Real Madrid will brace themselves for yet another challenging task ahead as they lock horns with Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday evening.
The Spanish giants, after a stuttering start to the campaign and a 3-0 defeat to PSG, have responded well by securing a narrow win over Sevilla. They will also come into this encounter on the back of a 2-0 win over Osasuna on Wednesday and will be brimming with confidence.
Here is how Zinedine Zidane’s men could line up against their cross-town rivals this weekend.
Zinedine Zidane rested a lot of his key players against Osasuna in midweek, including Raphael Varane. The Frenchman should return to the starting eleven against Atleti, at the expense of new signing Eder Militao. He will be partnered by Sergio Ramos at the heart of Real Madrid’s four-man backline.
Dani Carvajal was also rested in midweek to feature against Atletico this weekend. He will replace Alvaro Odriozola at right-back, despite the young defender’s impressive performance versus Osasuna.
Marcelo, meanwhile, has recovered from a neck injury but there are doubts regarding his overall fitness. He will be assessed on Friday’s training. In the meantime, Nacho Fernandez remains a favourite to occupy the left-back slot.
And finally, Thibaut Courtois will return in between the sticks this weekend, replacing new signing Alphonso Areola. The Belgian goalie is looking for only his second clean sheet of the campaign.
Zidane will likely revert to a 4-3-3 setup after experimenting with a 4-1-4-1 in midweek, though both are pretty much the same setup with minor tweaks. Either way, Casemiro is a guaranteed starter in the holding midfield role. The Brazilian will be looking to disrupt Atletico’s possession phases with his aggression and physicality.
Luka Modric, meanwhile, is expected to come into the side after being rested against Osasuna. He will replace Federico Valverde and will be partnered by Toni Kroos in the opposition half.
Modric’s lack of pace, however, could be problematic against the high press of Atletico Madrid, in which case, James Rodriguez is the likely alternative.
Los Blancos’ big money arrival Luka Jovic is still without a goal for his new club. He will make way for Karim Benzema in the number nine role. The Frenchman will be supported by the wide attacking duo of Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard.
None of these three players featured against Osasuna in midweek so they should be fresh ahead of this weekend’s Madrid derby.
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