Winless in their last two La Liga fixtures, Real Madrid will aim to return to winning ways in the Spanish top-flight when they make the trip to Real Betis on Sunday night. Los Blancos already find themselves 10 points adrift of leaders Barcelona – who welcome Eibar to Camp Nou on Sunday – and need a convincing win to maintain a respectable position in La Liga.
Here are three things to look forward to from Madrid’s trip to Betis.
3. Betis Look to Gain Momentum
Having finished in sixth in La Liga, last season, Quique Setien’s kicked off the campaign as one of the most exciting teams in the division. After 18 games, they find themselves placed seventh in the division, just four points of the European champions.
Betis have only won one of their last five outings in all competitions, but their performances haven’t really been than disappointing. Madrid’s inconsistent showings make this an interesting contest for the hosts, who, most certainly, will fancy themselves having a go at their lofty rivals.
2. Solari’s Hopeless State
Following Julen Lopetegui’s departure, former Castilla boss, Santiago Solari, was appointed to turn the club’s fortunes for good. He started his reign in the best possible manner, but the last few weeks have once again been disappointing for the Whites.
Having picked up only a point from their last two La Liga games, against Villarreal and Real Sociedad, respectively, Los Blancos face the possibility of being 13 points adrift of Barcelona by the time they take to the field on Sunday.
So far, Solari hasn’t found a way to make Real Madrid play on the front foot; but if he wishes to remain in charge even after the current campaign, he must.
1. Navas and Isco’s Chance to Impress
Keylor Navas and Isco were crucial members of Zinedine Zidane’s record-shattering squad. However, this season, they have lost their place and importance in the team, having been reduced to sporadic appearances off the bench and ‘unimportant’ cup ties.
First-choice goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois’ injury and Lucas Vazquez’s suspension have opened new avenues for these two fallen stars. Betis are expected to be a tough nut to crack, and the duo will surely get their fair share of chances to make their mark.