Fresh from a triumphant FIFA Club World Cup tournament, Real Madrid return to La Liga duties on Wednesday to take on basement boys Elche at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema put on a show in Rabat as Los Blancos thumped AFC Champions League holders Al-Hilal 5-3 to win a record-extending fifth Club World Cup title on Saturday.
After adding another piece of silverware to their glittering trophy cabinet, Los Merengues go back to La Liga to whittle down a whopping 11-point deficit on table-topping Barcelona.
Xavi Hernandez’s side narrowly edged Villarreal 1-0 on Sunday night to strengthen their position at the summit, leaving Madrid with no room for error ahead of Elche’s visit to the capital.
It took the visitors 20 rounds into the 2020/23 La Liga campaign to finally get off the mark as Pere Milla’s hat-trick inspired Pablo Machin’s side to a 3-1 home victory over the Yellow Submarine last weekend.
However, Los Franjiverdes already have one foot in the Segunda Division, heading into this matchday as the only team in Spain’s top flight yet to hit double point digits this term (nine).
With 12 points separating them from 17th-placed Espanyol ahead of the kick-off, not even a share of the spoils on this daunting trip to Madrid would suffice for Elche’s faint hopes of securing survival.
Madrid’s triumph in Morocco may have done enough to alleviate the pressure on manager Carlo Ancelotti following his side’s underwhelming five-game league start to 2023 (W2, D1, L2).
But Los Merengues have failed to find the net twice in their last three La Liga outings (W1, D1, L1), including a dismal 1-0 defeat at mid-table Mallorca on the stroke of their Club World Cup exploits.
Elche’s visit to the Bernabeu bodes well for Madrid’s bid to return to winning ways, as they’ve gone unbeaten in their last 23 home H2Hs in La Liga (W19, D4), though this corresponding fixture in 2021/22 ended 2-2.
The abovementioned victory over Villarreal halted the joint-second longest run without a win from the start of a La Liga season (D6, L13), but it could be too little too late for Elche to think of a comeback.
If they’re to boost their fragile attempt to ensure survival, Los Franjiverdes must address a dire record on the road, as they’ve won none of their 12 away league matches since April 2022 (D3, L9).
Machin’s men have shown significant defensive woes on hostile turf this term, conceding a league-high 24 goals across their ten top-flight travels, including six on their three road trips since December’s resumption.
Real Madrid vs Elche Potential Line-ups
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Andriy Lunin; Dani Carvajal, Antonio Rudiger, David Alaba, Eduardo Camavinga; Luka Modric, Aurelien Tchouameni, Toni Kroos; Federico Valverde, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior.
Elche (3-4-3): Edgar Badia; Diego Gonzalez, Enzo Roco, Lisandro Magallan; Jose Angel Carmona, Raul Guti, Gerard Gumbau, Carlos Clerc; Ezequiel Ponce, Lucas Boye, Fidel.
How to Watch?
Real Madrid vs Elche, alongside all other Los Blancos’ fixtures, is available to watch online via live Real Madrid streaming.
Real Madrid vs Elche Prediction
Unless Elche pull off a major upset, this should be a routine assignment for the reigning La Liga champions, especially with Benzema fit and firing again.
Though the visitors are no strangers to scoring at the Bernabeu, we expect Madrid to walk away with a clear-cut win.
Real Madrid 3-1 Elche
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