Osasuna host league leaders Real Madrid, as they look for an unlikely victory against Zinedine Zidane’s side and boost their survival hopes
Osasuna v Real Madrid – La Liga
Venue: El Sadar Stadium
Kick Off: 15:00
TV Channel: La Liga TV
Real Madrid travel to Osasuna looking to build on their imperious unbeaten record, as well as extend their league at the top of La Liga. Despite ongoing injury worries and missing key players throughout this run, Zinedine Zidane’s side are looking to move clear of Barcelona in the race for the league title, as well as prepare themselves for their upcoming Champions League clashes with Manchester City.
Los Blancos ran out 2-0 winners in the first meeting between the two, and they have looked unstoppable since. Key to any hopes Osasuna have will come from stopping Karim Benzema, who has top scored with 13 goals for Real this season. The next top scorer for Real is Casemiro, Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos with three goals, so if they are able to nullify the Frenchman’s threat, it will go a long way to getting them a result on Sunday.
However, Eden Hazard is nearing a return from injury, and featuring against Sociedad in the Copa Del Rey in midweek will given Real a boost. Careful to manage the influential Belgian, it may be that he is on the bench, but the knowledge he is an option will certainly encourage the Real faithful
Although they have looked to play on the ball this season, Osasuna may opt to sit deeper than normal, before exploiting Real’s high defensive line, and hope they can break past the imperious defence this way. However, the statistics behind Real’s defence don’t make for great reading for Osasuna, with only thirteen goals conceded, coming at an xGa of 19.96, and they will have their creative work cut out.
Osasuna’s main goal threat comes from Chimy Avila, who has nine goals this season, as well as Ruben Garcia, who has six to his name. Roberto Torres is the creative threat Real will need to be wary of, with six assists to his name, and Osasuna haven’t found creating chances a problem this season, and this will give them belief they can gain a positive result on Sunday. However, Avila is expected to miss the remainder of the season, and his fine form will take some replacing, making this even more of an uphill task for Osasuna.
With 29 goals for and 28 against, they are one of the more positive sides in La Liga, and are unfortunate to be as low down as 11th in the table ahead of this clash. They will be hoping that Real Madrid’s cup exploits are a distraction, and a fresher Osasuna side may fancy their chances of causing an upset.
Real’s unbeaten will go on the line on Sunday, and whilst it is hard to look past Zidane’s side, stranger things have happened.
Aridane Hernandez is suspended, whilst Toni Lator, Oier, Ruben Martinez and Chimy Avila are injured.
Real Madrid will be without Marco Asensio and Mariano.
Head to Head:
Osasuna Wins: 2
Real Madrid Wins: 17
Real Madrid are unbeaten in their last nine La Liga games against Osasuna.
Osasuna have only won one of their last five home games in the league.
Osasuna are yet to win this season when Chimy Avila has been absent.
Osasuna: D W W L L
Real Madrid: W W W W W
The injury to Avila can’t be overlooked for Osasuna, and this will be a huge blow to their hopes, particularly when considering their attacking threat. Coming up against a side with such a strong defensive record, where a goal will come from is a concern. Given the underlying statistics of Real’s strong defence, as well as Osasuna’s injuries, BTTS no is appealing at 11/10.
I’d expect a Real win, and at 8/15 it is a surprisingly kind price. However, I would be happy to dip into the goalscoring market, and given the reliance on the French striker, and lack of goals coming from elsewhere, Karim Benzema at 1/1 represents a good bet. They should create plenty of chances on Sunday, and if Osasuna chase the game, it should open up even more space to exploit.