make overlapping runs when the team is in possession.
35-year-old Pape Diop will be the enforcer in the middle of the park for Los Armeros with him, along with support from Sergio Alvarez trying to nullify the impact of their Real Madrid midfield counterparts in Toni Kroos and Luka Modric. Aleix Garcia will assume playmaking responsibilities in the No. 10 role, while also looking to help out defensively when the hosts are in possession.
Bryan Gil, who is on the radars of Real Madrid ahead of the summer transfer window, should get the nod on the left-wing while Takashi Inui starts out on the right. Kike Garcia, who is Eibar’s leading goalscorer in La Liga this term with eight goals, will spearhead the attack.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Dmitrovic; Pozo, Oliveira, Arbilla, Soares; Diop, Alvarez; Inui, A. Garcia, Gil; K. Garcia
- Real Madrid have won 16 of their last 20 home matches in La Liga.
- Eibar have failed to win their last 11 games in La Liga.
- Real Madrid have won 7 of their last 8 contests against Eibar across all competitions.
- Eibar have failed to win their last nine away games in La Liga (D4 L5), their longest such run in the competition since October 2018 – April 2019 (D7 L6).
- At home, Real Madrid have scored in each of their last six La Liga matches against Eibar, finding the back of the net on 16 occasions in total while letting in just three.
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— Madrid Xtra. (@MadridXtra) April 2, 2021
The Frenchman has been in red-hot form since his return from an injury layoff. Indeed, Benzema has scored eight goals in his last six appearances in a row for Real Madrid across all competitions, equalling his best goal-scoring streak for the club between January and February 2016.
Furthermore, he has been involved in seven goals in his last four La Liga appearances against Eibar (5 goals, 2 assists), including a goal and two assists in the reverse fixture earlier this season. Expect him to be the go-to man for Zinedine Zidane & co. once again on Saturday as they look to cut the gap to the top of the table.
Real Madrid 2-0 Eibar
Eibar just can’t seem to pick up a win at the moment. A run of 12 games in all competitions without a victory has landed them in deep trouble and going up against Real Madrid who are peaking as the business end of the season nears does not bode well for Jose Luis Mendilibar & co. The Hard Tackle expects a straightforward win for the reigning La Liga champions to make it eleven games unbeaten in a row.