La Liga preview: Sevilla – Real Madrid

After elimination from the Champions League in midweek, the capital side can only try and prolong the Primera Division title race on Saturday night

Sevilla (4-2-3-1):
Varas; Dabo, Fazio, Escude, Navarro; Medel, Romaric; Capel, Renato, Perotti; Negredo

Sevilla has suffered a double blow this week as influential playmaker Ivan Rakitic and solid right back Martin Caceres have both suffered injuries that see them ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Diego Perotti will miss out, so teenager Luis Alberto will be involved in the squad, while Alexis Ruano continues to sit out too. Jesus Navas has not completely overcome a stress fracture.
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1):
Casillas; Ramos, Albiol, Carvalho, Marcelo; Pepe, Alonso; Ronaldo, Ozil, Di Maria; Higuain

Sami Khedira and Fernando Gago remain injury problems for Jose Mourinho, who will welcome back Pepe and Sergio Ramos from midweek suspension. Both are expected to go straight back into the starting XI.

Questions have been raised over Karim Benzema’s midweek place on the bench, though with an excellent recent scoring record, the Frenchman does have a case to challenge for a starting berth against Emmanuel Adebayor and Gonzalo Higuain.

  • In the seven home matches since the halfway point of the season, Sevilla has picked up five wins and two draws.
  • When Sevilla last drew a league meeting with los Blancos, that result ensured that the capital side would finish the league in second place, and a similar result would likely have an identical effect.
  • At home against these opponents, Sevilla boasts a goals for average of 2.6 per game over the course of the last seven years.
  • Look for the hosts to make a quick start – 16 of their previous 20 goals against los Blancos at home have been struck in the opening 45 minutes.
  • Real Madrid has won five of its last six away matches on league duty. The other fixture was drawn.
  • This is not a place Iker Casillas enjoys visiting. Conceding on average 2.38 goals per game he plays at the venue, this is least successful stadium in that regard.
  • At the other end of the field, Karim Benzema has scored in six of his last seven league matches.
  • Strangely, when either Angel di Maria or Ricardo Carvalho has been absent this term, Real Madrid has won all four of its games.
  • Jose Mourinho’s side has a torrid record at this venue in recent times, losing five of its last seven and winning just once.
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