Real Madrid’s faltering La Liga title defence continues on Saturday as they make a long trip to El Sadar to meet mid-table Osasuna.
It’s been a sluggish start to the new calendar year for the hosts, with last weekend’s drab 0-0 draw at Real Valladolid making it one league win in six since the turn of 2023 (D4, L1).
Since a 1-0 beating of Mallorca in mid-January, Jagoba Arrasate’s men have gone winless in four straight league outings (D3, L1), scoring a measly average of 0.5 goals per game in that span.
But a first European finish since 2005/06 remains on the cards as Los Rojillos start this round only three points off sixth-placed Rayo Vallecano, plus they may still have an alternate way into continental action.
Qualification for the Copa del Rey semi-finals shows Osasuna can still thrive on the big occasion, though they’re now up against a historically formidable opponent.
Playing catch-up on La Liga pacesetters Barcelona since the turn of 2023 has seen Madrid drop points every now and then, with Carlo Ancelotti’s side alternating between wins and losses on their last six league travels.
However, Los Blancos followed up a record-extending fifth FIFA Club World Cup triumph with a 4-0 demolition of lowly Elche in midweek league action, whittling down the distance on Barca to eight points.
A road to redemption is long and tumultuous, with room for error narrowed down to a bare minimum if the visitors are to defend the title for the first time in 15 years.
Winless in their last 15 encounters against Madrid in La Liga (D5, L10), Osasuna will be out to snap their longest run without beating Los Blancos in their top-flight history.
Los Rojillos have gone eight consecutive league H2Hs without winning (D3, L5) since a 1-0 victory in 2011, conceding at least three goals in three of their last four meetings at El Sadar.
Flying out of the traps is crucial for Osasuna as the lack of a ‘bounce-back’ ability has seen Arrasate’s team pick up a league second-low one point from trailing positions this season (D1, L6).
Karim Benzema slotted home a brace of penalties against Elche to overtake Raul as Madrid’s second-highest goalscorer in La Liga history with 230 goals.
Ancelotti will put his side’s fate in the Frenchman’s hands again on Saturday after Los Merengues registered their first scoring blank on the road this season on their last league visit to Mallorca (0-1).
One goal may not be enough to get the reigning La Liga champions over the line, as they’ve managed only four clean sheets on their 11 top-flight away trips in 2022/23.
Osasuna vs Real Madrid Potential Line-ups
Osasuna (4-3-3): Aitor Fernandez; Jon Moncayola, Aridane Hernandez, Unai Garcia, Manu Sanchez; Pablo Ibanez, Lucas Torro, Moi Gomez; Abde Ezzalzouli, Ante Budimir, Kike Garcia.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Thibaut Courtois; Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, Antonio Rudiger, David Alaba; Luka Modric, Aurelien Tchouameni, Dani Ceballos; Federico Valverde, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior.
How to Watch?
Osasuna vs Real Madrid, alongside all other Los Blancos’ fixtures, is available to watch online via live Real Madrid streaming.
Osasuna vs Real Madrid Prediction
Given the gap between Barcelona and Madrid, every match is a must-win for Los Blancos from now on.
We expect the visitors to take home three points, though it won’t be a straightforward task.
Osasuna could give Ancelotti’s team a hard time at El Sadar despite losing twice in their last three home league games (W1).
Osasuna 1-2 Real Madrid
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