Real Madrid vs. Eibar: Three things that will shape the outcome

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Real Madrid's little blip appears to be over, as they thrust themselves headlong into hunting down their arch-rivals, table-topping Barcelona.

After a forgettable few weeks for Los Blancos allowed the Catalans to slip in through the back door, Carlo Ancelotti has at least steadied the ship in readiness for a final assault on both the domestic championship and the Champions League.

With Barca away at Sevilla in one of their hardest assignments of the season, Real could well find themselves a little closer to top spot come the end of the weekend.

An Eibar team who Real defeated 4-0 away from home, should present no real problems to a club who went 22 games straight without even so much as a draw earlier on in the season.

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

Ronaldo yellow rescinded

Sometimes the officials get it wrong, and that needs to be accepted by all and sundry.

Referees are human and do not have the luxury of endless replays from different angles to analyse a decision and make a ruling. Everything is taken on board within a split second and the decision made.

To have clubs constantly surround the officials if a decision goes against them is getting just a little too unpalatable. 

In any event, Cristiano Ronaldo's booking for diving was always going to be overturned, and it certainly hands Real the advantage.

Perhaps the Portuguese can take this as a lesson for the future.

Eibar's disastrous run of form

If this game was played six months ago, there may have been a few people willing to back Eibar in getting a point from this fixture. As long as they had one of their best days and Real one of their worst.

Not now.

In the last 12 games, stretching right back into January, Eibar have won just one match, their most recent against Malaga.

From a position of relative safety in eighth earlier in the campaign, the Basques have plummeted like a stone and now find themselves in 14th and perilously close to the relegation places. 

Even the most fervent Eibar follower won't be expecting too much at the Santiago Bernabeu.

James, Kroos and Bale missing

Real's line up will take on a slightly different look with two of their main protagonists missing and one injured.

Whilst Gareth Bale's hamstring problem isn't too bad, Carlo Ancelotti has taken the decision to rule him out, with one eye on the Champions League next week.

James Rodriguez, only just back himself after an injury concern of his own, is back out of the side through an accumulation of yellow cards, the same fate that has befallen Toni Kroos.

In the German's case, the rest will probably do him the world of good giving him a few days off before some of the biggest games of the season.

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

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