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Three talking points ahead of Cadiz vs Real Madrid

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Photo by Flor Tan Jun/Getty Images

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

Alaba, Camavinga could be rested vs Cadiz. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

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.

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Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona

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Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

Real Madrid return to the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday night for the first time since booking a place in the semifinal of the UEFA Champions League.

Having dethroned the reigning UCL champions midweek, they will look to do the same to the reigning Spanish champions at the weekend as they take on Barcelona in La Liga.

The Catalans have been on a mini resurgence in recent weeks, but their momentum and morale was crushed midweek with a defeat to PSG in the second leg of the UCL quarterfinal.

Real Madrid have got the better of the Blaugranas twice this season already, and appear to have the advantage over them for the third time ahead of Sunday’s clash. A win on the night would have massive implications.

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

Riding the high

Manchester City may have embarrassed Real Madrid by a 4-0 scoreline at the Etihad one year ago. Earlier this week, however, Los Blancos exacted their revenge at the same venue.

Pep Guardiola’s side may have been the more dominant team on the night with the better chances. On a scale of who deserved to go through for attacking football, the Premier League giants indeed would have made the cut.

Yet, Real Madrid held on through the storm and pulled through an extra 30 minutes to take the game to a penalty shootout. The masters of nerves kept their cool through the tense shootout and pulled through in clutch Real Madrid style.

Ancelotti must play his cards right (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

They now enter El Clasico riding on the wave of momentum that has been going their way all season, and they must look to capitalise on the psychological edge they boast on the psychological front.

After all, Barcelona are coming off a tough defeat which sealed their elimination from Europe and are far from their best state from a psychological standpoint. A mentally weakened opposition is, after all, half conquered.

The final rung

El Clasico has lost its charm in recent years and is overtaken by several other fascinating fixtures across the globe as football’s elite clash.

While a part of the decline is due to the departure of big names from both teams, Barcelona’s overall fall in quality has an equal role to play in the same.

While the game may not have the same global appeal it did a few years ago, however, El Clasico seldom arrives without any reward on the line. This time, it brings with it a real chance for Carlo Ancelotti’s side to celebrate a massive success.

With seven games to go in La Liga, Los Blancos sit comfortably on 78 points while second-placed Barcelona are on 70 points. A win tomorrow will widen the gap to 11 points, and virtually seal La Liga in Real Madrid’s name.

After all, it is almost unthinkable that the men in white will lose four of their next six games after the Clasico. Tomorrow’s game, thus, brings with it the ultimate prize.

Carlo Ancelotti’s focus against Barcelona, thus, will be to ensure that his side do not slacken out and that they bring home all three points the easy way. After all, a defeat at the Bernabeu will cut their lead to five points and set up for a nervy finish.

The right rotations

Having just played a tiring 120-minute shift against Manchester City on Wednesday night, it is but natural for Los Blancos to feel fatigued.

Checking on players’ fitness and opting for the right rotations, albeit without impacting the quality on the field, thus will be Ancelotti’s greatest challenge ahead of the showdown against Barcelona.

For starters, Toni Kroos is expected to be replaced by Luka Modric in midfield on the night after playing a long shift midweek. The Croatian showed against Manchester City that he still has magic in his boots, and a start against Barcelona would not be undeserved.

The second likely change in midfield will be the return of Aurelien Tchouameni, who was suspended midweek. The Frenchman is expected to take the place of his teammate Eduardo Camavinga at the base of midfield.

Moving to the final third, the player in question for the game is Vinicius Jr, especially considering that he was facing muscular discomfort after the game in England.

He has been included in the squad to face Barcelona, but it is critical that Ancelotti evaluates his fitness before handing him the start.

If indeed the Brazilian is not fit to play from the first minute, Rodrygo will take his place on the left wing with Joselu covering the second spot in attack.

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