Three talking points ahead of Cadiz vs Real Madrid
Real Madrid take on Cadiz on Saturday night in a league fixture sandwiched between two legs of the Champions League quarter-final tie against Chelsea.
The game provides Los Blancos with a chance to bounce back after their defeat to Villarreal last week, but several factors will play a part in deciding how they approach the fixture.
Cadiz sit 14th on the league table with seven wins and 11 losses in 28 games so far. They have scored 23 goals and conceded 40 in that duration.
When the two teams met in La Liga earlier this season, Sergio’s men gave the defending champions a run for their money in a game that ended 2-1 in the Merengues’ favour. Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of the clash at Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla.
1. Invest where you reap
Real Madrid’s position across different competitions could not be any more clear. The team are alive on three fronts – La Liga, the UEFA Champions League, and the Copa del Rey. However, the extent of their chances in each competition is widely different.
The Spanish Cup presents Carlo Ancelotti’s side with their best shot at silverware. Having overcome Barcelona in the semifinal of the competition, Real Madrid have only one hurdle to clear before they hoist the trophy and are rightly the favourites going up against Osasuna.
The UEFA Champions League, purely in terms of importance, is the pinnacle of club football. Los Blancos are on a mission to defend their title from last season, and it is safe to say that they stand a good chance.
Having bettered Chelsea by two goals in the first leg of the quarter-final, the Merengues have taken one step towards the semi-final and are ever so close to sealing the dream title.
The story in La Liga is, however, not as sweet. Real Madrid’s loss to Villarreal last weekend saw them drop 13 points behind Barcelona. While the title race may not be mathematically over, the chances of a comeback are feeble with only ten matchdays to go.
Ancelotti thus finds himself at crucial crossroads. With the second leg of the quarterfinal scheduled for Tuesday, the manager must choose to either salvage the league for his team’s chances in Europe or risk it all by deploying his stars on both nights.
Considering how lost the league appears, one expects it will be a simple decision for the manager to take. After all, it is just a small sacrifice for the greater good at this stage of the campaign.
2. The season of rotations
With an important game at Stamford Bridge awaiting next week, Carlo Ancelotti will certainly shuffle his deck tomorrow. Moreover, the fact that their opposition on the night are languishing in 14th place in La Liga will ease the manager into making larger rotations.
Eduardo Camavinga and Dani Carvajal will likely be replaced as the full-backs by Nacho Fernandez and Lucas Vazquez respectively. David Alaba, who is considered vital and recently recovered, is also one who could be benched. Thus, one can expect Antonio Rudiger and Eder Militao to start in central defence.
The rotations will be much more severe in midfield. Toni Kroos is ruled out and Luka Modric will be understandably rested on the night. Aurelien Tchouameni could start as the pivot in the German’s place, with Dani Ceballos replacing the Croat.
Multiple reports suggest that Marco Asensio could be the surprise third starter in midfield. With Vinicius unavailable against Cadiz, Rodrygo could fill his boots on the left wing. Karim Benzema will continue at centre-forward with Fede Valverde getting the nod on the right wing.
3. Asensio’s time to shine?
Marco Asensio’s impact against Chelsea midweek cannot be understated. His short cameo gifted Real Madrid their second goal of the night and sealed the result in stone.
However, that has been the story of the Spanish winger all season. Despite his repeated heroics off the bench, Carlo Ancelotti has refused to see him as a regular starting option with Federico Valverde and Rodrygo Goes placed ahead of him on the manager’s list.
On Saturday, Asensio could have the chance to turn his situation around.
Multiple reports suggest that the Spaniard will start against Cadiz, albeit in midfield. Yet, knowing the player’s instinct, it will only be a matter of time before Asensio swaps with the player who starts on the right wing and goes into an attacking role.
A positive performance tomorrow would not only help him improve his situation under the Italian tactician but will also serve as an audition to the administration who are weighing up the pros and cons of renewing his contract. With less than two months left before his deal expires, he does not have much time left to prove his mettle.
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.