Connect with us

Features

Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Cadiz

Published

on

Matchday 34 of La Liga sees Real Madrid pitted against Cadiz at the Santiago Bernabeu, and the situation of both teams could not be more polar.

Los Blancos are on the cusp of sealing the La Liga title, are one win away from the UEFA Champions League final and have only lost two games all season.

Cadiz, meanwhile, have lost 15 of their 33 games in La Liga and sit on 26 points, five points behind 17th-placed Celta and at the doorstep of relegation.

Saturday’s clash at the Bernabeu will thus be fascinating to follow in its own unique way, for dire circumstances and the reality of relegation often bring out the best in teams that are considered down and out.

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

The Belgian Wall is back

News of Thibaut Courtois’ ACL injury before the start of the 2023-24 season sent shockwaves through the Spanish capital.

After all, the Belgian star was set to sit out most, if not the entire season for Real Madrid in what appeared to be an incompensable loss.

Just when he appeared set to make his return to the field back in March, the goalkeeper suffered another untimely blow to his knee, forcing him to the sidelines for another lengthy spell.

Courtois is yet to feature for Real Madrid this season as a result of his back-to-back injuries, but that will change at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“Courtois is fine. Tomorrow he will play after a long time. It’s good news that he’s back, just like Militao. He can contribute, he’s fine, he’s very excited. We’re delighted that he’s back,” Carlo Ancelotti confirmed in his pre-match press conference.

The Belgian shot-stopper’s return, needless to say, comes as a big reason to celebrate for the Real Madrid faithful. While it is not known to what capacity he will participate on the night, the mere sight of him between the sticks will be one the Bernabeu will relish against Cadiz.

Wholesale rotations

Having secured a hard-fought 2-2 draw against Bayern Munich midweek, Los Blancos are just 90 minutes away from a place in the final of the UEFA Champions League.

Rotations on the cards? (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images)

The second leg that lies ahead, however, will not be easy by any means and it is clear that Carlo Ancelotti prioritises the European competition over any other agenda at the moment.

With the reverse fixture scheduled for Wednesday, the manager will thus utilise today’s game to give his mainstays a well-deserved break. A fully rejuvenated squad, after all, is essential against the Bavarians.

As revealed on Friday, the Italian tactician could thus make up to ten rotations to the side that started at Allianz Arena starting from Thibaut Courtois in goal.

Lucas Vazquez and Fran Garcia are expected to start at right-back and left-back respectively while Eder Militao and Nacho Fernandez man the central defence.

The midfield is similarly expected to feature a brand new look, with Eduardo Camavinga, Luka Modric and Dani Ceballos the favoured candidates to start. Arda Guler, after impressing against Real Sociedad, can start again in the attacking midfield.

Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo are also expected to be rested on the night, with Joselu and Brahim Diaz taking their place in the final third.

Can the celebrations begin?

After months of burning the midnight lamp with permutations and combinations over when Real Madrid will mathematically win La Liga, arithmeticians finally have a simple equation in front of them.

Tonight, after a seemingly endless wait, could be the day the city of Madrid celebrates all night long for Los Blancos could be crowned champions of La Liga. It is, however, not entirely in their hands.

Barcelona take on Girona later tonight in a high-voltage clash for the second-place in La Liga. Should Xavi’s side drop points against Michel’s in-form team, a Real Madrid win against Cadiz will make them the official victors of the domestic title.

It goes without saying that the mood in the dressing room is far from celebratory, as the players and the manager have their focus alike on the upcoming UCL clash.

Winning the title officially, however, would certainly arrive as a much-needed morale booster and a weight off their shoulders.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Features

Kroos, Courtois start in a 4-3-3: How Real Madrid could lineup against Real Betis

Published

on

Photo via Getty Images

Having won the league comfortably after accumulating 94 points in 37 games, Real Madrid’s main objective for the last game of the season, set to go ahead tomorrow, against Real Betis, would be to finish on 97 points.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side are coming off a 4-4 draw against Villarreal last weekend, Madrid will be looking to end the domestic season with a win, which would also serve as a huge confidence boost ahead of their Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund.

Reports have suggested that Ancelotti is alternating his lineup ahead of the UCL final to keep his troops fit and gunning. And after rotations last week against Villarreal, all signs point towards the best XI taking the field vs Betis.

Keeping that in mind, Madrid Universal takes a jab at the 14-time Champions League winners’ final starting lineup of the season for their game against Manuel Pellegrini’s Real Betis.

Defence: Militao or Nacho?

Andriy Lunin returned to guard the posts against Villarreal, which could be a sign that Ancelotti is preparing to use Thibaut Courtois as his goalkeeper against Dortmund. As such, we expect the Belgian to handle the gloves tomorrow.

Daniel Carvajal is expected to replace Lucas Vazquez as the right-back, while Ferland Mendy returns to take over his left-back role.

Antonio Rudiger’s spot does not seem to be in any threat at all, but there are question marks over who will start alongside him, especially on the back of Eder Militao’s disastrous performance vs Villarreal.

Consequently, Nacho might get the nod tomorrow, especially since it could be his last game for Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu.

Midfield: Farewell Toni

While Nacho’s future is still up in the air, Toni Kroos announced his decision to leave Madrid at the end of the season on a free transfer. He will play his final game at home tomorrow, and is expected to get a huge farewell.

Kroos’ last game in Madrid colours. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Federico Valverde will aid him in midfield, playing on the right side of the trident, while Eduardo Camavinga starts as the defensive midfielder to cover for the injured Aurelien Tchouameni.

Attack: No doubts

The attack pretty much picks itself, especially if Ancelotti is truly planning on mirroring the lineup that will likely start the Champions League final as well.

Jude Bellingham will retain his spot as the false 9, playing slightly off left as he has done more so in recent weeks.

Brazilian powerhouse Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo will get the license to start as the two forwards up top, playing in front of Bellingham.

Off the bench

Joselu will almost definitely get some minutes tomorrow, and more than likely in the Champions League final as well, especially owing to his brilliance against Bayern Munich in the semi-finals.

Similarly, Ancelotti could opt to experiment with Luka Modric in midfield in the second half, especially if Tchouameni does not make it back in time to full fitness ahead of the final.

Eder Militao and Arda Guler are also in for some minutes tomorrow, with the latter on the scoresheet four time sin the last three games.

Continue Reading