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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 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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