After a 5-1 rout of nervy Legia Warszawa side, Real Madrid will be hosting Athletic Bilbao this Sunday at Santiago Bernabeu. Resting quite a few of his starting players in the Champions League fixture, Zinedine Zidane would be expecting a fresh squad for the La Liga match, where they currently sit second.
Madrid are already injury struck this season with a string of players out for both long and short time. They include, Sergio Ramos with knee injury expected to return in late November, Fabio Coentrao out with hamstring with no specific return date announced yet, Casemiro with fibula shaft structure expecting a return in late December and their ever dependable Luka Modric with a knee injury expected to return this month which means he would only start next month.
However, with a comfortable 6-1 win against Real Betis and with quite a strong squad available, Zidane is expecting a win. Besides, they have won their last five games against Bilbao at home and have managed to score a combined 21 goals in the process. Not bad eh?
The return of the Brazilian side back Marcelo has greatly relieved Zidane in the absence of Sergio Ramos. The 28-year old bagged a goal in the match against Real Betis. The other good news would be the scoring form of Raphael Varane, who also headed a goal against Betis.
The options of Daniel Carvajal and Danilo at the side back are also quite calming for the French manager. Pepe is also expected to take his position in the central defensive role during the weekend.
After resting Kovacic and Isco in the Champions league game against Legia, Zidane is expected to start with them against Athletic Bilbao. With Lucas Vazquez showing signs of improvement as he scored coming off the bench last week, Zidane will be having options in the midfield in the absence of Luka Modric.
James Rodriguez and Marco Asensio put in tremendous performances against Legia with the latter even getting a goal. If not in the starting lineup, Marco Asensio would be optimistic to come off the bench if the game doesn’t go south against Bilbao.
Undoubtedly, the trio of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale will be starting against Bilbao unless they suffer injuries in the training. Zidane will expect his attackers to run a riot against the opponent repeating last week’s performance.
Watch out for Alvaro Morata too as he scored against Legia and could get a run out in the second half if he doesn’t start.
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