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Sep 25, 2019 at 8pm UK at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (Madrid)
Attendance: 57,520
Real Madrid
Junior (36'), Rodrygo (72')
FT(HT: 1-0)

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

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's La Liga clash between Real Madrid and Osasuna at the Bernabeu, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

In theory, the second of Real Madrid's three La Liga matches in six days should be their least difficult, as newly-promoted Osasuna visit the Bernabeu on Wednesday night.

On Madrid's current uncertain form, though, Osasuna's unbeaten start to the season, including a draw with Barcelona in which they held the lead for almost half the game, could cause some concern.

Setting hosts unbeaten at home against visitors with three wins and a draw on their travels so far this season, this is an intriguing contest for both clubs.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema celebrates scoring against Sevilla in La Liga on September 22, 2019© Reuters

This has been a curious start to the season for Madrid, who have been largely unconvincing since sweeping to a 3-1 victory at Celta Vigo in their opening match.

Draws against Valladolid and Villarreal were followed up by a needlessly nervy 3-2 win at home to Levante, when the visitors threatened to cancel out a 3-0 half-time deficit by scoring twice in half an hour after the interval.

If that was a warning sign, worse was to follow when coach Zinedine Zidane returned to Paris with his squad for the opening match of their Champions League season.

The 3-0 scoreline did not flatter Paris Saint-Germain, giving Zidane a far grimmer night than he is used to at the Parc des Princes and demonstrating how far his expensively-assembled players are from achieving the cohesion they have lacked for some time.

Although Madrid have plenty of time to improve and emerge from a group also containing the lesser threats of Club Brugge and Galatasaray, the ease with which PSG won has intensified questions in Spain around the direction they are going in.

Many critics perhaps justifiably felt that a forward line containing Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard and Karim Benzema should have provided more of a spark against an inferior squad.

Benzema, fortunately for Madrid, has found his form in La Liga this season, scoring five times already to average more than a goal every 90 minutes.

The France forward's second-half header at Sevilla on Sunday allowed Madrid to leapfrog their opponents and draw level with Athletic Bilbao at the top of La Liga.

Recent form: WDDWW
Recent form (all competitions): WDDWLW


Osasuna players celebrate Roberto Torres's goal against Barcelona in La Liga on August 31, 2019© Reuters

Osasuna have kept clean sheets in three of those matches, as well as showing spirit and resilience to salvage a point at Valladolid, where they recovered to level with nine minutes left after the home side established a second-half lead with their only shot on target of the game.

They also scored in the 81st minute against Barcelona, when Roberto Torres scored the second of two goals against the title-holding visitors to cancel out an Arthur Melo goal and ensure a share of the points.

Torres' seventh-minute opener had given Osasuna a lead they held until six minutes after the break, when Barca prodigy Ansu Fati equalised.

Coach Jagoba Arrasate rated their performance on Friday, when they drew 0-0 at home to Real Betis, as their best of the season so far.

Osasuna had the better of the scoring chances and were frustrated to finish with only a point, but the coach credited his players with showing consistent improvement from one match to the next.

Sitting in 10th position, their form so far suggests they have a much better chance of making an impact on the division than they did in their relegation season of 2016-17, when they finished 19th.

Originally down in 2014, they have had a turbulent, often-exciting five years since, including promotion through the playoffs in 2016.

That draw with Barca was only the second time in 15 matches that Osasuna have conceded more than once. They are also 16 without defeat and have lost only one of their last 13 away games.

Recent form: WDDDD

Team News

Luka Modric warms up for Real Madrid on July 30, 2019© Reuters

Madrid's injury and suspension problems are slighter than they have been in recent weeks, although they are still lacking the midfield ingenuity of Luka Modric, who has a thigh problem.

Isco is also absent from their engine room, although the club's own injury updates over the last few weeks have uniformly suggested that the Spain playmaker is nearing a return from his hamstring problem.

The neck injury that kept Marcelo out of the disastrous trip to France could see Ferland Mendy continue at left-back.

Madrid's only definite long-term injury victim is Marco Asensio, the winger who is uncertain to play again this season because of a serious knee problem.

Osasuna had no new faces in their treatment room following the goalless draw with Betis, returning to training on Saturday with the same quartet of absentees they had beforehand.

The most serious of those is right-winger Kike Barja, who is not expected to be available until the latter stages of the season because of a knee injury.

Long-serving defender Unai Garcia has a similar problem but is further down the line in his rehabilitation effort, with an expected return date in November.

In midfield, Inigo Perez has a toe injury and Darko Brasanac has a knee problem, but the club has reported that both are progressing well with their recoveries.

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

Osasuna possible starting lineup:
Joel; Mandi, Pedraza, Bartra, Royal; Garcia, Fekir, Juanmi, Guardado; Iglesias, Canelas

Head To Head

Madrid have won 15 of the 21 Liga matches between these sides, with Osasuna's only win inside the last 10 years being a 1-0 win in 2011.

The favourites beat Osasuna 7-1 at home and 5-1 away the following season, but their opponents will have fond memories of a famous victory at the end of the 2008-09 season.

Entering the final day of the season in the relegation zone, Osasuna came from behind to win 2-1 and secure safety.

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We say: Real Madrid 2-1 Osasuna

Madrid cannot continue being as inexplicably ineffectual as they have often appeared in recent weeks, particularly with the addition of Hazard, whose key quality is the ability to torment otherwise sturdy defences.

By that logic, Osasuna's fine run must end at some point. Should they trouble Madrid, it will be a real indicator of their potential to do more than finish comfortably clear of the relegation zone.


Who will win Wednesday's La Liga match between Real Madrid and Osasuna?

Real Madrid
Real Madrid
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Real Madrid's Gareth Bale battles Paris Saint-Germain's Juan Bernat during their Champions League clash on September 18, 2019
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rhs 2.0
2Real Madrid27168349193056
4Real Sociedad27144945331246
6Atletico MadridAtletico271112431211045
10Athletic Bilbao2791082923637
12Real Betis2789103843-533
15Real Valladolid27611102333-1029
17Celta Vigo27511112234-1226

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