Jose Mourinho has said his Real Madrid team must win against Sevilla on Sunday night to stay in touch with La Liga leaders Barcelona.
Speaking ahead of the Sunday’s game at the Bernabeu, Mourinho told reporters: "What we want is an open championship and two points difference is what we have to keep. We have to play this match... to win and to keep this distance."
Real have bounced back in style after suffering the 5-0 thrashing against their title rivals Barca three weeks ago. A 2-0 win against Valencia and 3-1 win away at Zaragoza have sandwiched the 4-0 demolition of Auxerre in the final Champions League group win.
With Sunday’s opponents Sevilla in freefall, with just one draw and 5 defeats in their last six games in all competitions, it is difficult to imagine any other result than an emphatic home win. But, the best price available is the 2/9 odds with Betfred and many punters will be looking at other match markets for a bet.
This is a fixture that has produced plenty of goals in recent years and it has not always been one-way traffic. The last four league meetings between the teams at the Bernabeu have all produced at least four goals; last season Real won 3-2, while the previous year Sevilla triumphed 4-3. Real have 3-1 and 3-2 wins to their credit in the earlier games.
The recent form of both sides has seen plenty of goals and bookmakers have set the Over 3.5 Goals market for this game at around odds of 10/11.
Mourinho will be missing a few first team regulars but with a huge squad, he is not complaining: “They have injuries too, so nobody can complain about an advantage. We have injuries and suspensions, which are even worse. But you can't complain.”
Sami Khedira is expected to be ready for this match after returning to training without a problem. Jerzy Dudek, Sergio Canales, Sergio Ramos, Gonzalo Higuain, Kaka and Fernando Gago are all out, however.
Marcelo and Xabi Alonso are both suspended.
17-goal striker Cristiano Ronaldo , Mesut Ozil, Angel Di Maria and Karim Benzema are all expected to line up against Sevilla weakened defence. With plenty of goals expected, the first goalscorer market is worth taking into consideration and Bwin is offering the best odds of 5/2 for Ronaldo to open the scoring.
Sevilla coach, Gregorio Manzano doesn’t have the same level of resources to draw on and he must field a team without midfield stalwart Alexis who is suspended.
Leading scorer, Freddie Kanoute is doubtful after picking up a knock must Manzano will leave it late to see if Jesus Navas will be fit enough to play.
Diego Perotti suffered a hamstring injury in the midweek game and he is expected to be out for two to three weeks while Arouna Kone, Tiberio Guarente and Ivica Dragutinovic remain sidelined with injuries.