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How Real Madrid could line up against Barcelona

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Photo by Rafa Babot/Getty Images

Real Madrid will welcome Barcelona to the Camp Nou with open arms tonight as they look to solidify their position on top of the table. With both teams in excellent form, a win for Madrid could go a long way in raising morale, especially during the business end of the season.

However, there are a lot of concerns for Carlo Ancelotti to deal with, starting with the absence of Karim Benzema. The Frenchman picked up an injury vs Mallorca and has been ruled out of the El Clasico.

Secondly, who starts at left-back since Ferland Mendy has been sidelined as well? Marcelo offers a lot more in possession, but Nacho can do a much better job defensively against one of Ousmane Dembele or Adama Traore.

Join Madrid Universal as we try to predict how Ancelotti will plug these two holes, and others, ahead of the all-important El Clasico.

Defence

Oh-so-often Real Madrid’s saviour, Thibaut Courtois will be called into action multiple times against this Barcelona side, who have not had trouble scoring goals.

A four-man defence will be screening him, with Eder Militao and David Alaba at the heart of it. The duo was monumental during the last Clasico, held as part of the Spanish Super Cup in Dubai, and will be hoping to replicate the same tonight.

We expect Ancelotti to choose Nacho to flank the centre-backs from the left side in the hope of solidifying the defence. Dani Carvajal will start over Lucas Vazquez as the right-back.

Midfield

Little to no doubts over the starting midfielders tomorrow. Casemiro has been the Clasico hero so often this season, and should get the nod at defensive midfield. He will be joined by his usual partners in what is expected to be a 4-3-3.

Toni Kroos will likely start on the left side of Casemiro, while Luka Modric will, in all probability, take over responsibilities on the other side of the midfield trident.

Attack

The biggest question is who will replace Benzema to spearhead the attacking trio. Ancelotti named five different players who could replace him, but we expect him to go with Gareth Bale as the striker.

Bale in for Benzema. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The Welshman has been deployed there multiple times this season, and is the only one who could successfully offer the same aerial threat and ball-striking technique that Benzema does.

The left-wing is pretty much straightforward. Vinicius Jr. has been a revelation for Madrid this season with 14 goals and six assists in the league. There is no question that he will be the ‘leader’ in the attack.

The right side, however, is a toss up between Marco Asensio and Rodrygo. The latter adds defensive depth and work-rate to the forward line, but we expect the former to start owing to his goal-scoring prowess.

Predicted Real Madrid XI:

Courtois
Carvajal · Militao · Alaba · Nacho
Modric · Casemiro · Kroos
Asensio · Bale · Vinicius

The bench

There is a solid possibility that we will get to see one or both of Eduardo Camavinga and Federico Valverde come off the bench to replace the starting midfielders.

Rodrygo and Eden Hazard are the usual suspects that have come off the bench this season, and could be called upon to add more attacking depth if Madrid are chasing the game.

The same goes for Marcelo, who can single-handedly change the outlook of the game with a single cross or through-ball. He could come in to replace Nacho. And on the right side, Lucas Vazquez could be called up on to sub off Carvajal.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid superstar drawing inspiration from win vs Barcelona ahead of Man City showdown

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Photo by Rafa Babot/Getty Images

Real Madrid players will be pumped up as they take on Manchester City on Wednesday, in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.

Real Madrid face a daunting task of beating Man City at the Etihad, after drawing 3-3 in the first leg. It must be noted that Los Blancos do not have a good record against Man City, losing twice in their last three meetings.

Vinicius Jr. pumped to defeat Man City

Despite the might of the opposition, confidence and optimism remain high in the Real Madrid camp, with Vinicius Jr., in particular, determined to defeat Man City, reports MARCA.

The Brazilian considers Man City as their main rival, especially given the way Real Madrid have performed against the English champions in recent years.

In the last three meetings between these two sides, Man City have won twice in 2020 and 2023, while Real Madrid secured a majestic victory in 2022.

Man City certainly have the home advantage heading into this fixture, but their might could be tested against a Real Madrid side keen on proving a point.

Vinicius determined to defeat Man City. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Vinicius takes Barça win as a reference

Vinicius Jr.’s hopes of defeating Man City and reaching the semifinal stage have been reinforced by the belief that the club can turn things around, just as they did against Barcelona last season.

Back in April 2023, Real Madrid and Barcelona locked horns in the semifinal of the Copa Del Rey. Real Madrid succumbed to a 0-1 defeat in the first leg and required a turnaround in the second leg at Camp Nou.

Sure enough, Real Madrid players stepped up to the plate and secured a majestic 4-0 victory to secure a place in the Copa Del Rey final. Vinicius and Karim Benzema, in particular, were the star performers for Los Blancos.

Although one would expect Man City to offer a much tougher fight, Vinicius remains confident of the club’s ability to stage a turnaround, as the two teams lock horns on Wednesday.

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