In a statement on their website Real had the following to say after scans revealed the extent of his injury, with the Welshman expected to be out for at least three weeks.
“After tests carried out today on the player Gareth Bale at the Sanitas La Moraleja University Hospital, he has been diagnosed with soleus muscle injury in his right leg. His recovery will continue to be assessed.”
Bale is likely to miss the upcoming La Liga games against Real Betis, Espanyol, Granada and Athletic Bilbao, and will be touch and go for the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last 16 clash against AS Roma on Feb. 17.
It also marks the third time this season he has been out with a calf injury, as he missed almost a month in September and then two weeks in October with similar injuries.
The former Tottenham Hotspur star has been in sensational form in Zinedine Zidane’s first two games in charge. Bale scored a hat trick in the 5-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna on Zidane’s managerial debut and then scored one and set up another against Gijon on Sunday before coming off injured in the first half.
Bale has 13 goals this season, while Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo each have 16 and the three-pronged forward line have been dubbed “BBC” by Real’s fans. During Zidane’s first two games in charge, all 10 goals Real have scored have come from one of the aforementioned trio.
Losing Bale for almost a month will be a blow to Zidane as they currently sit in second place in La Liga, two points behind crosstown rivals Atletico.
Who’s looking like title contenders and/or favorites?
As we head into the final months of the 2022-23 season, Arsenal and Manchester City are looking head and shoulders above the rest and although Manchester United briefly surged into the picture, they look more likely to cement their spot as the third best team in the Premier League.
Uneven Tottenham are hanging in the top four battle and for the moment have hunted down Newcastle, while Liverpool is back in the Champions League picture after their return to form and Chelsea looks like a top six finish is their ceiling. For now.
Surprising Fulham, Brentford, and Brighton are all hanging around on the periphery with fine campaigns. Can one of them surprise and qualify for Europe?
Who are the candidates for relegation?
Southampton, West Ham, and Bournemouth currently occupy the relegation places but that keeps changing all the time and it is so tight at the bottom of the table.
Nottingham Forest, Leicester City, Wolves, Leeds, Everton and Crystal Palace all find themselves within a few points of the bottom three as the race to stay in the Premier League intensifies. This could be the craziest relegation scrap in Premier League history.
Below you will find the latest Premier League table.
How to watch Arsenal vs Leeds live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday TV Channel: USA Network Online:Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & star players
For Arsenal, it’s going to continue to be a feast of talent in attacking positions as Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard are in the Premier League Player of the Year conversation and Gabriel Martinelli isn’t too far off. Perhaps Gabriel Jesus would be there, too, if he didn’t miss such a long stretch of time with injury but he’s fit and firing and Leeds has reason to worry about its back line. Leeds would love to see Maximillian Wober and Tyler Adams available but they are not and it will be incumbent about the attackers to make up for their absences. Weston McKennie and Marc Roca will be under the microscope today.
Arsenal team news, injuries, lineup options
QUESTIONABLE: Thomas Partey (other), Kieran Tierney (calf). OUT: William Saliba (lower back), Mohamed Elneny (knee), Eddie Nketiah (ankle), Takehiro Tomiyasu (knee)
Leeds team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Maximillian Wober (thigh), Stuart Dallas (thigh), Adam Forshaw (groin), Tyler Adams (hamstring), Wilfried Gnonto (ankle).
Pep Guardiola’s Man City can momentarily cut the gap to leaders Arsenal to five points but there are question marks swirling around the fitness of goalscoring machine Erling Haaland heading into this game. City are looking for a three-peat of Premier League titles and five in the last six seasons, but Arsenal don’t look like they’re going to slip up anytime soon. So City can’t afford to either. They’ve won six in a row in all competitions, scoring 23 and conceding once in that run. We all know they love to kick on at this point of the campaign, so let’s see if they can do it again.
As for Liverpool, well, it has been one step forward and one step back pretty much all season long for Jurgen Klopp’s side. After their 7-0 shellacking of Manchester United, they then lost at Bournemouth to infuriate Klopp and their fans further. The front three of Salah, Nunez and Gakpo are all clicking through the gears nicely but Liverpool have to become more consistent and dominant games in midfield if they’re going to close the gap to the current top four. They’ve had success against City in recent years as their contrasting style of play match up well but this seems like a different, more fragile, Liverpool this season.
How to watch Manchester City vs Liverpool live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 7:30am ET, Saturday TV Channel: Peacock Online: Stream via Peacock Premium
Key storylines & in-form players to watch
The fitness of Haaland is obviously a huge concern for City as he suffered a groin issue and did not play for Norway over the international break and returned to Manchester for treatment. If he isn’t fit to start then expect Julian Alvarez to come in. Elsewhere, City are flying with Jack Grealish, Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gunodgan having a big role to play with Phil Foden out following his Appendectomy. As always, Kevin de Bruyne is the main man and will relish this chance to cut Arsenal’s lead atop the table.
Liverpool just can’t find consistency right now. They have improved defensively but they are a real Jekyll and Hyde team. Jurgen Klopp isn’t a fan of that and showed his frustration after their defeat at Bournemouth, which was their last Premier League game and was way back on March 11. He’s had a few weeks to stew over that loss and it will be intriguing to see what plan he has come up with. For this game as earlier this season Liverpool beat Man City 1-0 at Anfield by playing a front four which pinned City in.
Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Phil Foden (appendix removed) | QUESTIONABLE: Erling Haaland (groin)
Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Calvin Ramsay (knee), Stefan Bajcetic (groin), Luis Diaz (knee), Thiago Alcantara (hip), Naby Keita (muscle) | QUESTIONABLE: Kostas Tsimikas (rib)
The Premier League relegation scrap needs some serious paring down, as a remarkably-high nine teams sit within four points of 20th place on the 2022-23 Premier League table.
That means we’re set, at least for now, for more relegation six-pointers than at any time in recent memory — many of them, you’ll see below, will involve Bournemouth — and the odds are in favor of a relatively surprising team heading down to the Championship.
Leicester City: Palace (A), Villa (H), Bournemouth (H), Man City (A), Wolves (H), Leeds (A), Everton (H), Fulham (A), Liverpool (H), Newcastle (A), West Ham (H)
West Ham: Southampton (H), Newcastle (H), Fulham (A), Arsenal (H), Bournemouth (A), Liverpool (H), Palace (A), Man Utd (H), Brentford (A), Leeds (H), Leicester (A)
Nottingham Forest: Wolves (H), Leeds (A), Villa (A), Man Utd (H), Liverpool (A), Brighton (H), Brentford (A), Southampton (H), Chelsea (A), Arsenal (H), Palace (A)
Leeds: Arsenal (A), Forest (H), Palace (H), Liverpool (H), Fulham (A), Leicester (H), Bournemouth (A), Man City (A), Newcastle (H), West Ham (A), Spurs (H)
Everton: Spurs (H), Man Utd (A), Fulham (H), Palace (A), Newcastle (H), Leicester (A), Brighton (A), Man City (H), Wolves (A), Bournemouth (H)
Southampton: West Ham (A), Man City (H), Palace (H), Arsenal (A), Bournemouth (H), Newcastle (A), Forest (A), Fulham (H), Brighton (A), Liverpool (H)
Bournemouth: Fulham (H), Brighton (H), Leicester (A), Spurs (A), West Ham (H), Southampton (A), Leeds (H), Chelsea (H), Palace (A), Man Utd (H), Everton (A)
Key fixtures that will decide the Premier League relegation scrap
Saturday, March 18: Wolves 2-4 Leeds – RECAP/HIGHLIGHTS
Saturday, April 1: AFC Bournemouth vs Fulham — 10am ET
Saturday, April 1: Crystal Palace vs Leicester — 10am ET
Saturday, April 1: Nottingham Forest vs Wolves — 10am ET
Sunday, April 2: West Ham vs Southampton — 9am ET
Tuesday, April 4: Leeds vs Nottingham Forest — 2:45pm ET
Saturday, April 8: Leicester vs AFC Bournemouth — 10am ET
Saturday, April 8: Leeds vs Crystal Palace — 12:30pm ET
Saturday, April 15: Southampton vs Crystal Palace — 10am ET
Saturday, April 22: Crystal Palace vs Everton — 10am ET
Saturday, April 22: Leicester vs Wolves — 10am ET
Sunday, April 23: AFC Bournemouth vs West Ham — 9am ET
Tuesday, April 25: Wolves vs Crystal Palace — 2:30pm ET
Tuesday, April 25: Leeds vs Leicester — 2:45pm ET
Thursday, April 27: Southampton vs AFC Bournemouth — 2:45pm ET
Saturday, April 29: Crystal Palace vs West Ham — 7:30am ET
Sunday, April 30: AFC Bournemouth vs Leeds — 9am ET
Monday, May 1: Leicester vs Everton — 3pm ET
Saturday, May 6: Nottingham Forest vs Southampton — Time TBD
Saturday, May 13: Crystal Palace vs Bournemouth — Time TBD
Saturday, May 20: West Ham vs Leeds — Time TBD
Sunday, May 28: Crystal Palace vs Nottingham Forest — Time TBD
Sunday, May 28: Everton vs AFC Bournemouth — Time TBD
Sunday, May 28: Leicester vs West Ham — Time TBD
Premier League relegation odds (As of March 28, 2023)