Pressure Mounts on Zidane Making Copa Del Rey Win a Must
At the start of the season Real Madrid would have given little consideration to a Copa Del Rey clash with Leganes. But with their Liga challenge in tatters, the first leg of their quarter-final suddenly takes on real significance.
A shock defeat at home to Villarreal on Saturday left Real 19 points adrift of Barcelona in the Liga title race. Unless Barca re-enact the hare and the tortoise and fall asleep between now and May, there is zero chance of Madrid defending their title.
Real Madrid are not known for their patience with managers so whatever credit Zinedine Zidane earned for back-to-back Champions League wins and a Liga triumph last term has probably been lost.
As such, a trip to Leganes now means a lot. Leganes are sat in mid table in La Liga and look likely to stay up, meaning they can devote plenty of attention to the cup clash with Real.
The poser facing Zidane is how much focus does he give to the game. A defeat could be extremely costly to him, as president Florentino Perez would not take kindly to seeing his side humbled in the cup. But a busy period is looming, with the resumption of the Champions League next month, and he will want his big guns at full tilt for a meeting with Paris Saint-Germain.
Karim Benzema has been one of the big guns who has faltered this season, with injuries and loss of form impacting on the Frenchman’s play at the Santiago Bernabeu.
However, he has been passed fit to return to action against Leganes and it will be interesting to see how sharp he is. Zidane has kept unwavering faith in Benzema and in the manager’s hour of need, popping up with a goal in the cup could be just the tonic.
It is the furthest Leganes have ever been in the Copa Del Rey and they will treat a meeting with Real as if it was a final.
Leganes’ efforts this term have been based on solid defending. They have conceded 17 goals in La Liga, the joint third lowest in the division, and they are likely to adopt a disciplined style on Thursday.
With that in mind, and Real’s current struggles, don’t expect many goals. Real can be backed at 1.43 with 188BET for the win, while 2.02 is the price for there to be two or three goals in the match.
Terry Has Promotion with Aston Villa in His Sights
John Terry running out at Stamford Bridge, but not in the blue of Chelsea. That would be some sight. The veteran left the club last summer and turned down offers from other Premier League sides, citing a desire not to […]
Real Madrid on Edge as Cristiano Ronaldo Picks up Ankle Injury
The opposition will never openly talk positively about an injury to a rival team’s star man, but Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp would have had a keen eye on Cristiano Ronaldo limping off for Real Madrid in the Clasico with Barcelona […]
Delight for Liverpool as they Avoid Bayern and Real in Champions League Draw
Liverpool have been pulled out alongside AS Roma in the semi-finals of the Champions League, avoiding Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in the process. Facing Roma over two legs should hold no terrors to Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, following their win […]