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Three talking points ahead of Celta Vigo vs Real Madrid



Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

With three points already in the bag, Real Madrid head into their second game of the season amidst an ocean of uncertainty. The transfer market has thrown some big surprises in Los Blancos‘ way but the season must move on unfazed.

Pitted against Celta Vigo, Ancelotti will have his work cut out on Saturday night. The Galicians conceded a 98th-minute equaliser from Espanyol and had to settle for one point in their league opener. Needless to say, they will be thirsty for their first win, given that the game is at Balaidos.

The manager has critical decisions to take on the night, especially in midfield. Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of the anticipated clash on Saturday night.

1. The culmination of a special relationship

Carlos Henrique Jose Francisco Venancio Casimiro, famously known just as ‘Casemiro’ has been one of Real Madrid’s most special players since his arrival in 2013. During his tenure at the Santiago Bernabeu, the midfielder earned a reputation for being the best in the world in his position.

Quality defensive midfielders are hard to come by in the transfer market. Having the best CDM in the business was undoubtedly a boon for Real Madrid’s midfield.

During his special bond with the club that lasted almost ten years, the Brazilian won it all. Five Champions League trophies, three La Liga titles and a Copa del Rey, amongst other accolades, just go to show that he was a serial winner.

Just as all good things come to an end, his spell with Real Madrid, too, has finally culminated.

The player is set to sign for Manchester United, and a complete agreement has been reached between the two clubs. Moreover, he has been excluded from the squad facing Celta Vigo.

Los Blancos have lost many legends in this transfer window, from Gareth Bale to Marcelo. Yet, it is safe to say that Casemiro will be missed the most.

Not only is this the end of the player’s relationship with the club, but it also calls curtains on their special midfield trio. The world may never see another set of three players rule the middle of the park like Casemiro did with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

Real Madrid’s clash against Celta Vigo will be their first without the Brazilian as they prepare to venture into a new era. Ancelotti has options on the bench to compensate for Casemiro’s position physically, but it will be difficult to cope with the loss of experience.

2. Can Tchouameni make the most of his chance?

It is rightly said that every end is a new beginning. While the club mull over the departure of their legendary defensive midfielder, one must not forget that Real Madrid already have his replacement in place.

Aurelien Tchouameni is considered to be one of world football’s brightest talents in defensive midfield and was signed as a long-term replacement for Casemiro.

One would have imagined that the Frenchman would find it difficult to see minutes in his first season at the club. Ancelotti planned to rotate the two players this year, but everything now changes with the veteran’s move to Manchester United.

For better or worse, all eyes will now be on Tchouameni. The question is whether he will shine under pressure or crumble.

Tchouameni’s time. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

In theory, the youngster promises a more dynamic profile than his predecessor. His comfort on the ball, ability to carry the buildup into advanced positions and his defensive awareness make him the complete package.

It is now time for him to convert the theory into results. The 22-year-old could well be the team’s regular starting defensive midfielder this season and will see no shortage of minutes.

His journey will begin on Saturday night when Los Blancos take on Celta Vigo. Needless to say, he will have to work hard against the experienced setup of Fran Beltran, Iago Aspas and Oscar Rodriguez.

3. Spotlight on the forward line

While Ancelotti’s men got off to a winning start to La Liga, their performance against UD Almeria was far from convincing. The team seemed disjointed, sluggish and unconvincing on the night.

The forwards suffered against Rubi’s men, scoring just two goals from their 29 shots. Ultimately, it was a wonder free-kick from David Alaba that secured three points against the newly promoted side.

Karim Benzema was particularly underwhelming at Estadio del Mediterraneo, as he managed just three shots on the night. He was woeful in front of the goal and missed three big chances.

The defending champions will have to be more clinical in the final third if they are to beat the Galicians this weekend.

Celta Vigo are known to be lethal on the counter and have a reputation for stepping up on the big nights. Needless to say, the captain must step up and lead from the front.

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Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Granada | La Liga



Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

Napoli fought tooth and nail for all three points against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu earlier this week. They took the early lead in the first half, then fought back to find an equaliser after Real Madrid put two past them.

In the end, however, they were outdone by the hosts’ resilience and never-say-die attitude. The result thus registered Real Madrid’s fourth win on the trot and twelfth game without a defeat.

The men in white must now look ahead to their next La Liga game scheduled to kick off in just over 24 hours. Faced against Granada in a critical matchday, the aim will be to take all three points and thus maintain a healthy position in the standings.

Ancelotti announced some key recoveries in his pre-match press conference and also confirmed that Jude Bellingham would be fit to participate on the evening. Yet, he is concurrently in a difficult moment in terms of squad fitness.

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

A clash of two poles

While Ancelotti’s Real Madrid sit lavishly on the top of La Liga’s standings, their opponents for Saturday afternoon have quite a contrasting fate. Granada sit on the other end of the league table and find themselves in a desolate situation 14 match days into the season.

Granada are currently 19th in La Liga with just one win in 14 games, and have changed managers, with Alexander Medina replacing Paco Lopez. They have lost a staggering nine games and walked away with one point on four occasions.

Granada have only scored 19 goals all season while conceding on 33 occasions. Comparing the numbers to Real Madrid’s 31 goals scored and nine goals conceded speaks volumes about the form of both teams heading into tomorrow’s clash.

The visitors’ last win in La Liga came back in August, and it is safe to say that a victory vs Real Madrid will do them a world of good. They will be the underdogs at the Bernabeu, but nothing is impossible considering that they drew with Barcelona not so long ago.

Saturday’s clash will thus be interesting, to say the least. With the injury-inflicted league leaders taking on a relegation-threatened side, the script cannot be predicted.

The rising phenomenon

New kid on the block. (Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images)

Real Madrid’s injury crisis has not been easy on the manager. Ancelotti has been forced to rework his dynamics time and time again with a new player falling prey to the endless pit in every game.

The Italian is now in a situation where he has only four players left in the middle of the park. Toni Kroos, Federico Valverde, Jude Bellingham, and Dani Ceballos all started Real Madrid’s last game but it was young Nico Paz who stole the headlines.

The youngster has risen to prominence in Los Blancos’ latest injury emergency and his prominence has only increased over the past weeks. In the team’s latest outing against Napoli, he was on the field for close to half an hour and scored a crucial goal in the 84th minute.

With a tight schedule ahead and limited resources at his disposal, Ancelotti must look to rotate his men in midfield. Paz, on that front, is the Italian gaffer’s best choice and must look to make the most of his minutes tomorrow.

The golden chance

The biggest talking point from La Liga so far has been Girona’s stunning run at the beginning of the season. The Catalan side surprised everyone with win after win and stole the headlines by retaining the sole lead in the league until match day 13.

After six straight wins, Athletic Club broke Girona’s streak last weekend with a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Estadi Montilivi. Having dropped two points, they are now level with Real Madrid in the standings with 35 points in 14 games.

It will thus be Ancelotti’s objective to take all three points against Granada and make a strong push towards taking the lead over Girona. After all, the co-leaders face a difficult opponent in Valencia and could well drop points.

Moreover, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are set to face off later this weekend. One, or both of the Spanish giants will drop points on the night, thus giving Real Madrid further impetus to gun for all three points tomorrow.

Considering the team’s good run of form in recent games, the dressing room will be confident about securing the much-needed result.

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