La Liga Betting: Real Madrid v Granada



An early goal instilled Real Madrid with confidence on Wednesday night. Gonzalo Higuaín repaid the faith shown in him by his manager and fully capitalised on a rare Javier Mascherano error to set Los Merengues on their way. José Mourinho had played down the match beforehand, though the reaction of fans and players alike upon the full-time whistle signified its importance.

The decision of president Quique Pina to persevere at Granada was welcomed by fans, players and board members. His multi-tasking behind the scenes - along with the unusual set-up developed by owner Giampaolo Pozzo - has helped transform the club. The loaning players back and forth with Udinese is another of the factors behind their success.

Team news

Luka Modrić came off the bench to make his debut against Barcelona, and he might replace Mesut Özil in the starting lineup this time out. Mourinho will look for continuity with few changes to his side, so Higuaín's goal will probably mean he gets the nod over Benzema.

Granada are unlikely to differ much from their opening two matches, using a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 formation. Floro Flores will lead the attack and left-back Guillherme Siqueira, who caught the eye of a number of clubs during the summer will look to get forward.

Form

Real Madrid proclaimed their return in El Clásico, hassling and hustling their way back to form. They pressed high with intensity, forcing mistakes from Barça's back line. That 2-1 win was their first of the season.

Expectations are obviously lower in Granada, though they have had a similar start to their domestic campaign. One draw, one loss and now a trip to the Bernabéu represents a difficult run for the Andalusians.

Recent head-to-head

These sides have only faced each other twice, both of which came this calendar year. Granada did score on each occasion, though the 5-1 drumming in January will have left a sour taste in their mouths.

Goalscorer betting

Cristiano Ronaldo's mid-week comprised many moments of class. The flick over Piqué's head was instinctive, and while his second touch wasn't the best, he showed great composure, allowing him to get enough power into the shot. From then on he never looked back, forcing Adriano to rugby tackle him and then terrorising the rookie Montoya. He is very likely to continue the momentum, and is 2.90 to open the scoring.

Verdict

Expect Real to go from strength to strength and record their first league victory of the season. Only bottom club Racing Santander scored fewer times than Granada last year and they need a source of goals desperately if they are to have a fighting chance this term. It might we worth betting on them not to score, at 1.65.

Score prediction

Real Madrid 3-1 Granada (10.00)