The Real Test
The make-up of Real Madrid’s squad next campaign will depend very much on the success of this season. A miraculous title triumph could see a bulk of their current personnel retained, especially coach, Juande Ramos and his staff, as rumours continue to grow about the amount of changes the incoming administration will undertake.
Failure to defend the throne they won for the last two years may invoke a massive clear-out in the dressing room, but the question really is, would it be such a shame even if Los Blancos were to lose the crown to a
Even with their horror run of form towards the end of 2008,
But on the flip side of the coin, the ‘Men in White’ have not really been tested in the league in the second half of the term. Their toughest encounter was the city derby clash with Atletico
The final seven rounds of the season will finally put the Merengues’ title credentials under the microscope, starting with Tuesday’s showdown with stubborn
Despite the obvious gulf between the two capital clubs,
Los Azulones may not have a whole lot of shiny silverware to show off in their trophy cabinet, but they do have the rare distinction of being the only club in Spain to have a better head-to-head record against the 31-time La Liga champions; although the fact that they have only been in the top flight for five seasons may have a lot to do with that impressive statistic.
But the fact remains that overall, El Geta have beaten
Losing their La Liga status is still very much a real threat for Victor Munoz and his troops, as they currently lie in 15th spot just four points above the drop zone. They were lucky to hang on to that substantial cushion after all their direct rivals, from Osasuna to Athletic Bilbao, Sporting Gijon and Recreativo Huelva, also lost last weekend.
Apr 18 Recreativo Huelva 0-1 Real
Apr 12 Real
Mar 22 Real
Mar 14 Athletic
Apr 12 Sevilla 0-1
Mar 15 Real
Lassana Diarra will have to serve out a one-match ban after reaching his yellow card limit at the weekend. Guti, however, is back from suspension and Juande Ramos has given a strong hint that he could play.
Wesley Sneijder is out for the next six weeks and will very likely miss the rest of the season after tearing his hamstring muscle on Saturday against Recreativo. Left-back, Gabriel Heinze has a problem with his right knee and may not recover in time for
Probable Starting XI (
Victor Munoz has downplayed the ugly bust-up he had with wing-back, Cosmin Contra, after the Romanian lashed out following his substitution during the
The coach has no injury concerns but that only stresses the importance to pick his best first XI. Esteban Granero, who was surprisingly left out on the bench in favour of Contra at the weekend, and left-back Lucas Licht are expected to return to the line-up. Regular goalkeeper, Jacobo could be omitted again for back-up, Vladimir Stojkovic, who has impressed in his last two games.
Probable Starting XI (4-4-2): Stojkovic – Cortes, Cata Diaz, Belenguer (c), Licht – Granero, Casquero, Polanski, Gavilan – Manu, Albin
PLAYERS TO WATCH
The absences of Lass and Sneijder in midfield should allow players like Guti and Rafael van der Vaart a chance rise to the occasion. The duo have had a miserably topsy-turvy season so far but both would relish the opportunity to end the campaign, or possibly even their
Uruguayan forward Juan Albin was the toast around
KS Leong, Goal.com