Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid will travel to Valencia this weekend to kick off their quest to win the Copa del Rey against Olimpic de Xativa.
As expected, Los Blancos will be heavy favorites when they take to the pitch against the Segunda B club for the first of two meetings this December.
Therefore, manager Carlo Ancelotti is expected to rest many of his stars in favor of his less-experienced players who could use the playing time. At the same time, Ancelotti won't want to disrupt Real's rhythm. The Spanish giants have won four in a row and six of their last seven coming into Saturday's showdown and only trail Barcelona and Atletico Madrid by three points in the La Liga table.
With Los Blancos eyeing another big win on Saturday, let's get you set with everything you need to know ahead of kickoff.
Date: Saturday, December 7, 2013
Start Time: 4 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. GMT
Where: Campo de Futbol La Murta, Valencia, Spain
Watch: beIN Sport
Live Stream: beIN Sport Play
Top Storyline: Ancelotti Set to Start His Young Guns
Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has made it known that he plans to utilize a bulk of his young talent on Saturday in Valencia. According to ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan, the Italian head coach will start inexperienced young talents Jese Rodriguez, Alvaro Morata, Casemiro and Nacho Fernandez this weekend.
Ancelotti expressed full confidence in all of his players at his pregame news conference, per Corrigan:
[The youngsters] will have a chance tomorrow to play. I do not have to show them anything, I have a lot of confidence in all of them. It is true that they have not played so much this season, but you must remember that Jese and Morata are competing with Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.
Casemiro has Xabi Alonso and Luka Modric and Illarramendi. It is not so easy to give them minutes, and they understand that very well. They also know I have faith in them, and their quality.
It's expected that Iker Casillas will start at goalkeeper for Real as Ancelotti has been rotating between the legendary World Cup champion and Diego Lopez. Lopez has started all 15 of Real's La Liga matches this season while Casillas has been called on for Champions League duty.
Let's face it: The talent disparity between these two clubs is absolutely massive. Real are the better squad in every regard and are sure to prove it on Saturday.
The only advantage Olimpic have going for them is that they will be playing at home in a familiar and somewhat comfortable environment. However, they are sure to become very uncomfortable shortly after the ball is kicked.
With players like Isco, Asier Illarramendi and Luka Modric potentially leading the way, Real boast far too much firepower to come up short at La Murta.
Expect a good fight from Olimpic in what's sure to be a losing effort.
Olimpic de Xativa 1, Real Madrid 4
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