Real Madrid are just seven points away from sealing the La Liga title after Barcelona’s slip up against Cadiz at the weekend. However, there is sufficient time ahead for Ancelotti’s side to deal with the league.
On Wednesday, Los Blancos step onto the pitch with only one goal in mind — the game against Manchester City next week.
The Champions League semi-finals gives Real Madrid the chance to finish with three trophies this season, something the team would not want to compromise on.
Carlo Ancelotti must deal with one clash before the big game, and that will be at El Sadar against Osasuna. Los Blancos have not lost in their last 15 outings against the hosts and will look to improve that record on the night.
Madrid Universal takes a shot at the lineup Madrid could start with tomorrow night.
Heavy rotations are expected for the league clash, but one player who will start regardless is Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian shot-stopper has been amongst the team’s top three performers this season and will hope to stay in fine touch ahead of next week’s clash.
In central defence, David Alaba will be the centre-piece. The Austrian international has been far from perfect in recent games, especially his display against Chelsea in the second leg. He will look to make amends against Osasuna.
Eder Militao is expected to start alongside Alaba. The 24-year-old has had a great season under Ancelotti and recorded two tackles and one clearance against Sevilla. However, given the fact that Real Madrid’s defence have conceded five goals in two games in worrying.
Daniel Carvajal was the man of the match against Sevilla as he assisted two goals for his side in their comeback win. He will start at left-back given that Ferland Mendy and Marcelo will be unavailable. At right-back, one could expect Lucas Vazquez to start.
Changes are expected in midfield. Casemiro suffered a fitness blow during training on Monday and will certainly miss the midweek game. However, he is expected to return for the game against Pep Guardiola’s side. Eduardo Camavinga starts in that role, most probably.
Luka Modric will get a deserved rest, too, as was confirmed by Carlo Ancelotti. Federico Valverde will likely take his place in the lineup. The Uruguayan effectively played as as a right-winger in the last game but will be back to his usual duties tomorrow.
The final place in midfield has Toni Kroos’ name written on it. The German will have to step up against Osasuna and lead from the front, especially considering his mediocre performances in recent games.
Ancelotti already revealed that Karim Benzema will be the striker against Arrasate’s team. The Frenchman once again scored a last-minute winner against Sevilla, much like his winning goal in the previous game against Chelsea.
Vincius Jr will start on the left-wing. The Brazilian has proven himself to be an undisputed starter this season under the Italian manager.
The final player in the lineup will be Rodrygo. The youngster earns his spot purely through merit accumulated in recent games. Against Chelsea, he scored the all-important equaliser, and the first of three goals vs Julien Loptegui’s side on the weekend.
Having a player of Luka Modric’s quality on the bench is the king of luxuries that a manager can have. While Ancelotti will look to minimise the Croatian’s involvement in tomorrow’s game, it goes without saying that the veteran can be valuable off the bench.
Marco Asensio could come on in the second half, especially if Los Blancos find themselves trailing. He has not scored since early March, and will push to prove his worth.
Nacho Fernandez could come on for the final ten minutes to relieve literally any of the back-four of their duties. The same goes for Rafa Marin, who has been called up from Real Madrid Castilla, but not given any minutes yet.
Finally, given the importance of the City game in midweek, it would not be farfetched to see Dani Ceballos to get some minutes in place of Kroos, who needs to be at his best.
Three talking points ahead of RCD Mallorca vs Real Madrid
Real Madrid have seldom struggled against RCD Mallorca in recent years. The men in white have scored a whopping 15 goals in their last four games against the Palma-based side and their last loss versus them came back in 2019.
If this season’s numbers are anything to go by, however, it would be wrong to overlook Javier Aguirre’s side. Mallorca have won seven of their nineteen La Liga games so far and sit in tenth place with 25 points.
While they have not scored a lot this campaign, they have conceded the fourth-least goals in the Spanish top flight and have an excellent defensive record.
Real Madrid play Mallorca before Barcelona’s game on Sunday and have a chance to reduce the deficit at the top of the table to two points temporarily if they can win at Son Moix.
Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Mallorca vs Real Madrid.
1. Tchouameni time again?
Aurelien Tchouameni spent close to a month on the sidelines after hobbling off injured in Real Madrid’s clash against Villarreal last month.
In the defensive midfielder’s absence, Carlo Ancelotti was forced to patch the void with unconventional options including Dani Ceballos, Eduardo Camavinga and Toni Kroos as the pivot.
The Frenchman finally made his awaited comeback to the squad in the team’s game against Valencia midweek. As he was returning from a relatively long time on the sidelines, Ancelotti preferred to have him start on the bench.
Tchouameni eventually entered the field in the 66th minute of the game when Toni Kroos asked to be substituted out for precaution. In his 24 minutes on the field, the youngster was almost flawless with 97% passes completed and 100% accurate long balls.
As Los Blancos gear up to play their second game in three days, the time could be right to re-incorporate the 23-year-old into the starting lineup. After all, Tchouameni has been one of Real Madrid’s most consistent players this season and it is glaringly clear that they have missed him in recent weeks.
2. Two more casualties
The men in white produced 90 minutes of high-quality football against Los Che on Thursday and reduced the gap with Barcelona to a mere five points. However, the cost of the win was far more than what the manager would have liked to pay.
In return for the three points, Real Madrid saw Karim Benzema and Eder Militao leave the field with injuries to rub salt into Ancelotti’s fresh wounds.
The captain is expected to miss the next two games at least, leaving his team once again without a central striker. In Benzema’s absence, Ancelotti will have to put on his thinking hat and field a forward line that not only creates threats but also has the cutting edge to convert them.
Militao is also unavailable for Sunday’s game. With the Brazilian centre-back ruled out, Real Madrid will likely field a combination of Antonio Rudiger and Nacho Fernandez against Mallorca. After all, David Alaba is also returning fresh from injury and might not be fit to start the game.
3. Can Camavinga convince again?
It is almost criminal that a club of Real Madrid’s stature do not have a natural backup for the left-back position.
Ferland Mendy has been Ancelotti’s most preferred position in the player throughout the season. David Alaba was seen as a possible backup option, and though the Austrian International is capable of playing that role, he does not fancy the left-back position anymore.
When Mendy limped off injured in Real Madrid’s game against Atletico Madrid, Eduardo Camavinga thus emerged as a surprise option to fill his shoes. The youngster started the next two games at left-back and did a reasonable job, even earning praise from the manager.
With Tchouameni back running for the Merengues, the left-back role is the only available vacancy for the French International to claim a starting spot.
With Alaba returning, if Camavinga wishes for continuity as a starter, he must produce another exceptional display on Sunday and stake claim as the left-back until Mendy returns.