Oct 5, 2019 at 3pm UK
Real Madrid
Benzema (2'), Hazard (45'), Modric (61'), Rodriguez (92')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Machis (69' pen.), Duarte (77')

Preview: Real Madrid vs. Granada - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Real Madrid vs. Granada - prediction, team news, lineups: ID:373788: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Saturday's La Liga clash between Real Madrid and Granada, including team news and predicted lineups.
By , European Football Editor | 1mo

La Liga's two best performing teams in the opening seven matches of the 2019-20 campaign will lock horns at the Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon as Real Madrid welcome Granada.

Madrid currently top the pile with 15 points from their seven domestic fixtures this term, while Granada are just a point behind in second having made a brilliant start to the season.

Real Madrid

There are still plenty of underlying issues at the Bernabeu, but it is difficult to be too critical of Madrid considering that they have been the best performing side in La Liga this season. Indeed, four wins and three draws from their seven matches sees them top the table with 15 points.

Los Blancos are the only team in La Liga not to lose a match this season, while they have picked up four points from their last two away trips in Spain's top flight - recording an impressive 1-0 victory at Sevilla before drawing 0-0 with bitter rivals Atletico Madrid last weekend.

That said, just three points separate seventh-placed Athletic Bilbao from leaders Madrid, and therefore a couple of poor results in quick succession would quickly see Zinedine Zidane's side slip down the table.

It is shaping up to be a very interesting race for the title with both Barcelona and Atletico struggling for consistency in the early weeks. Many expected Barca to run away with the championship once again, but the Catalan giants have their own issues to solve over the coming months.

Despite Madrid's strong domestic form, they have struggled in the Champions League this season; a Paris Saint-Germain team without the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani beat them 3-0 in their group opener on September 18, before they were held by Club Brugge at the Bernabeu on Tuesday.

Brugge actually led 2-0 in the Spanish capital heading into the second period, but Sergio Ramos and Casemiro both scored to ensure that Zidane's side would at least claim a point. Madrid still have plenty of work to do in Group A, however, as they already trail section leaders PSG by five points.

It would be fair to say that Eden Hazard has struggled in the early weeks of the season, and it is getting to the point where Los Blancos need a big performance from the Belgium international. On paper, Madrid are certainly the favourites this weekend, but Granada have been really impressive over the last few weeks.

That said, the capital giants have won their last eight matches against Granada in Spain's top flight - keeping a clean sheet in six of those encounters. What's more, the 33-time Spanish champions have not conceded a single goal in La Liga since the middle of September when they shipped two goals against Levante.

Recent form: DDWWWD
Recent form (all competitions): WLWWDD


Granada have perhaps been the story of the season thus far, with Diego Martinez's side collecting 14 points from their first seven matches of the season to sit second. The Andalusian side have scored more goals (13) than Madrid (12) thus far, while only Villarreal (18) and Barca (16) boast a better offensive record at this stage.

Four wins, two draws and one defeat - that is how Granada have started the season; they opened with a spectacular 4-4 draw against Villarreal, before suffering a 1-0 home defeat to Sevilla in their second game.

Martinez's team have won four of their last five, however, including a 2-0 home victory over Barcelona on September 21. Ramon Azeez and Alvaro Vadillo scored the goals against the Spanish champions, and there is no question that it was a deserved win at the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes.

Granada had beaten Espanyol 3-0 and Celta Vigo 2-0 ahead of the Barca game, while they then drew with Real Valladolid before overcoming Leganes on home soil last weekend. There were suggestions that the team would struggle this season, but they are showing top-four form at the moment.

El Grana spent six straight seasons in Spain's top flight before being relegated at the end of the 2016-17 campaign. They finished 10th in the Segunda in 2017-18 but secured a return to La Liga by ending last season second behind Osasuna, who have only won one of their seven league games this term.

The Andalusian team have not actually finished higher than 15th in La Liga since claiming sixth in 1973-74. It is still very early in the campaign, but as mentioned above, Martinez's side have shown plenty of positives thus far.

There has not really been an outstanding goalscorer for Granada in the early weeks of the season, with a number of players chipping in, which is a good sign. Antonio Puertas is the leading scorer with three, while Roberto Soldado, Carlos Fernandez, Fede Vico, and Azeez are among those to have netted.

Granada will not face another of Spain's big three teams until the end of November when they take on Atletico, and therefore a positive result against Madrid this weekend would lead them nicely into a set of winnable fixtures over the next six weeks or so.

Recent form: LWWWDW

Team News

Madrid will be unable to call upon versatile defender Nacho until the latter stages of 2019 after the Spaniard damaged knee ligaments during the clash with Brugge.

Nacho has joined Marco Asensio and Ferland Mendy on the sidelines, with the former potentially out for the season due to a knee injury and the latter set to miss his fourth match in succession due to a groin complaint.

Marcelo made his return from a neck injury in Tuesday's Champions League clash, however, while Isco is pushing to be involved having recovered from his own injury problems.

Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez were both rested for the European tie - the former is expected to return to the starting XI this weekend with the latter potentially being named on the bench.

Thibaut Courtois had also been a doubt after being substituted against Brugge due to illness, but the Belgium international is expected to be available on Saturday afternoon.

As for Granada, full-back Quini and midfielder Vico are both unavailable for selection, while Alex Martinez, Yan Brice and Neyder Lozano are also unlikely to be involved at the Bernabeu.

Head coach Martinez has no fresh injury concerns from the win over Leganes last weekend, though, and the experienced Soldado is once again expected to lead the line against the club where he started his career.

Puertas has been in impressive scoring form from a wide position this season and will continue in the XI, meaning that Vadillo might have to accept a position on the bench once again.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Hazard, Benzema, Bale

Granada possible starting lineup:
Silva; Diaz, Duarte, Sanchez, Neva; Herrera, Montero, Azeez; Puertas, Soldado, Machis

Head To Head

The omens are not exactly terrific for Granada when considering that they have lost each of their last eight La Liga meetings with Madrid - including a 5-0 defeat on their last trip to the Bernabeu in January 2017.

Granada have not actually beaten Los Blancos in the league since February 2013, while their only ever win at the Bernabeu arrived in 1974.

The visitors will bring a five-match unbeaten run into this weekend's contest, but they have conceded at least twice in six of their last seven games against Madrid in all competitions.

We say: Real Madrid 2-1 Granada

This is a very, very tough game to call due to Granada's impressive form this season. Madrid struggled against Brugge on Tuesday night, but we do expect Zidane's side to just edge a tight match.

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last updated article - 2019-10-03 11:50:43:
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