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Primera División

  • January 30, 2011
  • • 18:00
  • • Estadio El Sadar, Pamplona (Iruñea)
  • Referee: César Muñiz Fernández
  • • Attendance: 15000
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La Liga Preview: Osasuna - Real Madrid

La Liga Preview: Osasuna - Real Madrid

Los Blancos know they must overcome los Rojillos if they are to keep pace with Barcelona...

Cut Out The Errors

Times are tough for Osasuna, who have dropped alarmingly towards the relegation zone over the last two month. Jose Antonio Camacho has failed to lead his team to a single victory in eight matches, and though they have picked up a smattering of draws, these have not been enough to keep the Navarre side away from danger.

Defeat last weekend in Almeria was particularly damaging, lifting the southern side within touching distance of los Rojillos. Only one point better off than the teams in the drop zone, the pressure is truly mounting in the Basque region.

“We made mistakes that cost us expensively,” Camacho, a former Real Madrid boss, explained after last weekend’s reverse.

Nevertheless, there is a degree of optimism in the camp that something positive can be taken from the weekend’s fixture. “We’ll have more of a chance to beat Madrid than we did with Barcelona,” Javier Camanus told the press, referring to the recent 3-0 defeat given to his side by the league-leading Catalans. “We had our opportunities, but in the end there was a clear victory.”

Recent form dictates that los Rojillos approach this fixture as great underdogs, though the north eastern corner of Spain is never hospitable to los Blancos, and roared on by a partisan crowd, the hosts will carry an extra spring in their step for this extremely difficult fixture.

Keep On Winning


Real Madrid continue to cling gamely onto the coattails of Barcelona as they search for their first silverware in three seasons. Jose Mourinho’s men have maintained a startling pace throughout this campaign, but they haven’t quite been able to match the remarkable consistency of their Catalan rivals, who enjoy a four point advantage in La Liga.

Barca have also been able to kill off their Copa del Rey semi-final tie at the first attempt, something that los Blancos couldn’t quite do when they met Sevilla on Wednesday night at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. A fine goal from Karim Benzema gave los Merengues the edge, but a 1-0 lead is not decisive, even if they are going back to the Bernabeu, where Mourinho’s men have been flawless since the Portuguese took over.

“We had to be very careful against Sevilla because they are a good team with a lot of great offensive players,” Iker Casillas explained after the midweek success. “The important thing for us is winning. We will now have to turn our attention to the league and taking on Osasuna, and then think about the second leg of the tie.”

Only four times this season have los Blancos slipped in the league, and on each of these occasions they were playing away from home. Mallorca and Levante ground out early season draws against a Madrid side still fine tuning, but a recent 1-1 tie on the road against Almeria was a more concerning result, particularly since the southerners nearly snatched a win. There is no margin for error on Sunday.


TEAM NEWS

Osasuna


Sergio Fernandez suffered a knee problem last weekend, but an MRI scan earlier this week showed it to be relatively minor. He is a doubt for the weekend. Nacho Monreal, Ruper and Alvaro Cejudo are still out.

On the plus side for los Rojillos, Walter Pandiani has trained normally this week and should have a role to play. Javad Nekounam and Masoud Shojaei are back training after Asian Cup duty with Iran.

Real Madrid

Emmanuel Adebayor has indicated his desire to play in Sunday’s match after signing from Manchester City on loan this week. On the other hand, Mahamadou Diarra has been allowed to leave for Monaco.

In terms of injuries, los Blancos are again without Jerzy Dudek, Pepe and Gonzalo Higuain.


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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
-RicardoGoalkeeper
24DamiàDefender
4Miguel FlañoDefender
-SergioDefender
22NélsonDefender
6SorianoMidfielder
10Patxi PuñalMidfielder
18Javi CamuñasMidfielder
11CoroStriker
-PandianiStriker
9Carlos ArandaStriker
-Dejan LekicStriker
1Asier RiesgoGoalkeeper
15OierDefender
-JosetxoDefender
-MasoudMidfielder
9Kike SolaStriker
23Krisztian VadoczMidfielder
-Javier CallejaMidfielder
1AdànGoalkeeper
33Raúl Albiol Defender
2Ricardo CarvalhoDefender
17ArbeloaDefender
14Ezequiel GarayDefender
12Pedro LeónMidfielder
14Xabi AlonsoMidfielder
11Mesut ÖzilMidfielder
10Emmanuel AdebayorStriker
25Esteban GraneroMidfielder
22Ángel Di MaríaMidfielder
1Iker CasillasGoalkeeper
7C. RonaldoStriker
9Karim BenzemaStriker
6Lassana DiarraMidfielder
8KakáMidfielder
4Sergio RamosDefender
6Sami KhediraMidfielder
Players to Watch
Carlos Aranda
Carlos Aranda
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Goalkeeper Ricardo has been a key figure for Osasuna lately, helping them to earn what few points they have gathered in recent times. The 39-year-old was outstanding when los Rojillos lost only 1-0 against los Blancos earlier this season, but unquestionably his top performance of the campaign came against Getafe in early January, when los Azulones threw everything at him yet were unable to score. Another fine performance against a capital club would give Osasuna a chance.
Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Karim Benzema has been the decisive figure for Real Madrid in each of their last two fixtures and looked towards his best during Wednesday’s Copa del Rey success. The arrival of Emmanuel Adebayor has undoubtedly put the pressure on the Frenchman to perform, and over the course of the last week there has been a distinct improvement in his performances.
Prediction
This is a fixture Real Madrid can ill-afford to lose, and though they’ve had problems in the past against stuffy, defensive units when playing away from home, Jose Mourinho will find a way for his side to overcome Osasuna.

Editor's Prediction

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