Trailing current leaders Girona by a point and a game in hand, Real Madrid will do everything in their power to secure the league title this season. Their pursuit continues tomorrow in the Canary Islands as they lock horns against Las Palmas.
Madrid have still only lost one game in the league so far this season, and have conceded the fewest goals — 13 — in the process. However, 8th-placed Las Palmas are far from pushovers.
They have the second-best defensive record in the league, having conceded 17 goals. They also boast of some of the best football under former Barcelona man Garcia Pimienta.
That said, Carlo Ancelotti has pretty much his best-starting lineup available tomorrow, barring the ACL trio of David Alaba, Eder Militao, and Thibaut Courtois, and also Jude Bellingham, who is suspended.
No youth players have been called up for this fixture, and the approach will slightly change, too. With that in mind, Madrid Universal predicts Ancelotti’s XI for tomorrow.
Defence: Lunin over Kepa
Ancelotti has been in two minds over his goalkeeper selection the entire season, with Courtois injured. However, he has confirmed that Andriy Lunin will take charge of the posts tomorrow, and that he could shuffle it around again for the Getafe game.
Daniel Carvajal should be trusted with duties at right-back again after his incredible game-winner against Almeria despite all the controversy. Fran Garcia is expected to be given the nod over Ferland Mendy at left-back.
Nacho was substituted after his disastrous performance in the first-half against Almeria, but will likely be given another chance to start tomorrow in central defence. Antonio Rudiger is expected to retain his spot, too.
Midfield: Kroos controls
Toni Kroos is expected to, and should be one of the players in the midfield trident for Ancelotti tomorrow against a Las Palmas side that plays on the front-foot, controlling the game. The German’s composure and line-breaking passes are bound to be key tomorrow.
Similarly, Aurlien Tchouameni should be given the nod over Eduardo Camavinga, primarily due to his volume passing. The Frenchman played the second half last weekend as a centre-back, and while that is still a real possibility, we expect him to start the game as the pivot.
Finally, Federico Valverde is expected to retain his spot in midfield as one of the most consistent performers for los blancos this season.
Attack: Brahim replaced Jude
Ancelotti will definitely tweak his system to an extent tomorrow, and introduce Brahim Diaz in place of Jude Bellingham in the attacking midfield hole, playing off Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr, who start as the twin-forwards.
However, Diaz is expected to move towards the right while Rodrygo controls central positions as the false 9. This will also allow Vinicius to have free access to his favourable left flank, resembling a 4-3-3 in possession.
Vinicius · Rodrygo
Kroos · Tchouameni · Valverde
Garcia · Nacho · Rudiger · Carvajal
Eduardo Camavinga should be one of the first names Ancelotti introduces tomorrow, probably in midfield. The Frenchman deserves more continuity in the team, but for now, will have to stick to bench role.
Luka Modric was kept as an unused substitute against Almeria, but there is little to no chance that he remains on the bench for two games running. The same goes with Arda Guler, who is now fit and gunning to participate.
We can also expect an appearance for Joselu, who was praised by Ancelotti during his press conference today, while Ferland Mendy could also make a cameo.
Real Madrid 1-0 Sevilla: Player Ratings
Following Barcelona’s convincing 4-0 win against Getafe yesterday, the onus was on Real Madrid to reinstate the eight-point gap between the sides as they hosted Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu today.
Lucas Vazquez opened the scoring for los blancos after ten minutes, but the goal was controversially disallowed for a foul on Youssef En-Nesyri in the build-up.
Madrid found it difficult to unlock Sevilla’s defence after that, with the first-half ending 0-0 after just one shot on target from both teams combined.
Madrid started the second 45 with more intent, creating some better scoring opportunities, but were left without success until an unbelievable effort from Luka Modric scathed the post and went in.
Sergio Ramos put in a wonderful performance on his return to the Santiago Bernabeu for Sevilla, but it was not enough as Madrid escaped with all three points and an eight-point lead on top of the table.
Andriy Lunin: 8
Was not called into action in the first-half, and was pretty much faultless in possession. But made an incredible save off Romero’s effort in the second half and was extremely proactive collecting crosses, too. Game-changing.
Lucas Vazquez: 7
Did a good job overlapping and was unlucky that his goal was disallowed. Did well to deal with Romero and Ocampos defensively.
Antonio Rudiger: 6.5
Rudiger was lucky that Romero and En-Nesyri did not convert their efforts from close range, as he often left space in behind. Went up to attack with the score at 0-0, too, but came back fruitless.
Was substituted off after 75 minutes after an mostly average display. Again, lucky that he was not punished for the space he left behind.
Ferland Mendy: 7
A few decent moves for Mendy today, but for the most part, his inability to overlap properly gave Vinicius too much to do.
Federico Valverde: 8
By far the most active midfielder today, Valverde was everywhere. Ran the show for Madrid, both in possession and stopping counter attacks before they even started. Missed the easiest chance of the game, though.
Aurelien Tchouameni: 6.5
Did his job as the 6 well, kept the game ticking and kept finding the spare man in midfield. Moved back to the defence eventually, and came away with a clean sheet.
Toni Kroos: 7
With Madrid struggling to break through Sevilla’s defence, Kroos was tasked with a lot of deep progression. Created some tame chances here and there, but failed to find properly find a man through.
Brahim Diaz: 7.5
Kept Kike Salas and Ocampos on their toes, making some tremendous solo runs from deep, but was often left without support. Created a brilliant chance for Valverde, that was scuffed.
Did not take many risks in possesion, but was crucial in Vinicius and Brahim finding space on the wing by offering support.
Vinicius Jr: 7.5
With the Sevilla defence looking very organised, the onus was on Vinicius to create something out of nothing. He attempted a few different things, including flicking the ball over players and attempting shots from distance, but all unsuccessful.
Has to be credited for the effort, though, especially with the rest of the team lacking.
Luka Modric: 8.5
Super-sub Luka Modric coming in clutch for Madrid today with his wonder goal from outside the box. Was also brilliant in possession, increasing the tempo of the game.