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Official: Real Madrid squad list to face Villarreal

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Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid will look to close the gap to the top of the table in La Liga to nine points when they host Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

Real Madrid currently trail leaders Barcelona by 12 points but can put some pressure on their rivals, who face Girona on Monday, with a victory over Quique Setien’s side.

On the eve of the match, manager Carlo Ancelotti has released the squad list that will be available at his disposal on Saturday.

There are no major surprises from the Italian tactician, with the usual suspencts being included on the list.

Notably, Rodrygo Goes has been named in the squad, despite rumours doing the rounds that he could be rested due to knee discomfort.

Ferland Mendy, thus, remains the only absentee for Real Madrid through injury. Meanwhile, young Castilla striker Alvaro Rodriguez has not been called up again by Ancelotti.

There will likely be changes made to the lineup that started against Barcelona in midweek, especially keeping in mind the upcoming game against Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League.

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Real Madrid News

Five reasons Real Madrid believe in their chances vs Manchester City at the Etihad – report

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

An xG of 2.82, 60% possession, 16 shots, eight on target and six big chances. Such were the statistics of Manchester City when they last took on Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, conjured up an xG of just 0.47, had no big chances and had just three shots on target in 90 minutes in the game last year.

The statistics speak loud – Los Blancos suffered a 4-0 embarrassment the last time they stepped onto the grass in Manchester. Tomorrow night, they must descend for battle in the same arena once more, this time looking to fight neck-to-neck for a result.

A new team

As revealed in a recent report by AS, Real Madrid and Carlo Ancelotti believe that this season, they have more weapons to survive against Pep Guardiola’s men at the Etihad.

The men in white travel to England without fear and positive that a repeat of last season’s collapse will not unfold. The dressing room is more motivated than ever, and improvements are expected from last year’s clash all across the field.

Most importantly, the fact that they are seen as underdogs playing away from home only pushes the team more towards a winning performance. With the pressure off, it will indeed be easier for Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

Five ‘key’ factors

The Spanish outlet reports there are five factors that make Ancelotti and Co. believe in their chances for the game that lies ahead of them.

To begin with, the Merengues have been in sensational form all season and have just lost one game in 44 within the 90-minute mark. The wins may not be pretty, but the team’s ability to churn out results drives them forward.

The key duel. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

The second factor, as Real Madrid see it, is the improved defence. Last year, Eduardo Camavinga, David Alaba and Eder Militao joined Dani Carvajal at the back while this season, the Spaniard will be joined by an in-form Antonio Rudiger, Nacho and Ferland Mendy.

The German star’s inclusion, in particular, generates hope as he has enjoyed reasonable success against Erling Haaland.

The third factor is the chance in midfield where Eduardo Camavinga is expected to start as the pivot with Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde ahead of him.

Needless to say, such a trio boasts more stamina and a stable pivot compared to the Modric-Kroos-Valverde combination that played last season.

Jude Bellingham’s quality and ability in front of goal is Ancelotti’s fourth major reason to believe that tomorrow night will be special. He was not on song last week, and Los Blancos will hope he finds his best version tomorrow.

Last, but not least, is the newfound chemistry between Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo in recent weeks that has seen both Brazilians play out of their skin.

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