Real Madrid: Three individual battles to watch against Granada

Real Madrid, Miguel Gutierrez (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Miguel Gutierrez (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Miguel Gutierrez
Real Madrid, Miguel Gutierrez (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid will face Granada on Thursday night in La Liga with everything to play for. Barcelona just drew Levante 3-3, which pretty much puts them out of the title race. So now, Real are competing with Atletico Madrid and are still in the hunt, despite drawing 2-2 with Sevilla this past weekend.

Granada have proven capable of beating any team in this league. Real Madrid will like their chances after beating them 2-0 earlier this season at home, but a trip to Los Carmenes is trickier. Furthermore, Granada already put a huge dent in Barcelona’s title hopes by beating them 2-1 a couple of weeks ago, so Los Blancos must be careful.

Let’s take a look at three key individual battles that could decide the game, using MARCA’s predicted lineups as our guide.

Real Madrid LB Miguel Gutierrez vs. Granada RW Antonio Puertas

Although Miguel Gutierrez actually seems like a safer option at left back than the experienced Marcelo, the latter is still expected to start in this potentially title-deciding match.

Article Update: Marcelo is officially out of the squad with an apparent injury. Miguel Gutierrez is almost certainly starting.

Granada’s front three is underrated, and Antonio Puertas is a talented wide forward who deserves more praise. He very nearly scored a couple of times early against Real Madrid, which would have totally changed the game.

Puertas only has two goals this season, but he is Granada’s leader with five assists. The 29-year-old has been lacking in consistency this season, but you never know when he could pop up with a Man of the Match-caliber performance.

That said, Miguel Gutierrez is not an easy opponent despite his lack of experience. He has looked good off the bench, which is more than what can be said about Marcelo, who was a huge liability in defense. Gutierrez is in a tough spot for his first ever start, but Madridistas should have confidence in his ability.