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

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Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP via Getty Images

15 games and 15 years. That is the time that has elapsed since Getafe last bettered Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The record is a promising one for the hosts heading into tomorrow’s clash against Jose Bordalas’ men. Yet, one remembers that Getafe beat Real Madrid at Coliseum Alfonso Perez less than two years ago.

Getafe have carved a reputation for themselves as one of La Liga’s most rigid and gritty teams in recent seasons. In fact, they even held Barcelona to a draw on Matchday 1 with their aggressive and passionate brand of football.

With Los Blancos locking horns with the fellow Madrid-based side tomorrow, Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of kickoff.

Hola Santiago Bernabeu

In a league with 20 teams, only ten get the privilege of beginning the new season at their home ground. After all, a team’s first home game of the season is critical, if not fundamental, in ensuring they get off on the right foot.

Los Blancos belonged to the group of ten who started the season away from home. They travelled to San Mames for Matchday 1 where they saw off Athletic Club before travelling to the Power Horse Stadium to face off against Almeria.

The long journey away from home did not end there for the Merengues. Matchday 3 saw them pitted against Celta Vigo at the challenging Municipal de Balaidos in what was their third straight game on the road.

Now, after playing for three weeks in opponents’ fortresses, the men in white finally return to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Saturday’s early kick-off against Getafe will be the team’s first game of the season at their own den. Real Madrid have not lost to the Azulones at home in their past 15 meetings, and their last home defeat to Getafe notably came in 2008.

With Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid staring them in the eye in the next two games, it will be essential for Carlo Ancelotti’s men to keep their momentum going tomorrow. Yet, one knows will will be far from easy.

The #1 debate

Kepa or Lunin in goal tomorrow? (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Real Madrid signed Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga on a season-long loan deal earlier this summer with the guarantee that he would be their starting goalkeeper.

The Spanish shot-stopper has since made his debut and even recorded his first clean sheet in the white jersey. Yet, his position in the squad is unclear.

His only competitor, Andriy Lunin, was never expected to pose any direct threat to Kepa’s chances. Yet, credit where it is due, the young Ukrainian star has made a strong case for himself with recent performances.

The 24-year-old started for Carlo Ancelotti’s side against both Real Sociedad and Almeria and produced solid performances between the sticks.

Lunin recorded one save and two high claims in his performance against the Basque opposition. His subsequent game against Almeria may not have borne a clean sheet, but he recorded a stunning seven saves including four from inside the box at Power Horse Stadium.

Kepa is well placed to hold on to his starting spot for tomorrow’s match against Getafe. Yet, at the same time, it would not be surprising to see the Ukrainian star back in action either.

The Vinicius conundrum

The hosts’ biggest problem heading into Matchday 4 is Vinicius Jr’s absence. The Brazilian star was injured in the team’s 1-0 win over Celta Vigo and is now ruled out of action for at least six weeks.

Earlier this week, reports stated that Ancelotti was contemplating a change in formation in light of the star’s absence.

His idea was said to be to morph the existing 4-4-2 diamond formation into a 4-3-2-1 pyramid structure. In such a system, Jude Bellingham and Rodrygo Goes would serve as the attacking midfielders behind Joselu.

Updates later in the week denied any such change in formation. Yet, one can never be sure with a tactician like Ancelotti.

It will thus be interesting to see whom the manager counts on in Vinicius’ absence tomorrow. He could opt to deploy an out-and-out striker in Joselu, a more creative option in Brahim Diaz or add another midfielder to the fray in Luka Modric.

Needless to say, all eyes will be on the Real Madrid coach tomorrow at the Santiago Bernabeu. After all, he is under pressure to find a new working system without Vinicius for the next six weeks.

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Features

Five players who will be fixed starters for Real Madrid next season

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

Following a successful campaign, Real Madrid are poised for significant changes in their roster due to a combination of player arrivals and departures.

The responsibility of blending new faces with established stars will fall to coach Carlo Ancelotti and his staff as they aim to maintain the club’s competitive edge domestically and in Europe.

And to predict the team’s probable strategy and performance amidst these changes, it is imperative to identify the key players who will be constant starters.

Kylian Mbappe

The new talisman. (Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

With Real Madrid no longer viewing Mbappe through rose-tinted lenses and finally being able to dress him in the royal white jersey, the Frenchman is expected to be one of the first names on the team sheet.

Owing to his instinctive nature to find the back of the net, he is poised to be paired alongside Vinicius Jr. in attack.

Last season, the 2018 World Cup winner scored a whopping 44 goals in all competitions. Thus Real Madrid will be banking heavily on Mbappe’s ability to ask questions of opposition defenders in the final third.

It is being said that Mbappe is all set to wear the iconic number 9 jersey at Real Madrid, which is indicative of the role he will play, as a focal striker.

Vinicius Jr.

The main man at Real Madrid. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The Brazilian is in pole position to win the Ballon d’Or this year, and looking back on his season with Real Madrid, it is easy to see why.

Despite losing Karim Benzema, his usual partner in crime over the past few years, Vinicius performed remarkably well in Ancelotti’s new system.

Relentlessly taking on defenders, arriving into space, scoring goals, and stepping up in the biggest of moments, he was one of Real Madrid’s major lynchpins throughout the season as they lifted a historic double.

Vinicius impressively racked up 24 goals last season, and given his importance to the team, the likelihood of him not maintaining a starting role next season is nearly nonexistent.

Jude Bellingham

Real Madrid Fans’ Player of the Season. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Defying all expectations in his debut season, Jude Bellingham established himself as a key player for Real Madrid, demonstrating exceptional versatility, and maturity far beyond his years.

Although the Englishman’s performances wavered in the final stretch of the season, Bellingham’s contributions ensured Los Blancos were able to compete in the Champions League and especially La Liga.

In addition to scoring 23 goals in all competitions, he has constantly been a beacon of reliability in midfield and has proven to be the voice of reason on the pitch.

There have been murmurs about Bellingham potentially being berthed deeper next season as Real Madrid intends to use him as Kroos’ replacement. However, given his versatility, he is expected to be a crucial player wherever he plays.

Antonio Rudiger

A mainstay at the back. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Rudiger is one of the major reasons Real Madrid managed to successfully disguise their injury crisis. Despite players falling like dominos in the back-line, the German stood resolutely as a dependable figure for most of the campaign, arguably enjoying one of his best seasons.

Expertly anticipating opposition strikers’ movements, he leaps forward to thwart attacks before they begin. Moreover, thanks to his large stature and incredible recovery pace, he is able to cover distances behind.

Reports have mentioned that Carlo Ancelotti views him as a crucial component of the squad and potential arrivals, such as those of Leny Yoro and Rafa Marin, in the back-line are unlikely to devalue his presence.

Thibaut Courtois

Back like he was never gone. (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

In spite of spending more than half of the campaign on the sidelines recovering from an ACL and MCL injury, Courtois is worth his weight in gold for Real Madrid.

He performed admirably in the final few games of the season and did no wrong against Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League final.

While Andriy Lunin made up for his absence with flying colours, he is placed below Courtois in the pecking order for now, which also has made the Ukrainian lean towards an exit.

The fact that Lunin, after his sublime season, stands no chance of dethroning Courtois between the sticks is a testament to how much the club appreciates the Belgian. Even at the age of 32, the Belgian keeper is anticipated to retain an important role in the team.

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