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Alaba, Militao, Rudiger start together: 4-3-3 Real Madrid predicted lineup against Barcelona



Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid have managed to carry on their spectacular end to last season, winning the Champions League and La Liga, and have translated that into an unbeaten run across all competitions so far this season.

Despite that, though, they sit just shy of Barcelona in La Liga. While both teams are level on points, the Catalans’ superior goal difference perches them top of the league.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men will be looking to change that today as they host Barça for the first El Clasico of the season.

Madrid are well prepared for the game, missing just Thibaut Courtois for the clash. And while that could prove to be a lethal absence, they have all other members of the starting lineup fit.

Speaking of which, Los Blancos rotated heavily vs Shakhtar Donetsk, but will grace the Bernabeu with their best team today.


In Courtois’ absence, there is little to no doubt who will don the gloves for El Clasico – Andriy Lunin. The Ukrainian has been decent in goal for the past few games, adding the element of playing out comfortably from the back.

While Ferland Mendy has done well as Madrid’s starting left-back, Ancelotti could resort to using David Alaba in that role tomorrow. He even hinted about the same during his pre-game press conference.

Eder Militao will return to the lineup, while Antonio Rudiger retains his spot after scoring the equaliser in the Champions League. We round off the lineup with Dani Carvajal on the right side of the backline.

The midfield should be rather easy to choose. Eduardo Camavinga has not quite replicated his performances from last season, and will start from the bench, while Luka Modric is expected to return to the XI.

Toni Kroos will be hoping to keep up his performance from midweek, taking his place in the centre of the park alongside Aurelien Tchouameni.

The attack picks itself, as it has so often, in big games under Carlo Ancelotti. Federico Valverde should get the nod at right-wing owing to his incredible form, work-rate, and his past performances against Barcelona.

In his aid, we predict Vinicius Jr to return to Ancelott’s team sheet, as the left-winger. Karim Benzema will take on the role of the centre-forward in the attacking trio.

Vinicius · Benzema · Valverde
Kroos · Tchouameni · Modric
Alaba · Rudiger · Militao · Carvajal


Rodrygo and Camavinga gained reputations as Madrid’s game-changers last season. While the former has managed to replicate, and in fact, better his form this campaign, the latter has left a lot to be desired.

Ferland Mendy is an excellent asset for Madrid, even if he does not start. We could see him come on for one of the defenders if the hosts are trailing a game.

Similarly, Ancelotti could rely on the services of Lucas Vazquez as the right-back or even the right-winger. He contributes different things depending on his role, and will prove to be useful one way or another.

Finally, Marco Asensio has seen himself linked to Barcelona over the past few months, but tomorrow, he will be hoping to do damage to the Blaugranes‘ defence.

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Three talking points from Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid | La Liga



Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid fell to a 2-1 defeat against Barcelona on their first trip to Spotify Camp Nou after more than a year.

The Catalans had not won against the Merengues at home since 2018 ahead of the game but a clutch goal from Franck Kessie helped them turn around the record.

Vinicius Jr opened the scoring early in the game by forcing an error and own goal from Ronald Araujo. The hosts levelled the score in the 45th minute through Sergi Roberto, before the winner arrived in stoppage time.

The game was not without its share of controversy as Real Madrid had a goal disallowed for offside that Ancelotti felt was unfair. Madrid Universal brings you three talking points from the fourth Clasico of the season.

1. Quality of full-backs

Real Madrid have etched their names into history as one of the most deadly counter-attacking teams in world football. Their pacey transitions and shifts of play have traditionally progressed through the wing with unreal speed to catch the opponent off-guard even in a momentary lapse in concentration.

Needless to say, the full-backs have always worked in tandem with the team’s wingers to make such speedy counters possible. The glaring problem at Real Madrid currently is that their full-backs do not provide half as much as they need to.

Los Blancos’ counterattack now seemingly consists of only Vinicius Jr on the left wing making a quick transition to find Karim Benzema. With just one outlet, it is difficult for the men in white to be effective.

The story at Spotify Camp Nou was very similar. Dani Carvajal started as the right-back and had a good showing defensively. Yet, he was virtually absent in the final third and left Real Madrid’s right-wing lifeless. In ninety minutes, he managed no crosses or long balls and had just one key pass.

The story at left-back was equally, if not more abysmal. Nacho Fernandez was the candidate deployed in the position and could also not manage a single cross, long ball or key pass on the night. He was eventually substituted for Ferland Mendy but the Frenchman could not do much either.

The difference in the quality of full-backs between Barcelona and Ancelotti’s side is gaping. The Catalans blazed through the wings on the night with Ronald Araujo and Alejandro Balde who constantly got forward in attack to stretch the men in white. In response, Real Madrid had nothing.

2. A dead right-wing and lack of intensity

Carvajal had a forgettable game (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

It is imperative for any top football team to have the resources to attack both wings, for it is the constant switching of play that triggers errors from the opposition. For a club like Real Madrid to not have such resources is criminal.

The game against Barcelona was completely predictable given that the Merengues’ right wing was nonexistent. Any attack, almost surely, had to come down Vinicius’ wing and this made Barcelona’s defensive work easier.

Dani Carvajal was barely involved in the final third against the Catalans. That, coupled with Federico Valverde’s atrocious showing as the right-winger removed one side of the field from Real Madrid’s game.

Valverde made just 27 passes in 76 minutes and failed to make a single cross on the night. Further, he recorded just one key pass and one accurate long ball in El Clasico.

When Marco Asensio came on for Los Blancos, the equation completely turned around. The winger came on as a direct replacement for Valverde and happened to score the disallowed goal that was millimetres from giving Real Madrid three points.

More importantly, the move for the aforementioned goal was completely down the right flank, a testament to the alarming situation.

3. Goodbye La Liga?

When the clock at Spotify Camp Nou struck 81 minutes, the race for La Liga seemed to be on. Real Madrid had just scored a possible winner and had cut short their deficit with Barcelona to just six points.

Ten minutes later, the scoreline read 2-1 in favour of the hosts. Their lead atop the league standings was suddenly twelve points with just 12 games to go.

History is witness that counting out Real Madrid does not fare well. However, it is difficult to surpass the supposition that the 12-point gap is too wide to bridge.

Los Blancos will continue to fight in the league, but Ancelotti will likely preserve his weapons for the UEFA Champions League where they face a bigger chance at glory.

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