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Three talking points ahead of Celta Vigo vs Real Madrid

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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 Valencia

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

For all the institutional and sporting catastrophes Valencia suffer from, they put up a resilient show against Real Madrid last month and held them to a draw in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup.

Having fired Gennaro Gattuso less than 48 hours ago, Los Che will be under the command of an interim coach at Santiago Bernabeu in the hope of repeating their feat from Saudi Arabia.

After all, they are struggling this season with just 20 points in 18 league appearances.

Valencia may not be the top team it used to be a couple of seasons ago, but there is a fighting spirit to the squad that makes them special.

As Real Madrid looks to make amends for their dropped points against La Real, some important considerations cross the manager’s mind regarding the clash against Los Che.

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

1. More names at Ancelotti’s disposal

Real Madrid’s long injury list has been a thorn in Carlo Ancelotti’s feet for a long time now. While the manager has had close to five players unavailable through fitness concerns, two names were considered irreplaceable.

Daniel Carvajal is the first on that list. The Spanish International’s presence gave the club hope after Lucas Vazquez’s injury last month, but almost as if planned, the 30-year-old immediately suffered a blow in training and was forced to sit out.

For four games, Ancelotti was thus forced to field Nacho Fernandez as his right-back. The centre-back did a good job at covering out of position, however, will be pushed back to the bench on Thursday as Los Blancos celebrate the return of Carvajal.

The defender is not the only one making his way back, as Aurelien Tchouameni also received the medical all-clear earlier this week.

The French pivot hobbled off an hour into Real Madrid’s league clash against Villarreal in the first week of January and has been sidelined for close to a month.

His absence pushed his coach to try numerous permutations in midfield, but it was finally Eduardo Camavinga who stamped his authority on the position.

With Tchouameni back roaring, his place in the starting lineup seems to be written in stone. One can expect the Frenchman to be deployed alongside Toni Kroos and Dani Ceballos for his return to action on Thursday.

2. Concern shifts from right to left-back

The Merengues will finally have a natural right-back available to play against Valencia midweek. However, that does not signal the end of the Italian tactician’s trouble-riddles period.

Just when one full-back position returned to a state of normalcy, Real Madrid now have a crisis at left-back.

Ferland Mendy picked up a thigh injury earlier this week and will miss the team’s next two months of action at least. To say that this is a big blow to the club’s plans would be an understatement, for Mendy was the only natural left-back available in the squad.

David Alaba would appear to be the best-placed alternative, but the Austrian is ruled out through injury himself. Placed at a lack of options, Ancelotti confirmed in his press conference earlier today that Eduardo Camavinga would play there against Valencia.

The youngster has played in the defensive position earlier but will face the heat going up against Jose Luis Gaya at Santiago Bernabeu.

Given that Valencia’s right flank put up a memorable display when the two teams met last month, one can be certain that Camavinga’s performance can make or break Real Madrid’s night.

3. No margin for error

Less than halfway through the league season, Los Blancos already find themselves five points behind Barcelona. The wide gap is not a consequence of the defending champions’ poor form but the sheer consistency of Xavi Hernandez’s men, who cannot stop winning.

Having won the Supercopa de Espana last month, the Catalans are currently riding high on confidence. With their season heading from strength to strength, Real Madrid must hold on and wait for the right opportunity to topple the tables.

The Galacticos‘ draw against Real Sociedad added two points to the gap between the top two sides last week. At this stage, Ancelotti’s men cannot afford any further slip-ups for a larger gap would be too much for the men in white to compensate.

Every game henceforth will be a final for Real Madrid in La Liga. Three points are the bare minimum the club can walk away with from any fixture, and that mission will start from their game against Valencia.

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