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Opponent watch: Real Betis to miss several key players for clash against Real Madrid

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Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

As Real Madrid prepare to travel to Real Betis on Tuesday for their Matchday 16 La Liga clash, they will be facing a significantly weakened opponent.

The table-toppers have been no strangers to injury woes with several players being struck down since the beginning of the season.

The pattern has been evidently repeating throughout the Spanish first division and Real Betis are also falling victim.

Seven players out for Betis

Manuel Pellegrini is grappling with a major personnel crisis ahead of this Saturday’s clash.

He is currently missing Marc Bartra, Claudio Bravo, Rodri, William Carvalho through injuries and Hector Bellerin through suspension.

Lots to think about for the Chilean. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Nabil Fekir has also been dealing with muscular discomfort and is in doubt for this Saturday.

To add to the pile, Argentine midfielder Guido Rodriguez has now suffered an ankle injury that could be quite serious.

He is entirely ruled out for this week, but early estimates claim that he may even miss around three months of action.

While unfortunate, Real Madrid will be relieved knowing they will face a slightly easier task as they look to keep their spot atop the standings.

Madrid, however, have a fairly long list of casualties of their own, even though there are no new issues.

Including Dani Carvajal’s calf injury that is set to sideline him for at least a month, Madrid will do well to keep their momentum up in the absence of eight important players.

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Real Madrid News

Ancelotti considering playing a makeshift centre-back pairing for Real Madrid against Valencia – report

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Photo by DESIREE MARTIN/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid will take on Valencia on Saturday, looking to maintain their solid lead at the top of the league table.

The Spanish giants are leading the standing with a six-point lead over Girona. A win against Valencia could help them solidify their position at the top while potentially opening up an opportunity to extend the lead to more than six points.

Heading into this game, though, Carlo Ancelotti is facing multiple setbacks, especially in the defensive unit, with Eder Militao, David Alaba and Thibaut Courtois still missing due to injuries.

This will once again put pressure on Ancelotti, as far as the team selection is concerned.

Rudiger & Tchouameni to partner at centre-back vs Valencia

Fortunately for the Real Madrid coach, much of his experimentations this season have worked, including Aurelien Tchouameni’s supreme performances at centre-back.

With that in mind, Diario AS reports Ancelotti is considering playing a makeshift central defensive pair against Valencia, comprising Antonio Rudiger and Tchouameni.

Ancelotti to go with a makeshift central defensive pairing vs Valencia (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

This is not the first time the young Frenchman will have to accompany Rudiger at centre-back. He did so earlier in the year when Real Madrid took on RCD Mallorca.

Interestingly, Real Madrid were able to retain a clean sheet, with Rudiger scoring the winning goal, in a narrow 1-0 victory.

What are Ancelotti’s other options?

Ancelotti will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around. However, it must be noted that the Italian will be boosted by the return of Dani Carvajal from suspension.

The veteran Spaniard can be an option at centre-back. But given the way how Tchouameni has impressed onlookers with his performances at centre-back, there is very little reason why he shouldn’t continue in the position.

Tchouameni has even been compared to Javier Mascherano by former Spanish coach Roberto Moreno.

Other than Carvajal, though, Nacho Fernandez is another option for Ancelotti. But the veteran defender is suffering with discomfort and Ancelotti has no plans to risk it.

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