La Liga returns once again after a break for the Spanish Super Cup, where Real Madrid overcame rivals Atletico Madrid, and Zinedine Zidane’s side will be keen to take that success into their league campaign.
Real Madrid v Sevilla – La Liga
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu
Kick Off: 15:00
TV Channel: La Liga TV
Madrid plays host to a top four clash between Real Madrid and Sevilla, and ex-Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui will be keen to get one over his former club, after coming so close in the first meeting between the two sides earlier in the season.
Real Madrid come into the game on an impressive run of form, and victory on penalties over Atletico last weekend reinforced the improvements the side has seen since a tricky start to the campaign. It has been Madrid’s defence in particular that has shone this season, only conceding 12 goals all season, with these coming at an xGa of 18.95, highlighting their solidity. However, they will be without the talismanic Sergio Ramos at the back, although replacement Eder Militao has settled well after a summer move, and should be well equipped up to deal with the Sevilla threat up top, particularly that of the physical Luuk De Jong.
Injuries and suspensions are a concern for Zidane’s side, and after his red card last weekend, Federico Valverde will miss out. Despite this, it will likely just see a deeper role for Casemiro, who will be partnered by Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, and as a result it would be no surprise to see Real Madrid dictate proceedings on Saturday afternoon.
Karim Benzema will be a big miss for Los Blancos up top, but the timely return of Gareth Bale will aid their chances, whilst struggling summer signing Luka Jovic may be given the opportunity to impress. However, without Benzema, there is a lack of goals in the side, and Zidane will have to find a way to cope without his star striker.
Sevilla will look to sit deep and counter against Real, utilising their pace on the break and looking to capitalise on what will be a high Madrid defensive line. However, they are without winger Lucas Ocampos through suspension, so a lot will rest on the likes of Oliver Torres to replace the tricky forward, and provide Sevilla an outlet up top. De Jong offers a strong presence up top, winning on average five aerial duels per game, and his hold up play will be crucial to bringing the counter attacking wingers into play for Sevilla.
A tight game is expected, as Real look to continue their impressive run of form, and given the injury worries for Madrid, it will be a test of their strength in depth on Saturday afternoon.
Marco Asensio & Eden Hazard miss out for Real, whilst Federico Valverde is suspended. Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema are also expected to miss out.
Lucas Ocampos is suspended for Sevilla.
Head to Head:
Real Madrid Wins: 23
Sevilla Wins: 13
Real Madrid have won the last ten La Liga meetings between the two sides at home
Sevilla have only won 25% of their league games without winger Lucas Ocampos, compared to 60% with.
Gareth Bale is currently nine games without a goal for Real Madrid, and is one game off equaling his worst run for Madrid
Real Madrid 2nd / D D W W D
Sevilla 4th / D L L W D
Injuries to Real Madrid make them a hard sell at 8/15, and with the influential attackers from both sides missing, it is the goal markets I’d be looking at.
Priced at 13/10 for both teams to score ‘No’, and Under 2.5 goals at the same price, these are the stand out options. The defences for both sides are impressive, conceding only 12 and 18 goals this season respectively, whilst the underlying statistics of the expected goals of both defences further reinforce this.
The struggles of both Jovic and De Jong up front for both sides can’t be ignored, whilst Bale also finds himself on a barren run. The first meeting was a tight, cagey affair and Sevilla will set up to frustrate and counter once again, so opposing goals in this game is the stand out option.