Three talking points ahead of Chelsea vs Real Madrid
90 minutes is all that stands between Real Madrid and a place in the semifinal of the UEFA Champions League for the second successive year. The men in white are often called the kings of the competition, and it does not require much to see why it is indeed so.
The Merengues have a phenomenal record in knockout competitions, and recent years have only taken up the level. After their incredible run in Europe last season, Real Madrid are looking to defend their title this time around and have already proven to still have the X-factor in the format.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side secured a 2-0 win over Chelsea in the quarterfinal first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu last week and will be gunning to emerge victorious at Stamford Bridge later tonight in the second leg.
Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Chelsea vs Real Madrid in the quarterfinal of the UEFA Champions League.
1. A job half done
A two-goal lead at kickoff awaits Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night. After all, Carlo Ancelotti’s men were forced to work hard last week for their advantage and earned it with an all-round performance.
Despite getting the better of the English opposition with dominance, however, the Merengues will be forced to do it all again on Tuesday. After all, it is the norm of the UEFA Champions League to give both participating teams the home advantage to avoid any bias.
The two-goal cushion on the night is massive for Los Blancos and poses a stern challenge ahead of Chelsea who now not only have to win but do so by a margin of at least two goals to qualify.
It is safe to say that Ancelotti’s men have one foot in the semifinals of the prestigious competitions. Yet, they need to keep their feet on the ground and not get ahead of themselves until the job is done.
Real Madrid will thus look to turn a new leaf on Tuesday and approach the game as if it were a fresh tie to negate the psychological cushion a lead brings with it. After all, the stakes have never been higher in a knockout game for the men in white this season.
2. Timely returns
Vinicius Jr and Toni Kroos both played a major role in last week’s 2-0 win over Frank Lampard’s side. However, there was concerning news immediately after the final whistle as it emerged that both had suffered minor overloads.
The German and the Brazilian thus missed Los Blancos’ weekend clash against Cadiz. But, as confirmed by Carlo Ancelotti both players are fit to make the trip to London in what comes as a big boost ahead of a critical encounter.
Vinicius was the man of the match when the two teams met last week at the Santiago Bernabeu and completed the game with two assists to his name. He will likely once again start as the left-winger on the night and look to haunt Reece James once more.
Kroos, meanwhile, could start either deeper in midfield as the pivot or higher up as an interior if Eduardo Camavinga is given the responsibility in defensive midfield. The manager will likely stick to the same midfield formula as last time, however, implying a pivot role for the German.
3. Asensio making a case for himself
Ahead of the first leg of the UCL quarterfinal last week, two names were best placed to start on the right wing and complete the forward line alongside Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema- Rodrygo Goes and Federico Valverde.
Both players eventually started at Santiago Bernabeu. However, it was the Brazilian who featured as the winger with Valverde being deployed as a midfielder alongside Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.
On Tuesday, however, Ancelotti will have an additional option of his liking to choose from– Marco Asensio.
The Spaniard came off the bench in Real Madrid’s clash against the London-based side last week and scored a goal within three minutes of coming on the field. He further pushed his case at the weekend when the manager gave him the start and he scored the team’s second goal late in the game.
With two goals in as many clashes, Asensio might well be Ancelotti’s best bet on the right wing. The only question that ponders, however, is whether the Italian tactician will change the working system to accommodate the Spaniard or stick with his firing guns.
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.