Real Madrid vs Girona: Match preview

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Real Madrid will come up against Girona at the Santiago Bernabeu, in what is to be the most important fixture of the season so far. Both sides ended up drawing their last match against Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad, respectively.

Match details

Date: Saturday, 10th February 2024
Competition: La Liga
Matchday: 24
Time: 19:30 CEST
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu

Match preview

Real Madrid were on the verge of securing a 1-0 victory against their city rivals in their last league match, but Marcos Llorente had other plans as he netted a header in the final few seconds to end the game with a 1-1 scoreline.

Real Madrid put up a decent defensive show despite having 3 full-backs with just 1 natural center-back in the backline. Girona’s game against Real Sociedad ended in a stalemate which keeps them behind by two points in the title race.

The last time these two sides met was at the Montilivi Stadium where the Merengues steamrolled past their opponents in a comfortable 0-3 victory thanks to a brace from Jude Bellingham and a goal by Tchouamèni.

Since then Girona have been on a 15-game unbeaten run in the league even defeating FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid along the way.

The Catalan side has scored the most goals in La Liga so far with 52. The joint-highest goal scorer of the league, Artem Dovbyk missed the previous match due to an injury but returns to the squad for this game.

Defensively, Girona have been vulnerable, conceding 25 goals so far. Daley Blind, an important part of their defensive line has been suspended due to an accumulation of yellow cards. Their manager, Michel will not be on the sidelines as the Spaniard received a red card against Sociedad.

Carlo Ancelotti did not mention which goalkeeper will start but it is believed that it will be Andriy Lunin as the Ukrainian has been putting up a good show in recent games. However, the Italian was not so sure whether Antonio Rudiger would be able to return to the pitch for this game.

Still, Diario AS claims that the center-back pairing for the fixture will be Rüdiger and Tchouaméni. The Frenchman will play in that position due to Nacho’s absence who is out with a muscle overload. Dani Carvajal will captain the side, with Ferland Mendy expected to start as the left-back due to his defensive capabilities.

With such quality midfielders in the squad, it may be a dilemma for Ancelotti to choose from. Since Tchouaméni is starting in defense, his fellow countryman, Eduardo Camavinga may take his place in the midfield along with Toni Kroos and Fede Valverde. The same midfield started the previous fixture and had a great game.

Jude Bellingham has not scored in the past two games but has shown his quality in other ways, complimenting the midfield trio really well. The Englishman would want to replicate his previous performance against Girona and lead his team to another victory and continue their unbeaten run.

Vinícius was supposed to start the Madrid derby, but due to cervical issues, he did not return even later in the game. However, Ancelotti has assured that he is fit for the upcoming game. If all is well, he will partner up with Rodrygo upfront.

Goals have dried up for Rodrygo in particular, as his last goal came in the Spanish Super Cup final against FC Barcelona.

This match may not be the title decider since there would be 14 games left after this, but a win here for either side would take them closer to the title – especially Real Madrid who would gain a 5-point lead over the Catalan side.

A win here would put the European giants in the driver’s seat and they would breathe easy, before shifting their attention to the round of 16 1st leg against RB Leipzig in the Champions League.

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