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Mendy set to return, Rudiger on the bench: 4-3-3 predicted Real Madrid against Real Betis

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Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

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.

Defence

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.

Midfield

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.

Attack

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.

Bench

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.

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Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Valencia

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

For all the institutional and sporting catastrophes Valencia suffer from, they put up a resilient show against Real Madrid last month and held them to a draw in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup.

Having fired Gennaro Gattuso less than 48 hours ago, Los Che will be under the command of an interim coach at Santiago Bernabeu in the hope of repeating their feat from Saudi Arabia.

After all, they are struggling this season with just 20 points in 18 league appearances.

Valencia may not be the top team it used to be a couple of seasons ago, but there is a fighting spirit to the squad that makes them special.

As Real Madrid looks to make amends for their dropped points against La Real, some important considerations cross the manager’s mind regarding the clash against Los Che.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Valencia.

1. More names at Ancelotti’s disposal

Real Madrid’s long injury list has been a thorn in Carlo Ancelotti’s feet for a long time now. While the manager has had close to five players unavailable through fitness concerns, two names were considered irreplaceable.

Daniel Carvajal is the first on that list. The Spanish International’s presence gave the club hope after Lucas Vazquez’s injury last month, but almost as if planned, the 30-year-old immediately suffered a blow in training and was forced to sit out.

For four games, Ancelotti was thus forced to field Nacho Fernandez as his right-back. The centre-back did a good job at covering out of position, however, will be pushed back to the bench on Thursday as Los Blancos celebrate the return of Carvajal.

The defender is not the only one making his way back, as Aurelien Tchouameni also received the medical all-clear earlier this week.

The French pivot hobbled off an hour into Real Madrid’s league clash against Villarreal in the first week of January and has been sidelined for close to a month.

His absence pushed his coach to try numerous permutations in midfield, but it was finally Eduardo Camavinga who stamped his authority on the position.

With Tchouameni back roaring, his place in the starting lineup seems to be written in stone. One can expect the Frenchman to be deployed alongside Toni Kroos and Dani Ceballos for his return to action on Thursday.

2. Concern shifts from right to left-back

The Merengues will finally have a natural right-back available to play against Valencia midweek. However, that does not signal the end of the Italian tactician’s trouble-riddles period.

Just when one full-back position returned to a state of normalcy, Real Madrid now have a crisis at left-back.

Ferland Mendy picked up a thigh injury earlier this week and will miss the team’s next two months of action at least. To say that this is a big blow to the club’s plans would be an understatement, for Mendy was the only natural left-back available in the squad.

David Alaba would appear to be the best-placed alternative, but the Austrian is ruled out through injury himself. Placed at a lack of options, Ancelotti confirmed in his press conference earlier today that Eduardo Camavinga would play there against Valencia.

The youngster has played in the defensive position earlier but will face the heat going up against Jose Luis Gaya at Santiago Bernabeu.

Given that Valencia’s right flank put up a memorable display when the two teams met last month, one can be certain that Camavinga’s performance can make or break Real Madrid’s night.

3. No margin for error

Less than halfway through the league season, Los Blancos already find themselves five points behind Barcelona. The wide gap is not a consequence of the defending champions’ poor form but the sheer consistency of Xavi Hernandez’s men, who cannot stop winning.

Having won the Supercopa de Espana last month, the Catalans are currently riding high on confidence. With their season heading from strength to strength, Real Madrid must hold on and wait for the right opportunity to topple the tables.

The Galacticos‘ draw against Real Sociedad added two points to the gap between the top two sides last week. At this stage, Ancelotti’s men cannot afford any further slip-ups for a larger gap would be too much for the men in white to compensate.

Every game henceforth will be a final for Real Madrid in La Liga. Three points are the bare minimum the club can walk away with from any fixture, and that mission will start from their game against Valencia.

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