Big-spending Real set for a bullish run in Spanish League | sports | Hindustan Times
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Big-spending Real set for a bullish run in Spanish League

sports Updated: Aug 29, 2009 01:33 IST
Real Madrid

Real Madrid fans are tingling with excitement at the prospect of seeing Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and company strut their stuff as their new-look 'Galactico' team host Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday in the curtain-raiser to the 2009/10 Spanish league season.

It has been an unforgettable summer with Real splashing big bucks to build a star-studded team and there are likely to be a number of debutants against Depor with Ronaldo, Kaka, Xabi Alonso, Karim Benzema, Raul Albiol all expected to start.

French striker Benzema has been firing in the goals in pre-season while Ronaldo has been installed as chief free-kick taker as he was at Manchester United.

It will also be Manuel Pellegrini's first competitive game in charge of Real and everyone will expect the former Villarreal coach to have Real playing attractive winning football.

Depor will hope to gatecrash the first outing of the Galacticos and Real should be wary as they lost the opening fixture of last season 2-1 against Depor at their Riazor Stadium. Due to European Super Cup commitments, Barcelona begin their title defence on Monday at home to Sporting Gijon.

Heavy firing Arsenal take on United

The Gunners have made a flying start to this season, scoring 10 goals in their opening two wins. They will be hoping to repeat their fantastic start to the 2004-05 season where they began with five consecutive victories. On the other hand, United are known for their slow starts and won only once in their first three league games last season before winning the title.

United destroyed Arsenal in last season's Champions League semi-final with their sharp counter-attacks, winning 3-1 at the Emirates. But Cristiano Ronaldo, the key component of that tactic, is no longer present. Arsenal will be more capable of containing the champions. The home side's challenge will be to nullify the threat posed by Arsenal forward Andriy Arshavin.

United will be without Rio Ferdinand and Edwin van der Sar, while Arsenal will miss captain, Cesc Fabregas, who is out with a hamstring injury.

This will be the 41st meeting between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger with the United boss currently leading the way with 15 wins to the Frenchman's 14.

(Man Utd vs Arsenal: Live on ESPN at 9:40pm)