Sevilla vs Real Madrid : La Liga Preview and Prediction
Real Madrid will face a stern test when they travel to lock horns with second-placed Sevilla at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan.
Zinedine Zidane's side will be looking to get back on track after the crushing 3-0 loss it suffered against Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League.
Los Blancos saw their Champions League campaign get off to a poor start, but a win will actually take them straight to the top of the La Liga table. And that is the case with their Andalusian opponents too.
Now managed by former Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui, Sevilla splashed the cash on a number of new signings.
They have made an impressive start to the new league campaign, winning three and drawing one of their four games to be second on 10 points.
Sevilla opened the season with back-to-back victories over Espanyol and Granada before sharing the spoils at home to Celta Vigo.
Los Rojiblancos then returned to winning ways last weekend in a 1-0 success away to Alaves.
It was Real Madrid who recorded a 2-0 win when the pair last clashed with each other back in January, but Sevilla have won each of their last four La Liga clashes with Madrid at their fortress of a stadium.
Indeed, not since May 2015 have the Los Blancos been able to take all three points in this particular fixture, when now-long-gone Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to singlehandedly win it 3-2 for Real.
Dating back to last season, the White and Reds have only conceded twice in their last six La Liga matches and Lopetegui will be confident of upsetting his former employers come Sunday night.
League form: WWDW
All said and done, it has not exactly been a disastrous start to the campaign for Madrid.
They have a positive record in the league this season with two wins and two draws from their four matches, and a similar result this weekend could well see them top the table heading into the next set of fixtures.
Los Blancos struggled past Levante in La Liga last weekend and are facing important few weeks ahead as they will welcome Osasuna in the league on Wednesday night before travelling to the Wanda Metropolitano to take on bitter rivals Atletico Madrid in the famed El Derbi.
Their Galactico signing, Eden Hazard, has had not the best of starts to his Madrid career owing to injury, and the Belgian star desperately needs to step forward as they are lacking inspiration in finishing off chances.
The alleged pressure on Zidane would only increase if the team were to suffer another poor result against Sevilla, who have looked strong this term.
It is worth noting that there is a set of serial winners at the Bernabeu. It might not look too good for the team at the moment, but a positive result this weekend would serve as a catalyst to a drastic change.
League form: WDDW
Javier Hernandez is pushing to start for Sevilla against his former club having netted in the mid-week Europa League fixture.
Ever Banega, Oliver Torres and Luuk de Jong should all start for the Andalusian club.
As for Madrid, Luka Modric and Isco are again expected to miss out. With Marcelo also being doubtful, summer arrival Ferland Mendy could continue at left-back.
The French manager will welcome back both Sergio Ramos and Nacho, who missed out against PSG through suspension.
Sevilla: Vaclik; Navas, Carlos, Carrico, Reguilon; Jordan, Fernando, Banega; Torres, Jong, Ocampos.
Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; James, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Hazard.
There is no question that Madrid have the potential to win at the Estadio Ramon this weekend, but Sevilla's home is a nightmare destination for visitors in general.
The defeat to PSG would have hurt the capital outfit, but Zidane and his boys might be in for another disappointing night.
Sevilla will go into the clash, fearing nothing and most probably, will play a very attacking brand of football.
That, in our opinion, should be enough for them to pick all three points and go top of the La Liga table.
SEVILLA 2:1 REAL MADRID