Nacho, Kroos start in a 4-3-3: How Real Madrid could line up against Barcelona
After winning La Liga and the UEFA Champions League last season, Carlo Ancelotti is under huge pressure this term as Real Madrid seem to have fallen off their stride.
They are trailing Barcelona in two competitions, for example – nine points below them in the league and holding a 1-0 deficit in the Copa del Rey semi-finals.
However, they have the chance to start making amends as early as tomorrow as Barcelona host them at Camp Nou for the fourth El Clasico of the season. The Catalans have won two of the last three this season, and seem confident enough to go three for four now.
To Ancelotti’s benefit, though, he has the entire squad barring one player fit for the clash in David Alaba. With so many options and tactics to explore, Madrid Universal looks at how Los Blancos could lineup tomorrow.
Thibaut Courtois has played just 19 games this season, keeping six clean sheets in the process. He will be looking for his seventh tomorrow starting in goal.
There should only be one doubt in defence for Ancelotti — at left-back. However, after two impressive shifts in that position in the two games against Liverpool, Nacho should get the nod ahead of the recently returned Ferland Mendy.
The same duties will be carried out by Dani Carvajal on the right, while Eder Militao and Antonio Rudiger star in central defence.
Ancelotti was quick to jump to Luka Modric and Toni Kroos‘ defence in the pre-game press conference. “I am surprised when people doubt Modric and Kroos because they are the best,” he said.
The duo should get the nod in midfield, with Eduardo Camavinga hoping to put the ghosts of his previous Clasico behind him, starting as the No. 6.
Federico Valverde will act as the fourth midfielder in this lineup, but he will be starting as the right-winger in attack.
Karim Benzema has been given the medical green light to participate in the Clasico after picking up a knock against Liverpool while scoring. The Frenchman has two goals in three games against Barcelona this season, and will be looking to add to his tally.
Vinicius Jr will be his partner in crime, but his task will be infinitely tougher with Ronald Araujo likely starting as the right-back again. The Brazilian has not found a way past the Uruguayan in the last two Clasicos.
Vinicius · Benzema · Valverde
Kroos · Camavinga · Modric
Nacho · Rudiger · Militao · Carvajal
Ferland Mendy will be an option off the bench for Ancelotti after missing the last two and a half months due to injury. The Frenchman is in the travelling squad for the game.
Lucas Vazquez could be called on to replace Dani Carvajal on the right to add offensive depth to the flank. Rodrygo, too, is an option, especially if Madrid trail at any point in the game.
Dani Ceballos and Aurelien Tchouameni could change the midfield for the better in any scenario in the game, with the former putting in an excellent cameo against Liverpool as well.
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.