October could be a make-or-break month in Real Madrid’s season, with the team playing nine games in the 31 days. Simply put, the focus will be on Carlo Ancelotti to manage his resources well and keep all players in top shape.
The month begins with Los Blancos’ clash against Osasuna at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday night. One can expect several rotations on the night, given that the team’s next game is in less than three days’ time.
According to reports from AS, Dani Ceballos will replace Luka Modric in the next two games and is expected to start against both Osasuna and Shakhtar.
The Croatian international returned with a minor injury during the recent break and will be protected with the El Clasico in mind.
In the final third, Rodrygo Goes is expected to start on the right wing. Moreover, Karim Benzema will also make his return from injury against Osasuna but is unlikely to play the full game.
Aurelien Tchouameni and Toni Kroos are expected to complete the midfield alongside Ceballos on the night. The third member in attack alongside Benzema and Rodrygo will undoubtedly be Vinicius Jr.
Real Madrid have not dropped a single point across all competitions this season. If Ancelotti’s men can hold onto their streak in the most tightly-packed month of the season, it will be a massive boost ahead of the upcoming World Cup hiatus.
Osasuna have had an explosive start to their season with four wins in six games. The Pamplona-based side sits fifth in the league standings ahead of Villarreal and Atletico Madrid.
One can expect a cracker of a competition when Real Madrid host them on Sunday. Needless to say, it will be the perfect stage for the likes of Ceballos to prove their abilities and stake claim for more minutes in the future.
Ancelotti considering playing a makeshift centre-back pairing for Real Madrid against Valencia – report
Real Madrid will take on Valencia on Saturday, looking to maintain their solid lead at the top of the league table.
The Spanish giants are leading the standing with a six-point lead over Girona. A win against Valencia could help them solidify their position at the top while potentially opening up an opportunity to extend the lead to more than six points.
Heading into this game, though, Carlo Ancelotti is facing multiple setbacks, especially in the defensive unit, with Eder Militao, David Alaba and Thibaut Courtois still missing due to injuries.
This will once again put pressure on Ancelotti, as far as the team selection is concerned.
Rudiger & Tchouameni to partner at centre-back vs Valencia
Fortunately for the Real Madrid coach, much of his experimentations this season have worked, including Aurelien Tchouameni’s supreme performances at centre-back.
With that in mind, Diario AS reports Ancelotti is considering playing a makeshift central defensive pair against Valencia, comprising Antonio Rudiger and Tchouameni.
This is not the first time the young Frenchman will have to accompany Rudiger at centre-back. He did so earlier in the year when Real Madrid took on RCD Mallorca.
Interestingly, Real Madrid were able to retain a clean sheet, with Rudiger scoring the winning goal, in a narrow 1-0 victory.
What are Ancelotti’s other options?
Ancelotti will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around. However, it must be noted that the Italian will be boosted by the return of Dani Carvajal from suspension.
The veteran Spaniard can be an option at centre-back. But given the way how Tchouameni has impressed onlookers with his performances at centre-back, there is very little reason why he shouldn’t continue in the position.
Tchouameni has even been compared to Javier Mascherano by former Spanish coach Roberto Moreno.
Other than Carvajal, though, Nacho Fernandez is another option for Ancelotti. But the veteran defender is suffering with discomfort and Ancelotti has no plans to risk it.