After about a one month drought of European games, Real Madrid will host Olympique Lyon tomorrow evening at the Santiago Bernabéu. The historical French powerhouse is facing a rebuilding phase since they transfered Miralem Pjanic and Jeremy Toulalan this summer. Toulalan was the key man in Lyon's midfield while Pjanic could join the game if the French team needed a good passer.
With Lisandro López injured, the responsibility to score will fall on Gomis. The Drogba-like striker knows how to score on Casillas already: during last year's leg against Real Madrid, Gomis scored OL's only goal in the Stade Gerland.
Lyon is currently third in France's Ligue 1's standings.
Lass Diarra, Nuri Sahin, Raúl Albiol and Ricardo Carvalho are off of the list due to nagging injuries. Luckily for us, we will recover Marcelo after his red card in Zagreb's game. I would bet on Sami Khedira getting the starting role tomorrow. I don't know why, but Mourinho hasn't been using him as much as he was last season. The defense should be the same one we saw in the game against Betis: I think that is probably the best defense we can put on the pitch today. Carvalho is out of shape even if he weren't injured, and Sergio Ramos is just that good in the CB position.
Arbeloa has started the season pretty well so I am confident about our defense. Maybe when Carvalho leaves the team we can sign a full-guarantee RB so Arbeloa is able to return to his 12th man role, which I find more appropiate for him. Don't get me wrong, I trust Arbeloa a lot, but I don't know whether he is starter-caliber for a team like Real Madrid.
I feel like Mourinho might rest Kaká or Özil to give Di Maria some run. Özil does not seem comfortable playing on the wing, so my choice is to rest Kaká tomorrow so he can be ready for our next La Liga game. I think it would be smarter for Mourinho to play one of them: if Kaká is as fit as he looks, Di Maria should get the spot instead of Özil, since the Argentinian contributes more than the German on the right wing.
The other doubt that remains to be seen is whether we will see Benzema or Higuaín tomorrow. Mourinho has refused to say who has the starting position in Real Madrid and I tend to agree with him. With these two strikers, it would be better for us to give each of them a chance until one clearly proves that has the edge over the other one.
"It's possible to play with both Higuain and Benzema or only with one of them. Both players are playing well and the competition between the two improves the collective performance of the team. My objective is to unite and not divide. What's in the press is different; it's a debate about who is good and who is poor. My point of view is different, we win and lose as a team. We have different objectives".
Higuaín has showed recently that he has recovered from the slump he had after his surgery, and Benzema completed a nice preseason and start of the campaign. I would start Benzema tomorrow just because he knows the style of the French league, so he probably can give his teammates some hints about how to attack Lyon's defenders and goalkeeper.
This is about all about our team tomorrow, if you want to know something more about Olympique Lyonnais, head over to Managing Madrid's preview of the French team. That's an in-depth analysis that will give you more knowledge about Lyon's players and situation.
Let's hope we get to see a good game, but don't forget the win!