Vazquez, Rodrygo in for Carvajal, Asensio: How Real Madrid could line up against PSG
Every year, the UEFA Champions League brings with it a set of unmissable fixtures that see Europe’s elite take on each other. This year, the clash between Real Madrid and Paris-Saint Germain is the game the world has its eyes on as the Ligue 1 and La Liga leaders try to pip the other out of the competition.
The first leg ended in victory for the French side after Kylian Mbappe scored a sensational solo goal in the final minute of the game. The Parisians dominated the proceedings on the night, while Ancellotti’s side sat back and defended in a passive display.
Their lacklustre performance at Parc des Princes now puts them in a must-win situation on Wednesday. Not only do Real Madrid have to win but also do so by a margin of at least two goals.
The situation is tricky for Ancellotti, for he must put up a team that can score goals without conceding at the other end. Here is how Los Blancos could lineup midweek against PSG.
Thibaut Courtois has been one of the team’s best players in recent weeks. The Belgian has rescued many a point single-handedly for his side and warrants a starting position on the night. Having failed to maintain a clean sheet in his last two appearances, the 29-year-old will have to put his all and avoid conceding a goal on Wednesday.
In central defence, Ancellotti will likely opt for the combination of David Alaba and Eder Militao to guard the goal. The Brazilian had a poor game against Real Sociedad. Though the team came away with a 4-1 win, Militao looked lost on many occasions and was dribbled past thrice in ninety minutes.
At right-back, one could expect Lucas Vazquez to take up the responsibility. Daniel Carvajal is indeed the first-choice right-back, but his poor record in recent games might give the manager second doubts.
The Spaniard conceded a penalty against PSG in the first leg and gave away another one at the weekend against Real Sociedad. Given the pressure to not concede, he could be benched for Vazquez.
Ancelotti’s biggest worry heading into the game midweek is left-back. Lionel Messi will be operating on PSG’s right flank, and Los Blancos are without both their left-backs on the night.
While Ferland Mendy is suspended, Marcelo suffered an injury in the last game and is doubtful. Nacho Fernandez is likely to get a start at left-back and will have to pull off an astronomical performance for his team on Wednesday.
Madrid will be without two key players for the second leg clash. Casemiro is suspended from the game owing to an accumulation of yellow cards, and Eduardo Camavinga is best placed to replace him. The 19-year-old produced a tremendous performance against La Real at the weekend and will be tasked with a bigger challenge come Wednesday.
The second player unavailable on the night is Toni Kroos. The German’s participation is not completely ruled out, but it is unlikely that he will start while physically unfit. One would expect Federico Valverde to take his place against PSG.
The final, and probably most crucial presence in midfield will be Luka Modric. The Croatian international continues to churn out world-class displays at the age of 36 and Ancelotti will hope for another big night for Modric against PSG.
Vinicius Jr. has been Real Madrid’s best young talent this season, scoring 13 goals and providing six assists in the league alone. However, the Brazilian did not have a good showing in the first leg in Paris. Given that his side need to score, he will have to be on point with his finishing and dribbling.
Karim Benzema will start as the centre-forward. The Frenchman failed to register a single shot when the two sides met two weeks ago. Needless to say, his performance will account for a big part of Real Madrid’s Champions League future.
The final player in the lineup is Rodrygo. The teenager provides a better work rate and linkup compared to Marco Asensio which could see him favoured by the manager. The Brazilian must be accurate on the night in both attack and defence if Real Madrid are to qualify for the quarters.
Toni Kroos is one of the big who will start on the bench against Pochettino’s side. Despite not being completely fit, the German could be involved in the second half given the gravity of the game.
Dani Carvajal is a valuable option for the manager to run a riot on the right-flank in the second half. One would also expect Marco Asensio to be involved in the closing minutes, especially if Los Blancos are chasing a goal. The same goes for Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard.
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.