After winning the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia last week, Real Madrid return to La Liga action on Sunday afternoon, when Carlo Ancelotti’s men welcome Elche at Santiago Bernabeu. This is going to be the second meeting between those teams in the space of just one week, as Francisco’s side welcome Los Blancos at Estadio Manuel Martinez for their Copa del Rey clash on Thursday evening.
Where and when: Santiago Bernabeu – 23 January, kick-off 13:30
Where you can see Real Madrid vs. Elche: La Liga TV
Last time: Pere Millia’s late strike wasn’t enough for Elche, as they suffered a 2-1 defeat in the last meeting between those teams, with Vinicius Junior scoring both goals for Real Madrid at Estadio Manuel Martinez back in October.
Real Madrid v Elche and Preview
Real Madrid returned on Spanish soil at the beginning of the week, but Los Blancos now have to prepare for two games against Elche within the next four days. However, it’s unlikely this would bother Carlo Ancelotti’s side after their Spanish Super Cup triumph in Saudi Arabia last week.
The Capital outfit had to go through extra-time to beat Barcelona 3-2 in the second semi-final, while they also earned a 2-0 win against Athletic Bilbao in the final that resulted in them winning the trophy.
The El Classico victory was one of character and despite the expectations that Real would run past Barca, Los Blancos were actually forced to defend for big portions of the game. In the final, Ancelotti’s men proved to be the better side and earned a professional and convincing 2-0 victory, so lifting the trophy in such manner should boast even further what already was a very confident Real Madrid side.
It remains to be seen how Real will cope with the travelling, the busy schedule and the Copa del Rey clash on Thursday. Ancelotti’s task becomes trickier, as he’ll have to do without the injured Mariano Diaz, Marco Asensio and Jesus Vallejo, while Daniel Carvajal still recovering from Covid.
As things stand, Real Madrid are holding a five-points lead over second-placed Sevilla, with Julien Lopetegui's men having a game in hand. Everyone expects Los Blancos to run away with the La Liga title, but the race is still close at this stage.
Elche, meanwhile, won their last two La Liga games, as Fracisco's boys earned a surprising 1-0 win against Villarreal last time, while they also beat Espanyon 2-1 away from home the week before. The Alicante side are still unbeaten in 2022, as they also drew 0-0 against Granada in their first game this year and this good spell means that Elche currently sit in 15th place, five points above the danger zone.
Despite the visitors good form, it's really hard to look beyond a victory for Carlo Ancelotti's men on Sunday and it's no surprise that the hosts are heavy 1/7 favourites. The draw would be another huge result for Elche and is available at 13/2, while Francisco's men are huge 18/1 underdogs to pull out what would be one of the upsets of the season at Santiago Bernabeu.
One to watch for Real Madrid: Karim Benzema just can't stop scoring this term. On top of his 17 La Liga strikes, the Frenchman also netted twice in the Spanish Super Cup and is 21/10 to break the deadlock in this Real Madrid vs Elche preview.
One to watch for Elche: Lucas Boye scored his sixth La Liga goal last week, when his strike earned Elche a surprising 1-0 win over Villarreal. Elche are obviously huge underdogs coming into this clash, but at 20/1 the Argentinian is one to keep an eye in the first scorer market
Long shot: Athletic Bilbao beat Real Madrid 2-1 in the Spanish Super Cup final last season. A repeat of that score in this year's edition is available at 16/1, with the odds rise further if you bet on Inaki Williams to score first.