How Real Madrid should line up against Las Palmas
The international break is now over, and players have returned to their respective clubs. Subsequently, league football resumes this week, and Real Madrid will have to travel to Gran Canaria to take on Las Palmas in their Matchday 30 clash in La Liga.
Los Blancos currently sit 3rd in La Liga, 4 points behind second-placed Atletico Madrid, and are expected to go into this game all guns blazing in a bid to reduce the deficit.
Meanwhile, Las Palmas find themselves languishing at 18th place on the table, with just 21 points from 29 games.
With hopes of survival in Spain's top-flight becoming a distant dream, manager Paco Jémez will hope to instil some spirit in his side, who will look to finish the season with some dignity.
Paco Jemez on his side and their chances against Madrid
“This is the worst team that I’ve ever managed. 95% of the responsibility is mine as the players assembled here are not equal and they are not able to take in my messages and demands of them.
"On Saturday we face Real Madrid and Zidane is going to put out a team who want to win and win well, and it’s going to be a massive test.”
Zinedine Zidane on Isco
“I am not unfair to Isco. He is happy, maybe he doesn’t have the same role here, but I have shown to him that he is an important player for the team. I’m happy for the performance he had against Argentina”
- Las Palmas have not won in their last six league games against Real Madrid (two draws and four defeats), conceding an average of 3.33 goals per game.
- Paco Jemez has lost all eight of his league games against Real Madrid, with seven goals scored and 32 conceded, all of them coming as Rayo Vallecano coach.
- Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in six consecutive La Liga games for the first time since November 2014 (11). The Portuguese superstar has netted 14 goals in his last six appearances in the competition
- The last Las Palmas victory against Real Madrid in La Liga came on 3 October 2001 (4-2). Current Blancos boss Zidane scored for Real in that match.
Paco Jemez's side will be forced to take the field without the services of injured defender Pedro Bigas, and midfielder Gabriel Penalba. Further, the Nigerian pairing of Oghenekaro Etebo and Emmanuel Emenike are also set to miss out.
Apart from injured 19-year-old Achraf Hakimi, Zinedine Zidane will almost have his full squad to choose a starting XI from. The only other Madrid star sure to be left out is Dani Carvajal, who is currently serving a ban after picking up his 10th booking of the season during Madrid's match against Girona.
The most notable names expected to be missing, however, is that of Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo, who are expected to be given a break ahead of Los Blancos' UEFA Champions League encounter against Juventus.
How Real Madrid should line up
Starting XI: Keylor Navas (GK); Theo Hernandez, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Nacho; Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Luka Modric; Isco, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale