Bottom of the league is never a good place to be, least of all with the season nearly half-way through. "If I was not worried I would be an idiot," stated Osasuna coach José Luis Mendilibar rather honestly. "We're not winning, and even when we do enough to win, it’s taken away." This was a thinly-veiled dig at the officials that have taken charge of his side's recent games.
Real Madrid's season has been far from electric, but the voltage has certainly been cranked up a notch by the Madrid based media this week. A survey conducted by Marca revealed almost two-thirds of Real Madrid’s members believe their coach José Mourinho has had a negative impact on the La Liga club’s image. This was moderate in comparison to AS. who basically called the manager a liar: his non-attendance at the Ballon d’Or was labelled ‘an institutional snub’ by the paper. Mourinho had stated he wouldn't be attending the ceremony due to preparations for the Copa del Rey during the week, pictures published of him watching his son play football as proof he was misleading people were a little below the belt.
Alejandro Arribas should return from suspension for the Navarrans, though their injury list remains extensive. Raoul Loe, Sisi, Asier Riesgo and Roberto Torres will all miss out.
Sergio Ramos starts his 28th ban since arriving at the Bernabéu. The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) have handed him a five-game suspension after he was deemed to have insulted the referee last week. The second yellow card which led to the confrontation was a little harsh, in his defence. Antonio Adán's straight red versus Real Sociedad ensures Iker Casillas will play from the outset, whilst top-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo is also suspended, meaning Gonzalo Higuaín may start.
With two wins from twelve matches, it's no wonder Osasuna are currently rooted to the foot of the table. They have scored just seven goals in the process - three of which came against fellow strugglers Espanyol. The home team are 2.35 to draw another blank.
It's been a week of varying performances, which have ultimately ended in victory for Los Blancos. Fighting spirit was evident in the closely-fought battle with Sociedad, followed by a more comfortable scoreline against Celta Vigo.
Matches between these two have been tight affairs, but the most recent saw Madrid dish out a couple of beatings. Osasuna last won against their opponents just over two years ago.
Madrid have hit eight goals in the last week, though the absent Ronaldo accounted for five of them. German midfielder Sami Khedira has unusually been on the scoresheet twice, and is at 8.00 to add another. Karim Benzema is a more obvious choice without the Portuguese winger: the forward has three in his last six, along with three in his previous two against Osasuna. He is 5.25 for first goalscorer. The home side are the lowest scorers in the Primera with only 14 goals. Four of those have come from Kike Sola; the striker is 10.50 for the opener here.
Results have improved but the fans reactions haven't. "The whistles? Perfect. They whistled me before the game and they helped the team during the game," was the response of Mourinho after last weekend's game. Expect further improvement and a further win for Madrid at 1.50.
In the last two matches Real Madrid have flown out of the blocks, with goals inside three minutes in both. For a goal to be scored in the opening half-hour it's 1.70 or in the first 15 minutes it's a decent 3.10.
Score prediction: Osasuna 0-2 Real Madrid (8.50)