What: Spanish La Liga
Who: Real Madrid vs Malaga
When: Saturday 19th October, 2013, at 15:00 UK Time
Where: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
Home Sweet Home
Real Madrid will be thankful that the first of their games after the international break will be at home at the Santiago Bernabeu. Los Blancos’ season came to a pause a fortnight ago as they were under the microscope with a series of unconvincing results, especially away from home. In front of their fans, they have displayed the better aspect of their game, a fact Carlo Ancelotti will be hoping to count on as they prepare to tackle their upcoming matches.
Los Merengues’ fortress has not been that immune to setbacks, as the once hard venue last witnessed a defeat for the home side in league action against cross-town neighbours Atletico Madrid. However, Ancelotti will fancy his chances against Malaga, as the 32-time league winners have won nine of the past ten games that pitted them against the Andalucians.
A win will serve Real Madrid as the perfect pedestal in order to tackle their upcoming crucial Champions League match against Juventus a few days later, as the home side hope to continue their 100% record in the European competition.
However, Ancelotti is still having some problems coming up with a definite style of play as his players continue to struggle with transitioning from Jose Mourinho’s counter-attacking football to the way their new manager wants them to play.
In Need of a Result
Similar to their adversaries, Malaga have not been able to emulate the form that they were known for last term. After eight games in La Liga, Los Boquerones have just nine points to their name, having won just two games so far – 5-0 against Rayo Vallecano and 2-0 versus Almeria, both at home. Bernd Schuster will be hopeful that he will be able to claim victory against one of his former clubs, but this remains a very difficult task.
Having drawn their last three games on the road, Malaga will want to change their fortunes around, but they will face a tough game against Real Madrid, according to midfielder Fernando Tissone.
“They are one of the best clubs in the world. We’re going to play at the Bernabeu, which is a very nice stadium and is always full. We must try to face them as if they were any other side. We must not play in fear, but face them with a lot of determination, knowing that they are a great team and that things will be difficult. But we have to play to the best of our abilities and get a result”, he said.
Real Madrid 0-1 Atletico Madrid (28/09; La Liga)
Real Madrid 4-0 Copenhagen (02/10; Champions League)
Levante 2-3 Real Madrid (05/10; La Liga)
Malaga 2-0 Almeria (24/09; La Liga)
Real Valladolid 2-2 Malaga (27/09; La Liga)
Malaga 0-1 Osasuna (04/10; La Liga)
Real Madrid: Gareth Bale (doubt); Xabi Alonso
Malaga: Bobley Anderson; Fabrice; Jose Manuel Casado
Players to watch
Real Madrid – Isco: Real Madrid’s drop in form has coincided with the playmaker’s purple patch. Against his former side, he will want to reaffirm why he is amongst the best burgeoning attacking midfielders out there.
Malaga – Willy Caballero: The veteran custodian was amongst the best in La Liga last season, and he will need to put on yet another brave display to ensure his side compete. Facing Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu will be a hard task for him.
Real Madrid will want to erase the memories of their last game at their own ground and start another assault in the league. Los Blancos have usually struggled when they pick up the pace after a break, but will need to get a result in order to calm their fans. Malaga are inconsistent and the team from the south could be put to the sword. Real Madrid 3-0 Malaga.
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