Real Madrid vs Sporting Gijon: Preview, TV Channel Info, Team News, Prediction, Betting Odds
Third placed Real Madrid take on 18th placed Sporting Gijon on Sunday
Real Madrid welcome the promoted Sporting Gijon to the Santiago Bernabeu as they look to avenge the opening day embarrassement they suffered at the hands of the Asturian minnows. Los Blancos were held to a goalless draw in the league opener at El Molinon by a spirited Gijon side as they announced their return to the Spanish top flight in an encouraging fashion.
Gijon were touted to be the next big thing in the league thereafter, only to plunge into the relegation zone with each passing game. Just four wins from the first 19 games of the season sees Abelardo Fernandez’s side languish 18th in the table with 15 points, tied with Rayo Vallecano in the battle for survival.
The hosts for this game, meanwhile, are aiming to build on their Deportivo demolition and continue the fine start under new manager Zinedine Zidane. The French legend took over the sacked Rafael Benitez last week and oversaw the things for the first time from the dugout as his side clinically dispatched the hapless Galician outfit.
As ‘Zizou’ prepares for his second test in the shape of Gijon, we delve into the details of the game.
Kickoff and Live Telecast
Date and Time: 17 January 2016, 20:30 PM (IST)
Telecast: Sony Six, Sony Six HD
Venue: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Real Madrid will have Mateo Kovacic back in contention after missing out on Zidane’s first game against Deportivo, whilst the new manager has also called upon a few Castilla players such as Martin Odegaard, Bojan Mayoral, Carlos Abad and Marcos Llorente. Skipper Sergio Ramos and Welsh talisman Gareth Bale both missed the training sessions on Wednesday, but the former has reportedly picked up a minor knock on the calf muscle and remains a doubt for the clash.
Sporting Gijon will make their way to the Spanish capital without Sergio Alvarez and Bernardo Espinosa due to injury. Espinosa is likely to miss the remainder of the season and Jorge Mere will be holding the fort at the heart of the defence in his absence. Omar Mascarell will also be sidelined as he is prohibited from playing against his parent club.
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Modric, Kroos; Ronaldo, Isco, Bale; Benzema
Sporting Gijon (4-2-3-1): Cuellar; Lora, Hernandez, Mere, Lopez; Cases, Rachid; Halilovic, Ndi, Jony; Sanabria
Real Madrid made a bright start to the Zidane era after they thumped Deportivo with 5 unanswered goals at home. A nervy 2-2 draw at Valencia the week before led to the ouster of the much maligned Rafa Benitez, making way for the former France and Real Madrid stalwart at the hotseat.
Blancos appeared happier under him. Against Depor, they were more dynamic, more free-flowing, worked more as a cohesive unit. The mood in the Madrid camp has improved slightly since the Spaniard’s departure, and may continue the flying start under their new boss.
Last 5 matches: L-W-W-D-W (Last result: Real Madrid 5-0 Deportivo La Coruna)
Sporting Gijon managed to pull off a shocker when they held Real to a 0-0 draw at El Molinon on matchday one. But the skies have turned grey thereafter. Just four victories and 11 defeats in the next 18 games has left the club in a lurch, staring at a possibility of getting back into the Segunda Division sooner than they would have expected.
Moreover, they have scored just once in their last four games, having one of the worst attacking records in the league with only 16 goals at the halfway stage.
Last 5 matches: L-D-L-L-L (Last result: Villareal 1-0 Sporting Gijon)
- Real Madrid have scored 30 times in their last 5 home games.
- Sporting Gijon have lost 8 of their last 10 games in all competitions.
- Sporting stunned Real at the Bernabeu when they won 0-1 in the 2010/11 season. That’s their only victory there in the last 20 years.
- Real Madrid have lost just one of their last 27 league games at home.
- Sporting Gijon have lost each of their last 4 visits to Madrid in La Liga.
‘BBC’ vs Sporting Gijon defence
Real Madrid’s biggest threat will obviously stem through their mercurial attacking trident of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, who have accrued a league high of 40 goals between them. The trio have clicked into gear once again and are restoring their status as one of the best and most fierce attacking partnerships in European football.
The visitors’ defence could be forgiven for imagining themselves being slaughtered when they go against them. Sporting’s backline has leaked 29 goals thus far. Only three teams – Granada, Rayo Vallecano, Levante – have shipped in more. It doesn’t make for a good reading, especially against an attacking force that has belted the league minnows black and blue.
Sporting’s valiant showing in the 0-0 stalemate on matchday one now appears a mere false dawn and a repeat of the same feat seems high unlikely when the sides meet again. Real Madrid, on the other hand, have been flat-track bullies this season, trampling over low-profile teams. Also, they did not have the midweek Copa Del Rey shenanigans to deal with. So the home side get into action after a good 7-day break.
Predicted score: Real Madrid 4-0 Sporting Gijon
Betting Odds (bet365)
Real Madrid – 1/20
Draw – 16/1
Sporting Gijon – 25/1