Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Valverde To Start | 4-3-3 Predicted Real Madrid Line Up Against Athletic Bilbao

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Real Madrid will be playing host to Athletic Bilbao to cover up for a lost fixture this season as Real started their 2020/21 campaign a week later. The Basque side are placed 12th in the points table and have only been able to amass two victories from twelve fixtures.

The Whites head into the encounter on the back of some scintillating form where they have won three high profile matches on the bounce and also held onto a clean-sheet in all of them. Athletic Bilbao seems to be the next stoppage in Zidane’s side’s impressive run displayed against Sevilla, Borussia Monchengladbach and Atletico Madrid.

Zidane will have nearly the entire squad at his disposal except for Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic. The two attackers are nursing their muscle and tendon injuries respectively. In a rather interesting development, Casemiro will be eligible to face Bilbao despite amassing five yellow cards this season.

The Whites have found a loophole in La Liga’s fixture scheduling and it could spell trouble for Athletic Bilbao. Here’s how Real could take to the field against Athletic at the Alfredo de Stefano Stadium in Madrid –

Defence

Thibaut Courtois will be taking command between the sticks for Los Blancos. The Belgian pulled out some impressive saves against Atletico Madrid and will be determined to make it four clean sheets on the bounce. Dani Carvajal is expected to retain his place in the line-up after returning from injury just last week. The Spaniard was enthralling to watch down the right-hand side against Atleti.

Daniel Carvajal celebrates
MADRID, SPAIN – DECEMBER 12: Daniel Carvajal of Real Madrid celebrates with teammates after Jan Oblak of Atletico de Madrid (not pictured) scored an own goal to make it the second goal for Real Madrid during the La Liga Santander match between Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid at Estadio Alfedo Di Stefano on December 12, 2020 in Madrid, Spain. Sporting stadiums around Spain remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

The vastly experienced and well-oiled centre back pairing of Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos would be taking to the field against a Bilbao side that can create trouble when on the counter. The two central defenders have countless years of experience under the belt and they will certainly be up for the task on Tuesday evening. Ferland Mendy is also expected to retain his position in the side following two commanding and physical displays. Marcelo could feature in the game off the substitutes bench later on in the contest.

Midfield 

Federico Valverde could be getting the nod ahead of Luka Modric. Zidane will have to keep in mind that Modric has turned 35 and it will be troublesome to play him week in week out without proper rest. Valverde, on the other hand, has had sufficient game time since returning from his injury and will not find it an alien-like place when he takes to the field at the Alfredo de Stefano Stadium.

Casemiro is most likely to start after the Real Madrid management found a cheeky loophole in La Liga’s rules. The Brazilian is a crucial part of the Los Blancos side and adds some much needed defensive solidity with his toe-crushing challenges. Toni Kroos would continue to play in midfield alongside Valverde and Casemiro. The German has really upped the ante to his game in recent months, which is possibly not the best news for any opposition.

Attack

Lucas Vasquez will be starting the right-wing position all courtesy to his impressive run of performances in recent weeks. Vasquez has provided Zidane with some much-needed breathing space by slotting into the right-back slot. Against Atletico, the Spaniard was a joy to watch and made life miserable for Diego Simeone’s side. Karim Benzema will, without a doubt, start at the number nine position. Zidane will be expecting the French striker to reach Real’s training centre with the correct shooting boots on Tuesday.

Vinicius Jr will start at the left-wing position in the absence of Eden Hazard. It is crucial for Vinicius to make the most of the chances he is being offered. The Brazilian’s decision making in the final third has seemed to be a bit sloppy and out of sorts.

Predicted Line-Up

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