La Liga may not be a two-team league as many detractors claim—Atletico Madrid might have a few things to say about that—but you have to feel for clubs like Elche when mighty Real Madrid comes strolling into town.
Elche is back in the first division of Spanish soccer for the first time since the 1988-89 season. In that time span, Real Madrid has won nine La Liga titles (including the year Elche was relegated).
Elche may not simply be happy just to be back in the top flight, but stealing any points in this contest would represent an epic upset. Let's take a closer look at this mid-week La Liga clash.
When: Wednesday, September 25 at 4 p.m. ET (9 p.m. BST)
Where: Manuel Martinez Valero, Elche, Spain
Odds: Real Madrid (64 percent), Elche (17.4 percent) and draw (18.6 percent), according to Bloomberg Sports
Gareth Bale seems likely to miss this contest after suffering muscle fatigue in his left thigh before Sunday's game against Getafe, causing him to miss making his home debut. No worries—Real Madrid can just plug in Angel Di Maria, who has a goal and four assists in nine total appearances.
An away trip might be just what the doctor ordered for Karim Benzema, after Real Madrid supporters harped on him during the team's win over Getafe. From Dermot Corrigan of ESPN:
The former Lyon player then had a nightmare against Getafe, missing an open goal in each half, and showing low confidence with some poor touches and mishit passes. Murmurs and then whistles rang around the stadium after a series of mistakes just after half-time, with Madrid’s Ultras Sur chanting the name of young substitute centre-forward Alvaro Morata.
Madrid’s players were clearly aware of the awkward situation on the pitch, with Alvaro Arbeloa pointedly applauding his team-mate after Benzema had headed over from point-blank range midway through the second period.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Di Maria said the whistles had been unfair.
“The whistling of Karim seemed ugly to me,” the in-form Argentine winger said in AS. “Morata missed another chance, and nobody whistled him. You must be fair with everyone.”
Los Blancos will know better than to take this game lightly, as every fixture matters with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid each taking 15 points from five games. Real Madrid is currently in third with 13 points, but any slip-ups—even to lowly Elche, which have just three draws in five La Liga games—could be costly.
It's hard to imagine Real Madrid failing to win this game by multiple goals. Elche have scored four goals in La Liga play, the same amount Los Blancos scored against Getafe over the weekend. Cristiano Ronaldo and Isco each have four goals of their own in league play.
Catching the drift here?
Let's stick with the theme of four. Real Madrid win, 4-0.