Real Madrid take on Eibar on Saturday aiming to put pressure on leaders Barcelona, who will have a tough trip to Seville this weekend. Los Blancos hope to shorten the four-point deficit with their arch-rivals despite having important losses.
Carlo Ancelotti will miss three of his regular starters: Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos. The Welshman will rest ahead of the crucial Champions League clash against Atletico after suffering muscle fatigue this week.
Rodriguez and Kroos were shown their fifth yellow card against Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday and will be suspended for Eibar. Luckily Cristiano Ronaldo will be available despite having also received a fifth yellow card. Los Merengues appealed and the Competition Committee rescinded the suspension.
With so many loses, Ancelotti will display an unusual starting eleven. Lucas Silva or Asier Illarramendi will most likely replace Kroos. Isco will replace James, and Jese Rodriguez could take on Bale’s role.
Pepe could return to the line-up after recovering from a thigh injury, although Ancelotti could opt to keep Raphael Varane in the centre of defence and save Pepe for Atletico’s match. The Italian has also announced Keylor Navas will be the starting goalkeeper for this match.
Eibar are the team with the lowest budget in La Liga and they shouldn’t cause Real any trouble. They have only won one game in the last three months –last Tuesday against Malaga. They will miss midfielder Eneko Boveda through suspension.
Real Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Jese, Modric, Silva, Isco; Benzema, Ronaldo.
Eibar: Jaime; Lillo, Anibarro, Navas, Didac Vila; Capa, Borja, Dani Garcia, Javi Lara; Arruabarrena, Saul Berjon.