The good news for Real Madrid is that Cristiano Ronaldo has started the year in blistering form, putting in two man-of-the-match performances and scoring five goals in the process.
The bad news is that he will be missing for the notoriously tricky trip to Osasuna on Saturday night, having picked up a fifth yellow card in last weekend’s 4-3 win over Real Sociedad.
Ronaldo’s absence will be felt not only for his goalscoring prowess (the forward has seven in his last five matches versus Osasuna) but also for his ability to lead the team when things are not going their way.
Los Blancos will also be missing two of their other most vocal leaders on the pitch with first choice centre back pairing Sergio Ramos and Pepe missing through suspension and injury respectively.
All this therefore means punters may not be rushing to back Madrid at the price of 4/9 (1.44) offered by William Hill.
Osasuna for their part can be backed at 6/1 (7.00) while the draw is available at 10/3 (4.33).
It is however worth pointing out that the hosts are rock bottom of the table having won just three of their 18 league matches so far.
In previous years the side from Pamplona have relied on the fortress like nature of their stadium to ensure survival, yet they have managed just one win in their last six home league matches and have been beaten at the Reyno de Navarra stadium by the likes of Granada and Valladolid.
Furthermore, their total of 14 league goals scored is one of the lowest among the major European leagues. making them a less intimidating prospect than in recent years.
Therefore, despite Madrid’s makeshift defence, backing against the Navarrans scoring would seem to make sense.
In their midweek Copa del Rey clash, Jose Mourinho’s side managed to keep a clean sheet against a Celta team who are much more offensively threatening than Osasuna.
The price of 137/100 (2.37) for the Santiago Bernabeu side to score in the game looks big and becomes even more attractive when you consider that Osasuna have failed to score in four of their last six home matches.
For a value bet try backing an away win and under 2.5 goals scored at 11/4 (3.75).
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Phil Kitromilides is a sports broadcaster working on TV in Madrid. You can also follow Phil on Twitter.