Real Madrid return with renewed vigor from a Club World Cup triumph and prepare to restart their La Liga title push with a cupcake home match against league bottom feeders Elche.
Things were looking up for the last-placed side after they emerged victorious for the first time all season in their last match against Villarreal, but it came at a high price, losing hat-trick hero Pere Milla to a serious shoulder injury plus the yellow card suspensions of two other key players.
That will leave Real Madrid licking their chops, needing results fast and often to keep pace with and eventually catch Barcelona, who sit a whopping 11 points clear atop the La Liga table. Madrid have dropped points in three of their last five league games, allowing Barcelona to pull away, and now there’s almost no room for error the rest of the way. A slip here in this match with a prime chance to pick up three points would essentially be the end of their domestic championship hunt.
Complicating matters for Carlo Ancelotti, Champions League knockout play starts next week, leaving him with some selection headaches as he hopes to manage minutes and fitness throughout the rest of the clogged fixture calendar.
MORE: La Liga top goal scorers as Karim Benzema looks to catch up with Robert Lewandowski
How to watch Real Madrid vs Elche
|USA||Wed, Feb. 15||15:00 ET||ESPN Deportes||ESPN+, fuboTV|
|UK||Wed, Feb. 15||20:00 GMT||LaLigaTV, Viaplay Sports 1||Viaplay UK|
|Australia||Thu, Feb. 16||07:00 AEST||Optus Sport||beIN Sports Connect|
|Canada||Wed, Feb. 15||15:00 ET||TSN5||TSN+|
|India||Thu, Feb. 16||00:30 IST||Sports18||Sony LIV, JioTV|
|New Zealand||Thu, Feb. 16||09:00 NZST||Sky Sports 7 beIN Sports||beIN Sports Connect|
|Malaysia||Thu, Feb. 16||04:00 MT||beIN Sports||beIN Sports Connect, sooka|
|Singapore||Thu, Feb. 16||04:00 SST||beIN Sports||beIN Sports, StarHub TV+|
|Hong Kong||Thu, Feb. 16||04:00 HKST||Now Sports 2||Now Player|
USA: La Liga matches can be seen in the United States exclusively on ESPN’s subscription-based streaming service ESPN+. However, select matches, such as this one, are shown on their Spanish-language TV channel ESPN Deportes, which can be streamed via fuboTV.
UK: Wednesday’s match between Real Madrid and Elche from the Bernabeu is available in the United Kingdom on Viaplay Sports 1 or LaLigaTV.
Canada: La Liga matches can be seen in Canada all season long on TSN, with this match broadcast on TSN5 as well as TSN+.
Australia: Australia’s sole broadcaster for La Liga is Optus Sport, who also recently signed a new deal to telecast the Premier League Down Under for the next six seasons until 2028.
MORE: La Liga table for 2022/23 season as Real Madrid chase Barcelona for Spanish league title
Real Madrid vs Elche projected lineups & team news
While Real Madrid are likely to get Karim Benzema back after the forward missed out on the Club World Cup in Morocco, they will be without Vinicius Jr who is suspended for yellow card accumulation. Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Rodrygo will be the one to start in his place, getting a rare chance to shine from the start, a break from his usual super sub role.
Missing due to injury for Real Madrid are Thibaut Courtois, Ferland Mendy, and Eden Hazard. In goal it will be Andriy Lunin to replace Courtois, as the Ukrainian international had a very solid Club World Cup showing. A healthy David Alaba should slot in at left-back for Mendy, although Eduardo Camavinga deputised well at the Club World Cup.
The fitness of ageing midfielders Toni Kroos and Luka Modric will also factor in to selection the rest of the season, especially with Champions League play coming up. Kroos in particular is dealing with an illness, which could mean more minutes for Marco Asensio or Dani Ceballos.
Real Madrid projected starting lineup (4-3-3): Lunin (GK) — Carvajal, Nacho, Rudiger, Alaba — F. Valverde, Tchouameni, Ceballos — Asensio, Benzema, Rodrygo.
Elche boss Pablo Machin would surely love to stick with the starting lineup he had for the team’s first win of the season last time out, a 3-1 victory over Villarreal, but he will have a few issues keeping him from doing so.
First, Omar Mascarell and Helibelton Palacios are suspended for yellow card accumulation, requiring at least two changes. In for Palacios will likely be Diego Gonzalez who came on at halftime of the Villarreal win, while Lautaro Blanco or Gonzalo Verdu could be options in midfield for Machin.
Even more devastating for Machin is the loss of Pere Milla, who scored all three goals against Villarreal, but went down in the 58th minute with a broken clavicle and will be missing for months.
Elche projected starting lineup (3-4-2-1): Badia (GK) — Magallan, Roco, D. Gonzalez — Clerc, Gumbau, Blanco, Carmona — Boye, Ponce — Chavez.
Real Madrid vs Elche betting odds & lines
Odds via BetMGM (USA), Sports Interaction (Canada), SkyBet (UK), and Neds (Australia).
Real Madrid are considered massive favorites against an Elche side with just one win all season in Spanish top flight action. Los Blancos are 1/5 on the money line, while Elche are an enormous 13/1 to come away with all three points, and even 6/1 to hold Real Madrid level.
Looking at game flow selections, it’s an even bleaker picture for the visitors at the Bernabeu. Real Madrid are essentially favorites to hit the over 2.5 goals total all by themselves, inflating the total up to 3.5 with just their own goalscoring threat.
|Rreal Madrid win||-500||-537||1/6||1.20|
to score Y / N
|+120 / -165||+107 / -167||1/1, 8/11||2.10 / 1.67|
|Over / Under
|+120 / -165||+125 / -161||6/5, 8/13||2.20 / 1.62|
|Real Madrid -1.5||-185||-169||—||—|