Kick-off: Tuesday, November 10, 2009, 20:00 CET – Estadio Santiago Bernabeu
Since being humiliated by Alcorcon two weeks ago, Real Madrid have responded to the harsh criticism and understandably hostile fans by turning it up and finding a new gear.
With the rise in form has come some very favourable results as Los Blancos dispatched Getafe after being reduced to 10 men in the 27th minute. The Merengues were somewhat unlucky not to take more than a draw away from the San Siro in their Champions League clash with AC Milan, and dominated Atletico Madrid in the Derbi - a match whose 3-2 scoreline did not reflect how one-sided the game was in actuality.
But now, as a true measure of improvement, Madrid will again face Segunda B side Alcorcon with the hope of reversing the humiliating result of a fortnight ago. Los Blancos have effectively won back the support of their home fans with their past three performances and the Bernabeu crowd will be in full voice with the hope of running the Segunda B outfit right out town.
Does Lightning Strike The Same Place Twice?
In the biggest match of their history, Alcorcon did the unthinkable by beating the mighty Real Madrid by a 4-0 scoreline. However, playing in the Santiago Bernabeu is another thing altogether.
The Segunda B side will be encouraged by having destroyed Los Blancos two weeks ago, but such confidence will be very difficult to maintain before the throng of the Santiago Bernabeu - a venue a few Alcorcon players may have only seen from the outside.
There is no doubt that Madrid will be out for blood in this match, and with Alcorcon having only managed 1-1 draws in their past two matches against Segunda B competition, the strategy will likely be to sit back, packed tightly in defence, and hope to catch Los Blancos unaware on the counterattack.
November 07 v Atletico Madrid (A) WON 3-2 (Liga)
November 03 v AC Milan (A) DREW 1-1 (Champions League)
October 31 v Getafe (H) WON 2-0 (Liga)
October 27 v Alcorcon (A) LOST 4-0 (Copa del Rey)
October 24 v Sporting Gijon (A) DREW 0-0 (Liga)
November 08 v Cacereno (A) DREW 1-1 (Segunda B)
November 01 v UB Conquense (H) DREW 1-1 (Segunda B)
October 27 v Real Madrid (H) WON 4-0 (Copa del Rey)
October 24 v Racing Club Santander II (A) LOST 2-0 (Segunda B)
October 18 v Atletico Madrid II (H) LOST 2-1 (Segunda B)
The largest headline preceding this match actually has to do with who is not playing in it. After allegedly disrespecting Manuel Pellegrini in the Copa del Rey match two weeks ago, Guti has failed to make the squad list for the fourth consecutive game. The motivation behind the midfielder’s absence remains somewhat unclear, as Pellegrini has denied it is any form of punishment, bizarrely declaring that "Guti will return when he would like". However, it seems likely that Pellegrini is allowing Guti to understand that the egocentric Spaniard is not the centre of the team and that he must also put in the effort required by all to earn a spot in the squad.
In addition to Guti, Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso, Iker Casillas, Christoph Metzelder, and Royston Drenthe have not been included due to the coach’s decision.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-2-2): Dudek – Arbeloa, Albiol, Garay, Marcelo – Diarra, Gago – Granero, Van der Vaart, – Raul, Van Nistelrooy
Some members of the Alcorcon squad have admitted to being strong Real Madrid supporters, so in Tuesday’s match there will be some very giddy fans ready to take the pitch to face their favourite team. Having learned his trade in the Real Madrid youth ranks, Borja returns to the Spanish capital to take on his childhood team. After scoring two goals against Madrid two weeks ago, the striker has now scored six goals against his former club—the others came during his tenure with Leganes and Alicante.
Probable Starting XI (4-4-2): Juanma – Nagore, Lopez, Gomez, Anuarbe – Bejar, Sanz, More, Ernesto – Borja, Cascon
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Alcorcon – Juanma
Facing the mighty Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabeu, the Alcorcon goalkeeper will likely have his hands full. The Segunda B outfit will likely need number of strong saves along with visionary distribution from their goalkeeper in order complete the upset.
Real Madrid – Esteban Granero
With Kaka likely to be rested, Granero will take over the creative responsibilities in the midfield. The Madrid youth product has failed to see the pitch in the past three matches after a brilliant start to the season and 'El Pirata' will be very eager to play the hero and make his mark on such an important match.
Madrid have crashed out of the Copa del Rey far too early in seasons past and for the second consecutive year, they are in danger of falling to the hands of a Segunda B outfit. Los Blancos will be coming at Alcorcon with everything they have, but reversing a 4-0 deficit is a tall order and could prove to be too much of a hole out of which to climb. On the counterattack, the visitors will be looking to exploit the space that will be sure to open up in Madrid’s back line—especially if Los Blancos have not scored four by the opening minutes of the second half.
Real Madrid 3 - 1 Alcorcon
Cyrus C. Malek, Goal.com