Ordinarily, any Real Madrid game against a side mired to the bottom of La Liga is a betting no-brainer, but Saturday’s trip to Osasuna warrants some more thought on this occasion.
Los Blancos have started 2013 in blistering form with a pair of goal-laden home wins in the league and cup but all is still not well.
We’ll mention the sixteen point get between them and Barcelona later, but that aside, Jose Mourinho’s been ducking for cover and there’s tantrums aplenty behind the scenes.
The Bernabeu crowd gave the special one the bird during Thursday’s 4-0 Copa del Rey drubbing of Celta Vigo as the Portugueser sat slouched in his dugout all game before sloping off down the tunnel before the end.
The world’s second best player scored a hat-trick against Celta to add to the two from last week’s 4-3 win over Real Sociedad, but Cristiano Ronaldo will be sat on the naughty step for the trip to Pamplona.
Real’s list of absentees doesn’t end there. Sergio Ramos is banned once again and with Pepe sidelined, Mourinho will have to summon the depths of his vast squad for a deceptively difficult fixture.
Osasuna are struggling this year but have recorded a few upper half finishes in recent seasons – mainly due to turning the El Sadar into a bit of a fortress.
To anglify them, they’re a bit like Stoke. They’re the sort of side where you’d turn the telly off if they were on. You’d never see Pele in an Osasuna shirt.
They had been abrasively effective for a while but it’s all gone pear shaped this season. Los Rojillos are rock bottom with three wins all campaign and they’ve only picked up a point from their last six games.
Madrid’s futile title hopes are largely down to the four away defeats they’ve suffered already and with key players missing, this will be another stern test of their current state.
Osasuna will show no airs and graces with Real Madrid’s princely white in town and they could be worth an outside punt with a few decent prices about.
The hosts are 6/1 with bwin’s 3Way betting market with the draw at 333/100 and Madrid clear 11/25 favourites. With Osasuna long odds, the draw double makes more sense and is still 33/20.
The seven goals Osasuna have conceded at home is one less than Real have let in at their place. Barring a 5-1 blast here last year, the champions have struggled to score many at the El Sadar – as too have Barcelona on occasion.
With Ronaldo missing Real will have to rely on goals coming from elsewhere and if they are to nick this one it will by the odd goal.
Under 2.5 goals in the whole game is 13/10 and Osasuna to edge it with a 1-0 handicap is odds against at 8/5.
Naturally Real have the quality to see off a team in the lower reaches but this won’t be easy and I genuinely think The Pamplonan’s are good for a point.
If you disagree then get on Real with under 3.5 goals in the game at 7/5 but if you reckon the hosts can make good of my claims, back the half-time/full-time draw at 6/1, or the lead-draw run of play at a massive 17/4.