Close this search box.
Close this search box.

La Liga: Real Madrid entertain Elche needing three points (preview)

Madrid (Spain), Feb 14 (IANS) Real Madrid have the chance to cut the gap with FC Barcelona at the top of La Liga to eight points when they entertain Elche on Wednesday night.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side go into the match after defeating Egyptian outfit Al Ahly and Al Hilal from Saudi Arabia to be crowned as the World Club Champions in Rabat, Morocco last week.

Ancelotti still has a doubt over the fitness of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who missed the World Club Cup with a groin injury and Andriy Lunin will probably continue in goal.

Karim Benzema will be in the side after playing against Al Hilal after his slight muscle problem, and Eder Militao will probably be back after the injury. Militao’s return could mean Antonio Rudiger dropping to the bench after a shaky performance on Saturday, or Rudiger could keep his place with David Alaba moving to left back instead of Eduardo Camavinga.

Although his side won the World Club Cup final 5-3, Ancelotti will want to tighten up in defense as Real Madrid left a lot of spaces at the back on Saturday against the Saudi Arabian outfit.

Lucas Vazquez and Ferland Mendy are both injured for the game and Vinicius Jr will also miss out through suspension after completing a cycle of five yellow cards. His absence will allow Rodrygo to start on the left of the attack, with Benzema in the centre and either Marco Asensio or Fede Valverde on the right.

Elche travel to Madrid rock bottom of La Liga with just nine points and one win all season. That win came in their last league match at home to Villarreal, and they have improved slightly since Pablo Machin arrived as a coach, with five of their nine points coming in their last four matches.

With a home match against struggling Espanyol on Sunday, there is a chance that Machin could rest some key players on Wednesday with a view to the weekend, but Elche’s situation doesn’t allow them to risk any points no matter how difficult it looks.