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How Real Madrid could lineup against Chelsea

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Photo by Rafa Babot/Getty Images

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.

Defense

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.

Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

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.

Midfield

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.

Forward

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.

Photo by JAIME REINA/AFP via Getty Images

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.

Substitutes

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.

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Features

Real Madrid 1-0 Sevilla: Player Ratings

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Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

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.

Nacho: 6

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.

Rodrygo: 7

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.

SUBSTITUTES

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.

Dani Ceballos: N/A

Alvaro Rodriguez: N/A

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