Sevilla v Real Madrid – Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan at 19:45 live on Sky Sports
Real Madrid set a Spanish record of 40 matches unbeaten in all competitions after they came back from two goals behind to snatch a 3-3 draw at Sevilla with a last-gasp equaliser from Karim Benzema in the Copa del Ray on Thursday.
Real trailed 3-1 in the 77th minute of their last-16 second leg tie but captain Sergio Ramos reduced the arrears from the penalty spot in the 83rd minute and with seconds remaining, Benzema’s deflected strike levelled proceedings.
Both teams left out four or five of their bit-hitters with Sunday’s league meeting in mind so whilst the cup clash was fabulous entertainment, it’s hard to see how that encounter will effect this weekend’s crunch La Liga showdown.
Madrid took top honours when the two teams locked horns in Trondheim for the UEFA Super Cup in August bur only thanks to an injury-time equaliser from Sergio Ramos that took the game to extra-time – Daniel Carvalho then scored the winner with a minute remaining.
Madrid’s record-breaking run
And Los Blancos are protecting a quite incredible run of results that’s seen the capital club W24-D4-L0, including claiming 38 of a possible 42 points on their travels. Both Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad have been swiped aside on their own turf by Zinedine Zidane’s crew.
But there’s a viable question still to be answered. Nobody really knows how Real have broken this record as the Champions League holders appear to have been stuck in fourth gear for the past 10 months.
The unbeaten run stretches back to April 2016 when Madrid were beaten by Wolfsburg but bar a smattering of top-class displays, Los Blancos have failed to really convince pundits that they are the real deal.
Real a tough overrated
The record-breaking results may well mask Madrid’s faults right now and Sunday night’s contest promises to be a real test of the league leaders’ meddle. The visitors have been beaten in three of their past four trips to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan and look a touch overrated at odds-on here.
Gareth Bale remains out and although Cristiano Ronaldo will come back into the team having been rested in midweek, I’m just not prepared to invest faith in Zidane’s charges collecting maximum points.
Last weekend Sevilla put in their best display under Jorge Sampaoli with a 4-0 destruction of Real Sociedad in San Sebastian. Los Rojiblancos’ ferocious pressing and high-tempo approach has already caused problems for Madrid this season and the hosts look a decent bet with a +0.50 Asian Handicap betting start.
Sevilla’s home fortress
At their fortress Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan base, the Andalusians have claimed 21 triumphs in 25 outings, bagging W34-D6-L6 when welcoming league opposition since the beginning of 2014/15. It’s a quite remarkable record.
I full expect Sevilla to play at breakneck speed, create goalscoring opportunities and put Real under pressure when possession is turned over. Adil Rami is available again whilst Franco Vazquez and Vitolo should feature with Samir Nasri and Steven N’Zonzi in Sampaoli’s strongest XI.
This fixture has a history of goals – an average of more than 4.50 goals per-game dating back to 2002/03 but with a goal-heavy game too short to consider, the value certainly lies with opposing the table-toppers on Sunday night.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Sevilla +0.50 at 1.93
Prices correct at time of writing.
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