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Benzema, Camavinga start in a 4-3-3: How Real Madrid could lineup against Valladolid



Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Jose Zorilla will see Real Madrid’s first action after the restart of club football on Friday night. Carlo Ancelotti’s side face off against Pacheta’s men in a fixture they have not lost since 2008. Yet, one cannot predict the form of either team coming off a long hiatus.

Valladolid sit 13th on the league table with five wins in fourteen games. Their start to the new season has been far from ideal, but it is equally true that Real Madrid have not hit top gear yet this season.

With 24 games left in the season, it is time for the men in white to fasten their seatbelts and press the accelerator. The right start tomorrow could serve to propel them to good momentum, but a loss at Valladolid would be devastating.

Madrid Universal brings you the predicted lineup ahead of Real Madrid’s awaited clash tomorrow.


To have conceded fourteen goals in fourteen appearances is not something one would usually associate with Real Madrid. Yet, such has been the story of the Whites this season – starkly underwhelming in defence.

Thibaut Courtois has failed to keep a single clean sheet in ten La Liga appearances so far this season. While the Belgian is certainly not the only party responsible for the despicable numbers, he will be amongst the most determined to turn it around on Friday.

Courtois’ goal will be guarded by the centre-back pairing of Antonio Rudiger and David Alaba. The former had a decent campaign for the German national team in Qatar but still has a lot to prove when given a chance by the manager. Meanwhile, his defensive partner is coming back from a month-long break from football.

AlaBack. (Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Getty Images)

A lot has been said about Ferland Mendy and his poor attacking ability recently. The youngster will be under the limelight now more than ever and must turn up big to shut his haters and solidify his place in Ancelotti’s plans. He could start at left-back.

The duties on the other side of defence will likely be taken by Daniel Carvajal who had little to contribute to Luis Enrique’s set-up in the past month. He is as fresh as the day he left and will look to dominate Sergio Escudero on the night.

Luka Modric, Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga will all be available at the manager’s disposal at Jose Zorilla, but it is only the 20-year-old who has a chance to start. Needless to say, Tchouameni and Modric deserve the rest after phenomenal runs in Qatar.

Camavinga will likely start alongside Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde against Real Valladolid. The German has been a regular difference-maker for Real Madrid this season, averaging close to two key passes per game.

Meanwhile, Valverde’s campaign so far has been nothing short of flabbergasting, as he boasts of six goals and two assists in just 14 appearances. Back home after a long break, the youngster will look to take his career-best season to new heights.

Vinicius Jr. was one of Brail’s primary protagonists on the field last month. He started four games, scoring one goal and providing two assists. Back in the white colours of Real Madrid, the young phenom will start on the left wing and get straight back to business.

The protege could be accompanied by Marco Asensio on the right wing at Jose Zorilla as Ancelotti tries a formula rarely used before in the season.

The Spaniard may have endured a difficult start to the season, but all signals point that his importance in the team will only grow from this point on.

The final piece in the starting XI will be Karim Benzema. The French striker has been all over the news in the last week after his ex-agent publicly revealed that the striker was fit for France’s knockout games in the World Cup but was sent home by Deschamps for personal vengeance.

Having announced his international retirement, Benzema’s full focus is now on Real Madrid. On Friday night, he will look to grab the new start by the collar and blitz out his best moves.

Vinicius · Benzema · Asensio
Valverde · Kroos · Valverde
Mendy · Alaba · Rudiger · Carvajal


Luka Modric is a player who just cannot be kept out of the action for long. Despite his ripe age and recent fatigue, he could be involved in the second half.

Aurelien Tchouameni has already proven to be a gem on the biggest stages in the world and is indispensable to Ancelotti’s plans. He could come on in the second half for Camavinga.

Dani Ceballos and Lucas Vazquez could be called upon to bring fresh legs, and Ancelotti could also deploy Rodrygo to shuffle the attack.

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Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Las Palmas | La Liga



Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

The heartbreak at Civitas Metropolitano saw Real Madrid drop down to third on the La Liga standings for the first time this season. They now sit on 15 points from six games, only one point behind leaders Barcelona.

Yet, there is barely time for the team to recover. Less than 72 hours after their defeat, the Merengues play host to Las Palmas in the seventh Matchday of La Liga in a tricky fixture.

Garcia Pimienta’s side have improved leaps and bounds in recent times, although their start to the new season has been far from positive.

Las Palmas were winless in their first five league games but picked up a first win in their most recent outing against Granada.

With the visitors coming off their first win and the hosts their first loss, it will be interesting to see how the game of momentum plays out.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Wednesday’s clash at Santiago Bernabeu.

The important reaction

Having secured six wins in six games under their belt, the threat of breaking the moment was always lurking around the corner from Real Madrid. After all, their wins to that point were not always convincing.

Jude Bellingham’s magic, Joselu’s constant threat and the talented midfield helped Los Blancos on their way to scrappy wins over the weeks. Yet, it was always glaringly clear that they had deficiencies in defence and the final third.

All of Real Madrid’s troubles came to the forefront on Sunday and were left glaringly exposed. The end result was a defeat that left a bitter taste in the mouths of players and fans.

Despite facing their first setback of the season, however, the men in white have no time to lament. After all, the hectic schedule leaves them little time between games.

It is thus of utmost importance that Real Madrid does not slip into a vicious state of negative momentum. As they face off against Las Palmas midweek, Carlo Ancelotti’s side needs a strong and dominant win to keep spirits high.

Considering that they will be back at the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid will be the favourites by far on the night. Nevertheless, there will be pressure on the players to take all three points.

Limelight on the manager

Under the cosh. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

The aftermath of the defeat to Atletico Madrid sent ripples through the Spanish media. It was reported that the Real Madrid board was not entirely happy with the list of ‘sins’ committed by Ancelotti in the clash at Civitas Metropolitano.

It thus goes without saying that the limelight will be on the manager on Wednesday.

For starters, the Italian gaffer must get the starting lineup right and not go overboard with his rotations. Aurelien Tchouameni is a must for the Merengues’ defensive efforts and must be introduced back into the lineup midweek.

Moreover, there will be pressure on him to revert to the winning 4-4-2 diamond formation featuring two natural forwards including a striker.

With Joselu returning to the lineup, Jude Bellingham must shift back to his more comfortable attacking midfield role.

Moreover, the manager must strike the right balance between youth and experience, for both Toni Kroos and Luka Modric can no longer start together.

Perhaps the most important job Ancelotti is faced with, however, is in defence. Both David Alaba and Antonio Rudiger appeared lost in the last game, and it remains to be seen if the manager ropes Nacho Fernandez in to strike a better dynamic.

Return of the magician

While Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao are amongst Real Madrid’s most valuable players, it is Vinicius Jr’s injury that hit the club the hardest.

The Merengues unfortunately have a very thin and fragile forward line this season with just three players competing for two spots. Of the three names, Vinicius is the single most important one.

The Brazilian star may not have started the 2023-24 season at his optimal level considering his altered role in the new formation. Yet, he is the Merengues’ most lethal weapon to break open defences and create chances.

The men in white have had problems since the Selecao star hobbled off the field injured against Celta Vigo.

Their games against Getafe and Union Berlin were both down to last-gasp winners, while the defeat to Atletico Madrid showed everything wrong with the team.

Vinicius Jr is set to make his return in tomorrow’s clash at Santiago Bernabeu, and there could be no better news for Ancelotti.

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