New-look Granada face their first serious test as they take on mighty Real Madrid, with los Blancos boosted by the return of several very important players.
In spite of the heavy summer spending, los Rojiblancos have been unable to avoid a difficult relegation tussle, and it was coach Juan Antonio Anquela that paid the price for the under-par results.
Lucas Alcaraz left Greek side Aris to take over the reigns at Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes, and this will be his first match as Granada boss.
The talented manager should have a much easier job than his predecessor given that star striker Youssef El Arabi has returned from Africa Cup of Nations, while the club also signed several high-quality players.
Diego Buonanotte and Nolito both arrived at the club earlier this week and they are likely to be handed debuts against Real Madrid.
With los Rojiblancos looking much better than few days ago, there is value in backing them to score, at odds of 1.57 (4/7) offered at Ladbrokes.
Dani Benitez and Pape Diakhate are both sidelined through injury, while the Senegalese defender is also suspended for this clash.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Roberto – Nyom, Mainz, Inigo Lopez, Siqueira – Iriney, Mikel Rico – Nolito, Brahimi, Buonanotte – El Arabi.
Real Madrid go into this game looking to extend their winning run in La Liga, and put extra pressure on arch rivals Atletico Madrid in the race for the second place in the standings.
Los Blancos had every right to be delighted with the 1-1 draw against Barcelona in their Copa del Rey semi-final clash considering a number of first team regulars had been unavailable.
Raphael Varane stole the show by adding a goal to his amazing defensive performance, proving he is on the way to become one of world’s best centre-backs.
The Frenchman looks set to continue his run in the side even though Sergio Ramos returns from suspension, just like Fabio Coentrao and Angel Di Maria.
Online bookmakers seem to believe the match against Granada will be nothing more than a walk in the park for los Blancos, with Ladbrokes paying 1.36 (4/9) on away win, although I beg to differ.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira should be available even though they didn’t train with the group, but Iker Casillas and Pepe remain on the sidelines.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Lopez – Arbeloa, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo – Alonso, Khedira – Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo – Higuain.
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