Real Madrid will look to maintain the pressure on neighbours Atletico Madrid and keep their La Liga title defence alive when they host Levante on Saturday at 3.15pm (UK time).
Zinedine Zidane’s men have endured a difficult start to the New Year so far, suffering elimination from the Supercopa de Espana to eventual winners Athletic Bilbao and an early exit from the Copa de Rey to third-tier Alcoyano, as well as a draw to relegation-threatened Osasuna in La Liga.
The reigning champions comprehensively thrashed Alaves last time out, but must now continue that form against Levante if they are to mount a genuine title defence and pile the pressure on rivals Atleti, who lead the charge by seven points, and with a game in hand.
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Where to watch Real Madrid vs Levante on TV:
- UK: LaLigaTV
- US: beIN SPORTS
Scoreline prediction: Real Madrid 2-0 Levante
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Real Madrid vs Levante build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
It has been a testing month for Zidane, whose position looked untenable following consecutive eliminations from domestic cups, including that humiliating defeat to 10-man Alcoyano. However, they remain in second, albeit quite a distance from leaders Atleti, and recently completed a 4-1 win over Alaves.
Levante meanwhile have had a pretty nondescript season. Paco Lopez’s men are just five points from the relegation zone, but have only suffered two defeats in their last 14 La Liga games, including five successive draws between late October and November. The Frogs are currently unbeaten in three and will be itching to avenge the 2-0 loss suffered at the hands of the champions in October.
- Real Madrid (vs Alavez): Courtois; Vazquez*, Militao, Varane, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Asensio, Hazard, Benzema.
- Levante (vs Valladolid): Cardenas; Coke, Postigo, Vezo, Tono; Melero, Malsa, Son, Bardhi, Rochina; Leon.
Federico Valverde, Sergio Ramos and Rodrygo remain out of action for Real, with the latter suffering a hamstring tear last month and not expected back until the end of March. Nacho Fernandez is also a major doubt for Zidane, while Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez are expected to sit this one out. Levante meanwhile are without Jose Campana.
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Players to watch:
- Real Madrid: Karim Benzema has really stepped up this season and has already racked up an impressive 10-goal tally in La Liga, placing him joint-third in the overall race for top-scorer bragging rights. The Frenchman has netted 21 La Liga goals in each of the last two seasons and is very much on track to mirror those prolific exploits for a third season running. And in the capital on Saturday he should add to that tally. Against Levante, the 33-year-old has been directly involved in six goals across his last six La Liga games (four goals, two assists), including a brace in his last appearance at home against them in the competition.
- Levante: This will not be an easy game for the visitors by any stretch of the imagination. They will need to suppress the midfield dominance of Zidane’s world class trident (Modric-Casemiro-Kroos) if they are to get a foothold in the game and stand a chance. In Mickael Malsa, Lopez has a dynamic and enterprising midfield enforcer capable of breaking up play and disrupting Real’s rhythm. The Parisian has attempted more tackles than any Levante player in La Liga this season (45) and registered more interceptions (28), while he has also completed the most accurate short passes (573), making him an all-round combatant capable of countering Real’s formidable midfield three.
La Liga 2020/21 recent form:
- Real Madrid: WDWDW
- Levante: DDWLW
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