Jose Mourinho must be wondering what he needs to do to get his team playing La Liga matches the way they did against Barcelona in the Super Cup in midweek. But at home today (6.50pm BST), I don’t expect Real Madrid to be troubled too much by Granada.
The big name back for Real Madrid is Pepe, who rejoined Sergio Ramos at the heart of the defence against Barcelona at the Bernabeu.
Mourinho had been without Pepe for two games following the defenders collision with Iker Casillas on the opening weekend against Valencia. But with the Portuguese defender back in the line-up, the whole Madrid back line looks more settled.
For this game, Marcelo is likely to take up the left-back role for Madrid. He’s managed to form an excellent attacking partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo on that left flank over the years. Against weaker sides at home, Mourinho always opts for the attack-minded Marcelo over Fabio Coentrao.
Notably, Ronaldo (pictured) was exceptional against Barcelona in the week, bagging a goal and terrorising the Barcelona back line with his flair and pace. It was Ronaldo’s attack through the middle that saw Adriano dismissed for Barcelona following a professional foul on the Madrid forward.
In this game against Granada, Mourinho will be forcing his players to keep that high tempo that saw them beat Barcelona. The final score line really should have been much more than just 2-1 to Madrid.
It was also a surprise to see Gonzalo Higuain start the game for Madrid. The Argentine has been in good scoring form so far this season and Mourinho was clearly rewarding the striker’s good work.
I’m sure Mourinho will be looking to find the right balance between his two strikers this season. For that, I expect we’ll see Karim Benzema get the nod ahead of Higuain today.
Two key arrivals for Real Madrid came in during the last week of the transfer window. Luka Modric from Tottenham and Michael Essien from Chelsea. Modric saw some action in the win against Barcelona at the Bernabeu and was extremely unlucky not to get his first goal for Los Blancos. The Croatian midfielder looked to slot in very comfortably to this Madrid side and I’m sure we’ll see more of him against Granada. His lack of a pre-season, however, likely suggests he’ll start the game from the bench. As Mourinho said earlier in the week, he’s fit but not match fit.
Michael Essien is likely cover for the departing Lassana Diarra, who appears to be on his way to Anzhi in Russia. Madrid have been lacking a strong defensive presence in their midfield and hopefully Essien, despite his injuries, will add something useful.
Real Madrid’s opponents Granada are still looking for their first win this season. The team managed a 1-1 draw at home to Sevilla last weekend, allowing Alvaro Negredo to draw level following Mikel Rico’s opener – a rebound from a penalty.
Real Madrid v Granada Betting Tips Verdict
Interestingly, Real Madrid sit 14th in the league with Granada just one place below. I expect all that to change following this game.
Real Madrid shouldn’t be too relaxed, however, as their opponents will cause some deal of threat if they sense Mourinho’s side are not on form.
Overall I expect nothing but a convincing victory for Real Madrid. At best odds of 1/9 for the home win, Mourinho’s men are too short for an outright bet. Instead I’m opting for Real Madrid to win 4-0 on the correct score betting market at 8/1 with Ladbrokes with Karim Benzema to get the first goal, biggest at 10/3 with Bet365.