How Real Madrid could lineup against Chelsea
Real Madrid would have hoped for better circumstances leading into a clash as important as Wednesday’s.
The team had a shaky outing against Celta Vigo at the weekend, and three penalties in their favour helped them secure the three points. Moreover, the 4-0 drubbing to Barcelona is still fresh in the players’ minds.
With the league title almost secured, Ancelotti’s side now place their complete focus on the UEFA Champions League. Los Blancos face Chelsea in the quarterfinals, and the first leg will be at Stamford bridge.
Last season, it was the London-based side that ended Real Madrid’s run in the Champions League with a 3-1 win on aggregate in the semifinals. Less than a year later, the men in white will look for redemption. Here is how Real Madrid could lineup against Chelsea.
La Liga’s player of the month for February, Thibaut Courtois will start in goal for Real Madrid. The Belgian has only conceded 0.6 goals per game in the UCL this season, making four saves per game. Moreover, he has four clean sheets in eight appearances. He will be one of the most vital players on the field as Chelsea look to capitalise on their home advantage.
David Alaba will take charge in central defense after a shaky display at the weekend. The Austrian international has been one of Ancelotti’s most trusted players this season and will look to prove his worth on the night.
Alaba will likely be paired with Eder Militao with whom he has struck up a great partnership. The Brazilian had an unbelievable performance against Celta Vigo, making four clearances, 2 interceptions, a tackle and a blocked shot.
Ferland Mendy is one of the most underrated players in the team, and his importance was revealed in the Clasico when the left flank fell apart in his absence. Up against the experienced Cesar Azpilicueta, Mendy will have to step up and breathe life into the left-wing.
The right-back position will be covered by Dani Carvajal. The Spanish international has started six of Real Madrid’s last eight UCL fixtures and averages 1.2 key passes per game. Yet, he will have to be cautious in the defensive part of his game as he has often given away penalties this season.
The midfield is one department where there is no doubt over the personnel. Madrid’s trio will be motivated to take revenge against a Chelsea midfield that trampled them last season.
Casemiro will start as the defensive midfielder at Stamford Bridge. The Brazilian averages 2.6 tackles, 1.3 interceptions, and 1.4 clearances per game in the UCL this season. With N’Golo Kante pulling the strings of the opposition’s midfield, the Brazilian will have his work cut out for him.
Luka Modric and Toni Kroos will complete the midfield on the night. The duo have 3 goals and eight assists among them this season in the League alone. The clash in London will largely be decided in the middle of the park, and the veterans will have to be at the top of their game to see their side through.
Karim Benzema scored two goals against Celta Vigo on his return from injury, proving to the world why he is one of the best strikers at the moment. He has already scored eight goals in the UCL this season. Moreover, it was his second-half hattrick that helped Ancelotti’s side qualify for the quarter-finals. Needless to say, the spotlight will be on the Frenchman.
Starting on the left wing will be Vinicius Jr. The Brazilian has had a relatively quiet two months and will be itching for one clutch performance to get him back on track. What better game to step up than the quarterfinals of the Champions League?
The final spot in the lineup will most likely be taken by Marco Asensio. While Rodrygo makes an equally strong case to start, the Spaniard’s ability to pull a goal out of nowhere will be given preference against Chelsea.
The first department to warrant changes will be the aging midfield, and Ancelotti could turn to Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga to make an impact.
Rodrygo will be a player to keep an eye out for as well. The Brazilian is expected to feature in the final 30 minutes, and his pace could be Chelsea’s undoing.
If Los Blancos manage to secure a lead, Nacho Fernandez will very likely come on to sit back and defend their advantage.
Three talking points ahead of Sevilla vs Real Madrid
Real Madrid’s 2-1 win over Real Valladolid was far from convincing. They may have been the more effective side, but the Merengues were far from being the better team against Andoni Iraola’s men.
Saturday brings with it the team’s penultimate game of the campaign as Real Madrid take on Sevilla. The Andalusian side have not been impressive in La Liga this season but have always been one to turn up against the big teams. Tomorrow’s game is expected to be no different.
Carlo Ancelotti is expected to make drastic changes ahead of kickoff, especially given the incomplete squad travelling for the game. Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Sevilla vs Real Madrid.
1. Final game on the road
The 2022-23 season has flown by in the blink of an eye. It may have been a rocky campaign and could have ended with better results, but there is a feeling that the squad has a lot to take away from the season as it is.
From the highs of completing a special Copa del Rey comeback win over Barcelona to the lows of losing three successive Clasicos, the men in white have seen it all. As the season now approaches the curtain-closing phase, Carlo Ancelotti and his men will be eager for a strong finish.
Sunday night will see the Merengues‘ final away game of the season as they travel to Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan to take on Sevilla. The 2021-22 champions have not had the best of seasons on the road in La Liga this season and a statement finish would go a long way in boosting the morale.
Sevilla have been far from their best this campaign domestically. Though they are well placed to taste glory in the UEFA Europa League once again, they languish in tenth place on the league standings with just 13 wins in 36 games.
Los Blancos boast a fine record at Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan and are unbeaten at the stadium in their last eight appearances. Their last defeat at the venue came back in 2018, and the objective tonight will be to extend the aforementioned streak.
2. Tchouameni’s point to prove
As much as Aurelien Tchouameni’s initial months at the club were called paradise, the Frenchman has not had life easy at Real Madrid in his first season.
The Frenchman initially stepped in as a more than able replacement for Casemiro in the middle of the park. His astute reading of the game and defensive awareness made him a monster in midfield and his position in the starting lineup appeared safe.
Tchouameni’s situation, however, took a steep turn after the FIFA World Cup. Coming back from a fatiguing World Cup and a minor niggle, the defensive midfielder no longer found his name on the starting lineup as he became second fiddle to Eduardo Camavinga.
The entry of Toni Kroos as an option for the pivot role further reduced the Frenchman’s involvement.
The youngster thus has a point to prove on Sunday night. He is expected to start at the Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan and will look to orchestrate the team’s play from deep in midfield whilst holding the fortress simultaneously. After all, it could be his final chance to prove his worth ahead of the new season.
3. Only three forwards
Real Madrid’s squad list only names three forwards making the trip to Seville to take on Jose Luis Mendilibar’s side – Rodrygo Goes, Eden Hazard, and Alvaro Rodriguez.
The manager does have a fourth option in Federico Valverde and could look to mix and match his options on the night. However, Carlo Ancelotti maintained a low profile on the starting lineup ahead of Sunday’s clash, especially when asked about Eden Hazard’s chances of participating.
Given that it is the team’s penultimate game of the season, Ancelotti could well look to start all three pure forwards on the night. After all, each has their own special reason to participate.
For Hazard, the game against Sevilla could well be his final away game in a Real Madrid shirt. The Belgian is reluctant to leave the club at the moment, but everything could change in June if he begins to attract interest.
In Alvaro Rodriguez’s case, tomorrow’s game presents itself as an audition to seal a place in next season’s dynamics. The youngster has impressed whenever given the chance so far and will look to keep his high level going.
Rodrygo Goes, arguably, needs the game the least of the three candidates. Yet, with Ancelotti publicly asking him to take more prominence, he has a point to prove.