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Benzema, Ceballos start in a 4-3-3: How Real Madrid could line up against Almeria

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Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be aiming to return to winning ways in La Liga when they take on UD Almeria at the Santiago Bernabeu later today.

The reigning champions of Spain kissed goodbye to their hopes of retaining the title after the harrowing 4-2 defeat to Girona earlier this week. Even though leaders Barcelona lost their game against Rayo Vallecano, they still have an 11-point lead with seven games left.

While there still remains a mathematical possibility for Real Madrid, a comeback in the title race seems highly improbable. But it is still necessary for them to generate some winning momentum ahead of important games in other competitions, making the match against Almeria important.

However, manager Carlo Ancelotti will have to make do without his ace midfielder Luka Modric, who is sidelined for at least two weeks with a hamstring injury. Apart from him, David Alaba and Ferland Mendy still remain unavailable as well.

With the game set to kick off at the Santiago Bernabeu in less than 12 hours, let’s take a look at how Real Madrid could line up against Almeria.

Starters

Thibaut Courtois is back in the squad after missing the game against Girona due to gastroenteritis. He is certain to replace Andriy Lunin in goal after the Ukrainian had a night to forget in Catalonia in midweek.

Moving into the defensive unit, Eder Militao and Antonio Rudiger are expected to continue as the centre-backs. But Carlo Ancelotti will expect a much better performance from the pair after they fell apart in the midweek game.

Eduardo Camavinga should resume duties at left-back, while Lucas Vazquez could get a run-out at right-back with Dani Carvajal likely to be rested keeping in mind the upcoming matches.

Ceballos to replace Modric. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Dani Ceballos is back after serving his one-match suspension and will, in all likelihood, replace the injured Luka Modric in the lineup, something that Ancelotti hinted at in his press conference.

Toni Kroos should be rested with an eye on the next matches, opening the way for Aurelien Tchouameni to return to the lineup as the pivot midfielder. Federico Valverde should complete the three-man midfield unit for Real Madrid.

Karim Benzema is back in the squad after recovering from a knock that kept him out against Girona. Given his quest for the Pichichi Trophy, the Real Madrid captain is expected to start today against Almeria.

As for his partners in attack, Vinicius Jr, who scored and assisted a goal in midweek, is pretty much guaranteed to feature, while Marco Asensio might get the nod over Rodrygo Goes on the right flank.

Vinicius · Benzema · Asensio
Ceballos · Tchouameni · Valverde
Camavinga · Rudiger · Militao · Vazquez
Courtois

Substitutes

Rodrygo, in case he does not start, is bound to come onto the pitch at some point in the second period. Toni Kroos could be sent on by Carlo Ancelotti, especially if things are not going Real Madrid’s way on the evening.

Jesus Vallejo and Mariano Diaz could get some minutes late on depending on the situation of the contest.

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Camavinga, Tchouameni start in a 4-3-1-2: How Real Madrid could line up against Barcelona

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will be aiming to get a step closer to lifting the La Liga title when they face off against FC Barcelona later tonight at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real Madrid are currently seated atop the league table, eight points clear of Barça in second place. And another win tonight would stretch the lead to 11 points, all but guaranteeing their coronation as Spanish champions.

It will not be easy with Barcelona motivated after their defeat against PSG in the UEFA Champions League while fatigue could also be a factor after Los Blancos toiled it out for 120 minutes against Man City earlier this week.

Heading into the game, Real Madrid have one fitness concern as Ferland Mendy did not train on Saturday due to some overload in his left leg, although he was included in the squad list by Carlo Ancelotti.

Thibaut Courtois and David Alaba are the only injury-enforced absentees for the league leaders and here’s how Real Madrid could line up tonight against Xavi Hernandez’s side.

Starters

Fresh off his penalty shootout heroics against Manchester City, Andriy Lunin will guard Real Madrid’s goal again and hope to help his team to another crucial victory.

Antonio Rudiger has been in brilliant form this season and is a guaranteed starter at the heart of the Merengues’ defence. The German international should pair up with club captain Nacho Fernandez to stop Robert Lewandowski & co.

Even though there has been some chatter about Lucas Vazquez starting at right-back, Dani Carvajal is expected to get the nod as usual.

Mendy’s possible absence, however, could pave the way for Eduardo Camavinga to start at left-back for Real Madrid, with Ancelotti likely to trust the French midfielder in a makeshift role over Fran Garcia.

Camavinga could fill in at left-back. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Aurelien Tchouameni is back after missing the Manchester City game through suspension and will slot in as the defensive midfielder against Barcelona.

Federico Valverde and Toni Kroos will take up the two interior midfield positions for Real Madrid while Jude Bellingham will operate as the lone attacking midfielder.

However, it will not be a surprise to see Real Madrid transition into a 4-4-2 with Valverde and Bellingham moving out wide on the right and left flanks, respectively.

Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Jr. are the undisputed starters up top in attack, with the former likely to operate from the left after his recent success while the latter will play slightly more centrally.

Real Madrid Predicted Lineup: Lunin, Carvajal, Rudiger, Nacho, Camavinga, Tchouameni, Valverde, Kroos, Bellingham, Vinicius, Rodrygo.

Substitutes

Brahim Diaz and Luka Modric are players that Carlo Ancelotti counts on from the bench for every game and that will not change tonight against Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Joselu is also an option that Ancelotti could turn to if he wished to change things up in the attacking unit.

Eder Militao could also get some minutes, depending on the game situation, as Ancelotti hopes to get the Brazilian into match-rhythm in time to face Bayern Munich.

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