Defending Copa del Rey champions Real Madrid get started in this year’s competition against fourth tier side Arandina on Saturday. Los Blancos are the competition’s third most titled club with 20 Spanish cup trophies to their name but they will be out to avoid a shock loss here against one of two tier four clubs left in the competition along with Barcelona’s opponents Barbastro. Arandina won promotion from Tercera Federacion to Segunda Federacion for this season but they are bottom of Group 1 with just 10 points while Real top La Liga and are coming into this one off the back of a 1-0 win over Real Mallorca. Carlo Ancelotti’s men have won 15 of their 19 league games so far, but only lead surprise package Girona on their head-to-head record with a 10-point gap between them and Atletico Madrid in third. Real face Atleti in the Spanish Supercopa semifinal in Riyadh next week with Barca and Osasuna the other semifinalists.
Here’s our storylines, how you can watch the match and more:
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How to watch and odds
- Date: Saturday, Jan. 6 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Estadio El Montecillo — Aranda de Duero, Spain
- TV: ESPN+
- Odds: Arandina +1800; Draw: +850; Real -2500
Arandina: It will probably be the same XI which edged out Cadiz 2-1 in the second round so expect to see a 3-4-3 shape with Haji Ceesay having contributed two goals from left back. Ayoub El Battioui could start on the left with top scorer Alfredo Sualdea leading the line.
Potential Arandina XI: Alvarez; Ochoa, Marquez, Pesca; Otu, Vitolo, Zaza, Ceesay; Manzano, Sualdea, El Battioui.
Real: Dani Carvajal and Vinicius Junior both returned vs. Mallorca while Arda Guler was a substitute, so the Turkish superstar could be in line for a start here. Brahim Diaz, Joselu, Dani Ceballos, Lucas Vazquez, Alvaro Carrillo and Nico Paz could also start while Kepa Arrizabalaga will hope to return in goal. Thibaut Courtois, Eder Militao and David Alaba are out for the season while Ferland Mendy and Eduardo Camavinga are doubtful with knocks. Nacho returns from suspension but Jude Bellingham, Toni Kroos, Federico Valverde and Rodrygo are expected to be rested ahead of the trip to Saudi Arabia.
Potential Real XI: Kepa; Vazquez, Nacho, Carrillo, F Garcia; Ceballos, Paz, Modric; Guler; Brahim, Joselu.
Arandina will probably get their moment and score a goal but expect Real to make relatively light work of their fourth tier opponents. Anything less than a two-goal winning margin for Ancelotti’s side and the hosts can consider themselves to have done a good job. Pick: Arandina 1, Real 3.