Madrid, Nov 20 (IANS) Real Madrid visit Granada on Sunday at the start of a busy five weeks between now and the Christmas break.
As well as their five scheduled La Liga games, Real Madrid have two further league games (both against Athletic Club Bilbao) to fit in, along with two Champions League group matches in what promises to be a period in which coach Carlo Ancelotti will have to rotate his squad as much as possible.
Sunday’s visit to fourth from bottom Granada should bring three points for Ancelotti’s men, although Real Madrid have recently made hard work of games against Shakhtar Donetsk and Rayo Vallecano, with questions raised about their defending after Rayo actually managed more shots than Real in the Bernabeu a fortnight ago.
Granada may be struggling, but they have plenty of firepower in attack, with center-forward Luis Suarez of Colombia leading the line supported by the pacy Darwin Machis and veteran Jorge Molina, reports Xinhua.
Ancelotti will once again be without Gareth Bale, after the Welsh international suffered a calf injury during the international break, while Fede Valverde is also sidelined and there is a doubt about Brazilian winger Rodrygo’s fitness.
However, both striker Karim Benzema and winger Vinicius Jr are available and Ancelotti will once again look to the duo to carry the weight of his side’s attacking play, with either Marco Asensio or Lucas Vazquez fitting in on the right.
Ancelotti is likely to use his first-choice midfield of Casemiro, Toni Kroos, and Luka Modric, with Eduardo Camavigna waiting for his moment on the subs’ bench.
Eden Hazard again looks likely to continue on the bench, with every game the Belgian doesn’t start making his departure from the club look more likely. Meanwhile, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao, David Alaba, and Dani Carvajal will play across the back four.
An early goal would be perfect for Real on Sunday, as that would not only give them an advantage but also possibly turn the crowd in the Los Carmenes Stadium against coach Robert Moreno. The former Spain coach has already heard chants for his resignation and defeat on Sunday could see him out of the club he only joined this summer.