Real Madrid vs Alaves preview: Can Madrid go one step closer to the title?
Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid celebrates his goal with teammates during the Liga match between Deportivo Alaves and Real Madrid CF at Estadio de Mendizorroza on November 30, 2019 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

Real Madrid will be looking to collect their eighth consecutive win since the restart when they face Alaves at the Santiago Bernabeu.

With just four games remaining, Los Blancos' sit one point above historic rivals Barcelona in the La Liga table, having played one game less. 

A win tonight would put them four points clear at the top of the table, and a step closer to their first league title since the 2016-17 season. With a favourable run of fixtures, with only one of their remaining games coming against a side in the top nine positions, the league is very much in their hands. 

Alaves, who are battling at the other side of the table, are just three points above the relegation zone and have won just two games on the road all season. 

Since the restart, the Babazorros' have struggled, collecting just three points out of their last 7 games (W1, L7), boasting the equal worst points haul since the leagues restart in June (level with Espanyol). 

Things don't get much easier for the away side, with three of their last four fixtures currently coming against sides residing in the top six, with matches against Getafe and Barcelona sandwiching their tie against 13th placed Real Betis. 

The absence of Sergio Ramos 

Defenders are not usually known for their goalscoring prowess, but Madrid captain Ramos, who will miss the game through suspension, goes against the conventional mould.

The Spanish defender has scored in five of his sides last eight matches, with his contributions obtaining the current leaders an extra six points in that time.

The 34-year-old, who has scored in each of the last 16 La Liga seasons, has also overtaken Ronald Koeman's 67 league goals, scoring 71. 

Arguably, two of his most important goals came in the previous two fixtures, where the former Sevilla man was the difference in back-to-back 1-0 victories. 

Since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Italian giants Juventus, Ramos has taken the role as penalty taker. His emphatic record from the spot speaks for itself, scoring all of his last 22 penalties for both club and country. 

The Spanish giants will also miss his defensive solidity, with the Spaniard contributing towards their five clean sheets since the restart. 

Previous Meeting

The last time these sides met, it was Real Madrid who ran out victorious.

After a slow first-half, where neither side challenged the opposition goal, it was Ramos who gave the visitors the lead.

The Spaniard got on the end of a Toni Kroos free-kick, guiding his header into the bottom left corner.

Just 10 minutes later, Alaves had a way back into the game, with goal scorer Ramos elbowing former Newcastle striker Joselu inside the box.

Lucas Perez took the penalty, sending Alphonse Areola the wrong way and smashing the ball into the bottom right corner.

The homes sides resistance did not last long, with Dani Carjaval restoring the lead just four minutes later.

Luka Modric’s cross found the head of Isco, whose effort was parried to the feet of the defender, tapping home from just a yard out.

The victory for Los Blancos’ sent them to the top of La Liga, three points above Barcelona, having played one game more.

Team News

As said previously, Ramos will be missing the upcoming game through suspension, with right-back Carvajal missing out for the same reason.

According to reports in Spain, it is also likely that Luka Jovic will miss the game as he is currently isolating,  with Nacho Fernandez also sidelined through injury. 

However, Madrid will be boosted by the return of Rahel Varane, who missed their match against Bilbao through a neck problem, with Zinedine Zidane also confirming that Eden Hazard will return to action.

Marcelo may also be absent after training alone on Thursday.

Alaves have two injury problems, with goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco and Ruben Duarte both missing out.

Predicted Line-ups

Real Madrid: Courtois, Mendy, Militao, Varane, Vazquez, Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos, Isco, Bezema, Junior.

Alaves: Roberto, Navarro, Laguardia, Magallan, Aguirregabrira, Camarasa, Pina, Rioja, Mendez, Perez, Burke.