Real Madrid - Sevilla Preview: First faces fourth at the Bernabeu
Image credit: theguardian.com

Real Madrid and Sevilla will finally play their game in hand at the Bernabeu on Wednesday evening. The sides were due to meet in the last weekend before the winter break but the game was postponed as Real were participating in the FIFA Club World Cup.

This game will be a huge one for both sides and also for their rivals as they will be able to look at the league table and see exactly where everyone stands on a level playing field. A Real win would see them move four points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga or a Sevilla win would see them move four clear of Valencia in fourth place and just two behind Atletico Madrid in third.

Real have come back well after losing back to back games to Valencia and Atletico at the start of January with four league wins in a row. Their home record has been very impressive this season losing only to Atletico and winning their other eight home league games.

Once again Real will be without Cristiano Ronaldo who is serving the second game of his suspension for a red card against Cordoba and he will join Luka Modric and Pepe in the stands. Carlo Ancelotti has said he will play his strongest side despite the trip to the Calderon on Saturday afternoon and also confirmed that new signing Lucas Silva will be on the bench.

Sevilla come into the game in relatively good form having lost just one of their last eight league games and Unai Emery's side will be targeting a place in next seasons Champions League. A win here would be a huge boost and would even put pressure on Atletico in the third and final place in next years group stages.

Sevilla will be without Nico Pareja, Ever Banega, Benoit Tremoulinas, Jose Reyes and Kevin Gameiro who haven't made the match day squad but Los Rojiblancos will be boosted by the news Beto and Grzegorz Krychowiak have made the squad.

These sides have already met this season in the European Super Cup in Cardiff. On that occasion Cristiano Ronaldo was the difference, scoring twice in Real's 2-0 win. Real will believe they have enough in reserve to beat Sevilla without Ronaldo but Sevilla will feel the Portuguese stars absence improves their chances of an upset. Both sides have a lot at stake and if they play to their full potential the game will be one not to be missed.

Probable Teams

Real Madrid - Casillas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Isco, Illarramendi, Kroos, James; Bale, Benzema.

Sevilla - Beto; Coke, Arribas, Carrico, Navarro; M'bia, Krychowiak; Vidal, Deulofeu, Suarez; Bacca.

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