Real Madrid hosts Elche seeking to reach the top of the table, as Atletico Madrid and Barcelona are presented with tricky visits to Osasuna and Real Sociedad.
Los Blancos sit second in the league with the same points than their rivals, but with a worse point difference than the Azulgranas. Elche’s visit looks like a perfect match for turning things around.
Los Merengues are unbeaten in 2014 and have only dropped points against Athletic Bilbao at San Mames. Moreover, Carlo Ancelotti men haven’t conceded a loss in their last 25 games, the second best run in the history of the club.
The Italian manager will miss Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric due to suspension. The main problem for him will be replacing the Croatian, since there is no other player of his characteristics in the squad. Asier Illarramendi or Isco are the most likely choices.
Jese Rodriguez, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, who are in spectacular form, will form the forward line. Raphael Varane could come in for Sergio Ramos at the centre-back, giving the Spaniard some rest ahead of the Champions League clash against Schalke 04. Fabio Coentrao could also replace Marcelo at left-back.
Fran Escriba will miss goalkeeper Tono and defender Cristian Sapunaru, but he will recover Javi Marquez, a key player in his midfield line. Elche sit 14th in the table, five points clear from the relegation zone.
Real Madrid: Lopez; Carvajal, Pepe, Varane, Coentrao; Illarramendi, Alonso, Di Maria; Bale, Benzema, Jese.
Elche: Manu Herrera; Mantecon, Lomban, Botia, Cisma; Marquez, Perez; Gil, Coro, Moran; Cristian Herrera.