With the summer transfer window done and dusted, Real Madrid will shift their focus back to the season at hand.
The reigning European champions are currently leading La Liga table with three wins on the trot. But they are set to face a stern test on Saturday when they resume their campaign with a home game against Real Betis.
Despite the three wins, Los Blancos cannot afford to drop points in this crucial encounter, especially with their weekend opponent breathing down their necks.
And here, at Madrid Universal, we will take a look at the potential Real Madrid lineup to be fielded against Los Beticos, in what will be the first home game for the defending champions.
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti will keep one eye on the important Champions League opener against Celtic in the middle of next week. As such, we are forecasting at least one change in the defensive unit, from the team that started against Espanyol.
New signing Antonio Rudiger looks likely to drop out of the team, in order to make way for Ferland Mendy. The Frenchman should occupy his role at left-back, with Dani Carvajal starting on the opposite end.
Rudiger’s absence in the defensive unit could see David Alaba shift into the central role. The Austrian international’s experience could be critical in stifling the progress of the Real Betis attackers in the final third.
Alaba should be accompanied by Eder Militao, with the two centre-backs likely to play a key role in covering Thibaut Courtois in goal. Interestingly, the Belgian international is still without a clean sheet so far in La Liga.
The late departure of Casemiro has left a massive void in Real Madrid’s midfield unit. But they have enough numbers to replace the Brazilian international.
Aurelien Tchouameni is primed to operate in the number six role. The young Frenchman’s ability to control the tempo of the game could go a long way in helping Real Madrid have the upper hand in the middle of the park.
Tchouameni should be aided by two highly experienced midfield generals in the form of Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.
Moving into the final third, Real Madrid are once again banking on the services of Karim Benzema. The Frenchman has racked up three goals in three matches so far and is hoping to continue on his merry ways of finding the back of the net against Real Betis.
Vinicius Junior, too, has picked up where he had left off last season, by mustering a couple of goals and an assist. There is no reason why he should not continue out on the flanks, as Real Madrid look to continue their dominance in the final third.
While Vinicius should operate on the left side, the right flank could be occupied by Federico Valverde. The Uruguayan international should continue to get the nod ahead of other options such as Rodrygo, though it will not come as a surprise to see the later start as well.
With the Champions League encounter against Celtic just around the corner, Ancelotti could bank on rotations around the hour mark to keep his troops fresh.
Rodrygo appears to be most likely to appear as a substitute later on in the game. Eden Hazard is another option should Ancelotti opt for more dynamism and creativity in the final third.
In midfield, Eduardo Camavinga should serve as a replacement for Modric, while the likes of Lucas Vazquez and Antonio Rudiger remain as potential alternatives in the defensive unit.
Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Sevilla | La Liga GW 26
As one of the few teams that managed to take a point off Real Madrid in the first half of the season, Rayo Vallecano was seen as a dangerous opponent as Los Blancos prepared for matchday 25 of La Liga.
True to the expectation, the visitors gave Real Madrid a run for their money and managed to salvage a draw once more.
Matchday 26, thus, presents yet another steep challenge for Carlo Ancelotti’s side. The men in white lock horns with Sevilla, one of the few other teams that managed to hold them to a draw in their previous encounter.
It has not been an easy season for Los Nervionenses as they linger in 15th place after 25 games. However, they have shown time and time again that they have resilience and they will trouble the Merengues without a doubt.
Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Sevilla.
An emotional, yet emotion-less affair
The one headline flooding the news ahead of Real Madrid’s clash against Sevilla this weekend is about Sergio Ramos. The former Real Madrid captain faced Los Blancos earlier this season at Ramon Sanchez Pijzuan and showed that he still had it in him to play at the top level, but tomorrow’s clash will be special for reasons beyond the sporting sense.
The Spanish superstar captained one of the Merengues’ greatest units in history and saw them make their way to back-to-back titles for years. His departure from the club, however, was almost anti-climactic as he left as a free agent in 2021.
Tomorrow night will be the first time the club legend steps foot on the grasses of the Santiago Bernabeu since his departure. A return to the stadium he once called home can only be described as an emotional affair.
Moreover, the club administration have even arranged for a small emotional tribute to the player who took them to great heights in the last decade, amplifying the sense of nostalgia.
Concurrently, however, both Ramos and Real Madrid are fiercely competitive and do not see nostalgia as any reason for sympathy. Once the referee blows the whistle, there will be no love lost between the two parties.
Real Madrid will be forced to go up against the monster they created, while Ramos will be equally motivated to show the management what they lost by passing on him. In either case, the game will be driven by passion and will not be affected one bit by the background story.
Two suspensions, one return
In addition to his long list of injuries, Carlo Ancelotti has a new factor to consider before deploying his starting XI on Sunday night. After all, two players are out through suspension – Dani Carvajal and Eduardo Camavinga.
The Spanish veteran was sent off in Real Madrid’s 1-1 draw against Rayo Vallecano and will be unavailable to start on the night at right-back. Ancelotti will turn towards Lucas Vazquez to cover the void on the night, but it is clear that Carvajal will be missed.
The second player unavailable on the night, Eduardo Camavinga, is once again replaceable, now that Antonio Rudiger is back fit and ready to feature.
The German maestro has missed three weeks of action through injury but has made a comeback. His availability on the night would enable Aurelien Tchouameni to play as the pivot, effectively covering for Camavinga’s absence.
Going up against Sevilla, one of the few teams to have stolen points from Real Madrid this season, Carlo Ancelotti will be without the services of two key attackers.
Jude Bellingham will continue to be unavailable on the night as he recovers from his recent blow. The Englishman has made good progress so far, but it is still sizeably away from a return.
Joselu, meanwhile, was confirmed to be suffering from bone edema and is expected to be out for at least three weeks. The combination of the two absences leaves Ancelotti with only three viable attacking options – Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo Goes, and Brahim Diaz.
The Spanish-Moroccan star is expected to slot into Bellingham’s position, for it is his niche on the field while the two Brazilians will start up front as the two forwards. As revealed yesterday, the situation also opens the door for Arda Guler.
Ancelotti sees Guler as a player capable of making a difference as a forward and will thus count on him more often in the coming days. With all forward options likely to start, the Turkish phenom could begin to enjoy more prominence as a substitute tomorrow against Sevilla.
There have been talks around a possible loan involving Guler in recent weeks, and the coming games could just be his best bet to prove his worth and establish his presence under the manager.