International break is over and La Liga leaders Real Madrid head into a crucial month of April, eager to continue their unbeaten run and the title chase. The first challenge of many is Alaves, who travel to Santiago Bernabeu on the back of a three-match unbeaten streak.
Make it or Break it for Real Madrid
One of the two biggest football clubs in Spain could use a title in the presidential election year. La Liga trophy would give plenty of backing to Florentino Perez who has been busy consolidating power in the boardroom and making just enough pressure on Zinedine Zidane to close the deal. Los Blancos boss is hardly under threat at Real Madrid, but he is well aware of the challenges that come with his role. Having suffered the 2-1 defeat at Valencia earlier in February, Real Madrid managed to bounce back in style by winning four games and drawing once in the following month. Santiago Bernabeu outfit are currently occupying the first place in the La Liga standings with only two points in front of Barcelona, however. Los Blancos cannot afford a single slip until the end as the Catalans are breathing down their necks, ready to pounce at any potential slip-up. Together with their La Liga run, Real Madrid are facing a tough challenge in the Champions League as well. The return of Gareth Bale came at just the perfect timing as Los Blancos are also starting to plan for the Bayern Munich tie.
Casemiro is forced to miss the forthcoming clash through the yellow card suspension, while Fabio Coentrao is lacking match fitness and will not be used against Alalves. Additionally, Raphael Varane’s availability is a problem, since the French defender is struggling with a muscle injury.
Alaves on the run
La Liga newcomers travel to Santiago Bernabeu in good spirits and on the back of back-to-back La Liga triumphs which saw Alaves climb to tenth place in the standings. Mauricio Pellegrino’s men defeated Malaga away, before Deyverson’s only goal solved the match against Real Sociedad right before the international break. Alaves kept their form during the pause with a 2-0 warm-up clash against Burgos and will be making their trip to the capital without pressure. The aforementioned Brazilian international Deyverson could be the key for Alaves against Zinedine Zidane’s men as the 25-year-old is expected to continue his fine form at La Liga heavyweights. Former Levante forward has been in superb form for Alaves as he hit 6 goals in 24 appearances for his new club. The experienced striker played for Levante before his move to Alaves, while he also had spells in FC Koln in Bundesliga and at Belenenses. Alalves are one of the most positive surprises in La Liga this season as the top tier newcomer have been defying the odds which saw them being predicted for a swift relegation.
Spanish defender Einar Galilea is the only player on the injury list for Alaves. The 21-year-old is struggling with a knee injury that will keep him sidelined for the occasion. Additionally, Theo Hernandez and Ruben Sobrino are likely to miss the game due to their respective injuries.
Real Madrid cannot afford a slipup and are expected to make a strong return from the international break. A convincing win would be a huge morale boost ahead of a crucial month for the club, so we expect Los Blancos to go full charge ahead.
Top pick: Real Madrid/Real Madrid 1.50 (1/2) @Coral
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score – No 1.85 (17/20) @BetVictor
Alternative pick 2: Real Madrid to win to Nil 1.91 (10/11) @PaddyPower