La Liga Game of the Week Preview – Real Madrid vs. Sevilla

Friday, January 18th, 2019

By Jonathan Willis
Real Madrid vs. Sevilla

Two La Liga heavyweights will square off this Saturday when Real Madrid hosts Sevilla. Both teams are sitting on 33 points, and they are tied for third place at the halfway point of the season. When they squared off at the end of September, it was all Sevilla. Sevilla were up 3-0 at halftime and cruised to a win from there. That gives them the tiebreaker edge against Real Madrid in the standings, and Real Madrid are out to even things up with a win.

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Real Madrid vs. Sevilla

  • Date and Time: January 19, 2019, 10:15 a.m. ET
  • Location: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
  • US Television Coverage: beIN Sports
  • Betting Line: Real Madrid -0.5 and -1, O/U 3

Recent Form

Sevilla were in first place for a little bit this season, and they responded well after being thrashed by Barcelona. They were able to pick up a result in nine straight matches, but the problem is a few too many of those were draws and not wins. Sevilla have had their fill of Athletic Bilbao, playing the Basque club three times in the last week. Although Sevilla were able to advance to the Copa del Rey Round of 16 by winning on aggregate, they fell in league play ending their string of results.

It hasn’t been a great season for Real Madrid. The club likely feared some sort of drop-off following Zinedine Zidane’s departure, but they have looked increasingly lackluster under both Julen Lopetegui and Santi Solari. They were supposed to have the best back line in the world at the start of the year, and although that’s probably not the case, they have leaned heavily on them over the last few months, The attack has not been up to the club’s high standards, and it looks like they miss Cristiano Ronaldo’s do-it-all playmaking. Real Madrid eked out a win against Real Betis last weekend, with Dani Ceballos’ goal in the 88th minute being the difference.

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Key Absences

The Andalusian club received some bad news about one of their top players recently. Forward Nolito broke his shin bone last week, and he will be out for the next three months. The club is also without midfielder Maxime Gonalons for another two months as he recovers from a fractured ankle, and Roque Mesa will be out for this game due to a yellow card accumulation. Forward Gareth Bale, midfielder Toni Kroos, and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will each miss at least one more match for the side of Real Madrid. All three players missed last week’s match, but none of their injuries are seen as long-term. Midfielders Marcos Llorente and Marco Asensio are both doubtful because of hamstring injuries.

Matchup to Watch

Real Madrid are desperately searching for some playmakers on offense. Luka Modric has played very well, but Solari continues to sit Isco in what feels almost like a personal grudge at this point. Karim Benzema is no longer the threat to score he once was, and this team has scored just 28 goals on the year. Sevilla were incredible on offense for the first few months of the year, but they have been a more defensive team in recent weeks. Each of their last seven La Liga tilts has featured two goals or less, and not having Nolito and Gonalons further strains their attack.

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Spanish La Liga Free Picks

The hosts are typically fantastic in the Bernabeu, but Real Madrid have not been great at home this year. They have been vulnerable, and I can’t be confident in their chances of getting the full three points. The under and Sevilla on the goal line are both good bets.

Spanish La Liga Prediction: Sevilla 1, Real Madrid 1

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