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Primera División

  • February 19, 2011
  • • 19:00
  • • Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
  • Referee: José Antonio Teixeira Vitienes
  • • Attendance: 60000
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La Liga Preview: Real Madrid - Levante

La Liga Preview: Real Madrid - Levante

Los Blancos will try and shut the gap on Barca further when they meet los Granotes...


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Good Week

Hope springs eternal for Real Madrid, who will have been very encouraged by the tribulations of Barcelona over the course of the last week, which have allowed los Blancos to regain a fingerhold in the race for the Spanish crown.

After la Blaugrana had erred against Sporting de Gijon, it was of vital importance that los Blancos took full advantage, and they did just that by edging a fading Espanyol side 1-0 at the Cornella-El Prat. Iker Casillas may have been dismissed seconds after the opening whistle, but the loss of the goalkeeper didn’t equate to a loss of points as a goal from Marcelo proved enough for Jose Mourinho’s men.

There was to be no Champions League action last midweek for Madrid, but that does mean they’ll have to prepare themselves for a Tuesday meeting with Olympique Lyonnais; a side who have historically caused los Blancos more problems than any other.

While Mourinho will view the pursuit of the club’s illusive 10th Champions League crown as being of vital importance, the league will certainly not be overlooked by the Portuguese boss, who is noted for his craving of every success possible.

Over the course of the last seven days, some momentum has swung back in favour of the capital side, and they must take advantage of it while Barca are rocking.

On A Roll Again

Levante are a side who have played in fits and starts all season, and that trend has continued over the course of recent weeks. After a woeful run of five successive losses, Luis Garcia’s unit have since rediscovered their winning touch and have pieced together a very useful run of three successive wins, which have pulled them away from the drop zone.

Home successes against Getafe and Almeria were rather impressive, but it’s the 1-0 success away to Villarreal that was the real headline-grabber. It would take an even more remarkable achievement for them to overcome Real Madrid on Saturday evening, particularly after losing 8-0 to the same opponents in the Copa del Rey earlier this season.

“It's league match; it is something else and hopefully the result will not be repeated,” Felipe Caicedo confirmed to Marca. “This time the Madrid will be very different from what we experienced in Copa. We have to go out with the rage from the 8-0 game we will not forget.”

While los Granotes have been capable of stringing a number of positive results together from out of the blue, they’ve also been capable of the great defensive collapse, as captured most spectacularly by their last visit to the Bernabeu. Luis Garcia’s side will have to be mentally as well as physically ready if they’re to gain some kind of respectability on this occasion.


TEAM NEWS

Real Madrid


Iker Casillas’ suspension has been upheld by the league’s disciplinary committee, so third choice goalkeeper Adan will start due to the ongoing injury problems of Jerzy Dudek. Gonzalo Higuain is los Blancos’ other main concern.

Sergio Ramos was omitted from the starting XI last weekend amid rumours of a fall-out with Jose Mourinho.

Levante

The Valencia side have a number of selection problems heading into the weekend’s fixture. Miguel Pallardo, Sergio Gonzalez and Gorka Larrea are all injured, and experienced defender Javi Venta is suspended.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1AdànGoalkeeper
12MarceloDefender
2Ricardo CarvalhoDefender
33Raúl Albiol Defender
4Sergio RamosDefender
7C. RonaldoStriker
6Sami KhediraMidfielder
8KakáMidfielder
6Lassana DiarraMidfielder
22Ángel Di MaríaMidfielder
9Karim BenzemaStriker
14Xabi AlonsoMidfielder
5Fernando GagoMidfielder
10Emmanuel AdebayorStriker
25Jerzy DudekGoalkeeper
11Mesut ÖzilMidfielder
17ArbeloaDefender
14Ezequiel GarayDefender
-Gustavo MunúaGoalkeeper
-Asier Del HornoDefender
7NanoDefender
18BallesterosDefender
2CerraDefender
12Juan García GarcíaDefender
10IborraMidfielder
-Xavi TorresMidfielder
23ValdoMidfielder
9Felipe CaicedoStriker
-XiscoMidfielder
-Wellington SilvaStriker
-Xisco NadalStriker
-Jefferson Antonio MonteroMidfielder
-Rubén SuárezMidfielder
1Manolo ReinaGoalkeeper
8JuanluMidfielder
Players to Watch
Mesut Özil
Mesut Özil
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 11
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Mesut Oezil is key when it comes to breaking down packed defences. The German playmaker is an astute passer and possesses great vision, allowing him to feed the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Emmanuel Adebayor. He won’t score a heap of goals himself, but his assists are his main asset.
Felipe Caicedo
Felipe Caicedo
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Felipe Caicedo is in the kind of form that could trouble Real Madrid if he’s given a chance in front of goal. The on-loan Manchester City striker has been in-and-out of the team this season due to injuries and suspensions, but he’s found his best level and has registered three goals in his last three Liga matches, taking his season’s total to nine.
Prediction
This is the kind of encounter that should pose Real Madrid few problems. Jose Mourinho will have his men fully focussed on the task at hand, and Levante should be rolled over without too much fuss.
Editor's Prediction

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