Almeria v Real Madrid: Three key talking points

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Carlo Ancelotti has already spoken of wanting Real Madrid to end the year in the best possible way.

On a quite unbelievable record-breaking run of wins in all competitions, Los Blancos are certainly the team to beat both in La Liga and in Europe.

You have to fear for Almeria who languish in 17th place but on the same points as bottom club Cordoba.

Contrast that with Real, atop La Liga and with an astonishing 51 goals scored already in their 14 games.

Let's take a look at three things that will shape the outcome to this one...

Head to head

New manager Juan Ignacio Martinez might want to look away now.

Although the new boss, installed following the sacking of Francisco, won't take charge officially until after Friday's game, clearly he needs to restore confidence in a side that have taken a battering recently.

He therefore won't want to dwell on the recent record between the two sides.

The last time Madrid came to town they hit five without reply and it's been six long years since the hosts got the better of their more illustrious visitors in any competition.

The 2-0 win in February 2008 remains Almeria's only win in the last decade against Real and given current form, you wouldn't expect to see a change.

Eye on the Club World Cup?

The only possible thing that Martinez and his squad can hold onto in believing they might have a chance to spring a surprise, is the upcoming Club World Cup competition that Real compete for starting next week.

Los Blancos are taking their appearance there seriously, with a view to being "World Champions" and the right to wear the gold badge on their shirts for a year.

Cristiano Ronaldo in particular wants to add the accolade to his own personal list of honours.

With one eye focussed away from La Liga, could an Almeria side hoping to benefit from "new manager bounce" spring a surprise? Will Carlo Ancelotti tinker with his squad with that in mind, potentially giving the home side a glimmer?

Current form

The Italian should be rubbing his hands together when he checks the form table.

Almeria are still yet to win at home, taking just three points from a possible 21, and have no wins in the last eight.

Compare that to Real, who have won 19 on the trot and have scored 27 in their seven La Liga matches away from the Santiago Bernabeu.

Their away record is in fact the best in Europe at this point and only the most fervent of Almeria fans will expect their side to stop the rot here. 

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James Rodriguez
Karim Benzema
Cristiano Ronaldo
La Liga
Real Madrid
Gareth Bale

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