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Three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Rayo Vallecano



Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

There is a lot going on in Madrid off the field, with reports, accusations and punishments flying all over the city. Yet, the football must go on and Real Madrid must take to the field again tonight.

The clash at the Santiago Bernabeu will see them pitted against Rayo Vallecano, one of the very few teams who have beaten Real Madrid already once this season.

Andoni Iraola’s men registered a famous 3-2 win over Los Blancos in November courtesy of goals from Santi Comesana, Alvaro Garcia, and Oscar Trejo. This time, however, it is Real Madrid who boast the home advantage as they look to bounce back strong from two consecutive defeats.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points from Real Madrid vs Rayo Vallecano.

1. Times of turmoil

It is safe to say that Real Madrid and Spain have seen better days. If the events of the past two days are anything to go by, there is a lot about the world of football that needs to change, more so in La Liga.

The entire debacle of racism against Vinicius Jr had become a constant occurrence throughout the club’s 2022/23 campaign. Atletico Madrid, Valladolid and Mallorca were just a few of the stadiums in which the youngster had been subjected to racial slurs up until last weekend.

Yet, what unfolded at the Mestalla on Sunday night was outrageous beyond proportion. The attacks on the youngster were no longer made from the crypts of the stands but done with no sense of shame or repercussion.

The insulting gestures, chants and slur has been caught on camera and has prompted an immediate response from both Valencia and various law enforcement bodies. Yet, the very fact that the league has stooped to such a low is unacceptable.

Wednesday will bring Real Madrid’s first home game after the recent episode and it will only be just if the fans in the stadium come out in support of Vinicius Jr and call as a collective for stringent measures against racism. After all, the winger is said to be affected by events and could do with all the support he can get.

2. A Tale of eight games

Under pressure to turn things around. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

The statistic surrounding Real Madrid’s past eight games has surprisingly gone under the radar. After all, it has not happened many times in the club’s recent history that they have seen a record as poor as the one they are currently scripting.

Of their last eight games across all competitions, Los Blancos have won just three times. Unbelievably, they have more losses in the aforementioned period and have returned empty-handed on four of the nine occasions.

The freefall has not been without consequences. Poor form has cost the team dearly in the form of European elimination and a compromised position on the league standings. Real Madrid currently sit in third place on the table, behind Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

The Merengues‘ season may be over, but losing with the club’s crest is not acceptable under any circumstances. Coming off such a poor run of form, the pressure will be on Carlo Ancelotti and the veterans of the team to stabilise the ship and navigate it to a strong finish. That mission must begin against Rayo Vallecano tonight.

3. Asensio’s golden chance

Vinicius Jr was the victim on Sunday night and the whole world is testament to the same. However, his night only went from bad to worse in the penultimate minute of the game when he was sent off against Valencia.

A shocking report revealed that the VAR official on the night sent biased images to the on-field referee, prompting a red card to Vinicius while Hugo Duro walked unscathed. The VAR official has been suspended, and the Brazilian’s red card has also been rescinded. But he remains a doubt for the game due to a minor knee injury.

Marco Asensio is best placed to replace the winger in the starting lineup on Wednesday. The Spaniard will likely start in combination with Karim Benzema and Rodrygo Goes and must consider it one of his final chances to prove his worth to the manager this season.

Asensio’s consistent performances all season have practically assured him of a renewal at the club. The deal has not yet been signed, but all the signs are optimistic. Yet, the winger yearns to be a regular starter for the Merengues and Wednesday could be his chance to prove to Ancelotti his ability as a starter.

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Three talking points ahead of Sevilla vs Real Madrid



Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

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

Point to prove. (Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

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