Once again, Real Madrid are within striking distance of La Liga leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. With the two league leaders drawing against one another on January 11 and each drawing once since, Real Madrid has moved just a point off the lead.
Los Blancos have now won eight straight games in La Liga competition, and they should keep on rolling against an overmatched Granada side. The visitors are no pushover, of course—they're a respectable 10th in La Liga and have earned more points on the road (14) than they have at home (10).
Just don't expect that trend to continue against Real Madrid.
When: Saturday, January 25 at 10 a.m. ET
Saturday, January 25 at 3 p.m. GMT
Where: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
Watch: beIN Sports; beIN Sports Play
Odds: Real Madrid (79.3 percent), Granada (7.6 percent) and draw (13 percent), according to Bloomberg Sports
For at least a short period, a Real Madrid win would put them top of the table. That should be motivation enough for Real Madrid, as manager Carlo Ancelotti said, via Dermot Corrigan of ESPN:
This gives us a chance to be leader, even if it could be for just one night. But we were six points behind. So this could be an important game for us, for the season. We have a lot of games at the moment, and are doing very well, but we must be careful as any game can be dangerous. We must prepare well.
According to Corrigan, Xabi Alonso, Diego Lopez and Dani Carvajal will return to the starting lineup in this one, while Angel Di Maria will continue to play in the midfield of a 4-3-3 rather than his usual place on the wing.
Real Madrid are extremely talented across the pitch, but one of the best attacking forces in La Liga are at the forefront of the team's success. Cristiano Ronaldo (8.21), Isco (7.7) and Gareth Bale (7.66) are all ranked in the top eight of WhoScored's average matching ratings, while Karim Benzema is further down the pitch but has a respectable 7.33 rating, 10 goals and five assists in league play.
But for all of Los Blancos' attacking talent, the team has also kept six straight clean sheets in all competitions, an excellent mark. That's bad news for a Granada side that has managed a measly 19 goals on the season.
And it means forward Youssef El Arabi will need to have a big game if his team are to pull of the upset. With seven goals in 18 matches, El Arabi has been solid this season and easily leads Granada in La Liga goals. If he's quiet, Granada won't make a peep in this match.
Real Madrid are on fire at the moment. Granada don't have an answer for Ronaldo and his cohorts, and this one could get ugly before long.
Still, Granada's 12 away goals conceded is tied for fourth best in the league. They won't win, but they won't roll over, either.
Real Madrid win, 2-0.
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