Thirteen goals in two games have served Real Madrid to bury all the bad feelings regarding a disappointing start of the season. However, this winning streak needs to be continued tomorrow against Elche CF, in Liga BBVA's Day 5, in order to try to cut down the point distance with FC Barcelona, which are currently top of the table and six points ahead, and also with Atlético de Madrid, who are only two points ahead of us now due to their unexpected draw against Celta de Vigo.
There are still some problems to be solved, though. The defense is not working near half as good as our frontline, and it is our coach's duty to find out why this is so and how to solve it. Many people are claiming that a midfield trio with Kroos, Modric and James is not sustainable and they're the main reason why we are conceeding so many goals. As I see it, it is an insufficient performance of our defenders when pushing their line up together with a poor tactical preparation when defending set pieces what has costed us six points so far. However, it is true that the entrance of Illarramendi against Deportivo served to balance the team last Saturday, so perhaps this is something we should also pay attention to.
As Ancelotti confirmed in the pre-match press conference, the Santiago Bernabéu will witness some rotations in our lineup in order to avoid overcharging the players in an early stage of the competition and keep improving our game. Throughout the day, there have been several reports regarding these rotations (Ramos and Pepe out of the training session due to injuries, Isco to start, Chicharito to start, Navas to start), but only the absence of Pepe was confirmed by our coach. As a result, guessing the lineup seems as easy as finding a needle in a haystack.
Whatever the chosen lineup finally is, we should expect Real Madrid to be victorious tomorrow against an Elche side that don't look as solid as they did last season, and who have lost their most talented players, like Carles Gil or Fidel. In fact, last Friday they lost a home game for the first time in 2014, against the recently promoted Éibar, so it seems evident that they're not going through a great time right now.
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- Goalkeepers: Casillas, Keylor Navas and Pacheco.
- Defenders: Varane, Ramos, Coentrao, Marcelo, Carvajal, Arbeloa and Nacho.
- Midfielders: Kroos, James, Bale, Modric, Isco and Illarramendi.
- Strikers: Ronaldo, Benzema and Chicharito Hernández.
Projected lineup: Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Coentrao; Illarramendi, Kroos, Isco; Bale, Hernández, Ronaldo.
TV Information: Canal + Liga & Gol T (Spain), Sky Sports 5 (UK), beIN Sports USA (USA), Others.
Prediction: 4-0 for Los Blancos, Isco Man of the Match (allright, maybe I was a bit too optimistic here).