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Who should start alongside Benzema when Real Madrid face Barcelona in El Clasico?

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Asensio, Vazquez, Bale and Vinicius are competing for two spots.

Real Madrid CF v Deportivo Alaves - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid will have a healthy roster for the first time since coach Santiago Solari took over and replaced Julen Lopetegui. Many things have changed, as Vinicius has blossomed into a starting-caliber player and definitely one of the most encouraging prospects Madrid have had in a while. Now, Solari will have to make some tough decisions with his starting lineup as all Vinicius, Vazquez, Bale and Asensio will be competing for two spots in the XI when Los Blancos visit El Clasico this Wednesday.

A report from MARCA suggests that Lucas Vazquez will feature in the starting lineup in order to defend Jordi Alba more effectively. But should he be starting when two men out of Bale, Asensio and Vinicius will have to sit on the bench to make room for him?

The case for Vinicius and Bale

Away goals are extremely valuable in the Copa del Rey and it’s fairly clear that Vinicius and Bale would improve Real Madrid’s odds at scoring some at the Camp Nou. In fact, a hard worker player like Lucas Vazquez could be more useful at the Bernabeu in order to keep a clean sheet. Many coaches implement a more offensive system for the away games in knockout stages and take on a more cautious approach at home. It makes sense.

Vinicius has established himself as a starter. He creates chances for his teammates and while his scoring numbers could be better, he’s a big threat every time he has the ball on his feet. Bale completed a mediocre performance last Sunday yet he’s also capable of scoring even when the team isn’t creating chances nor playing well. All in all, these two players should be ahead of Lucas Vazquez in the rotation.

Asensio needs more time

This has been a very tough season for Marco Asensio so far. Not only he has not performed as well as he was expected to when healthy, he’s also fallen behind Vinicius in the rotation because of the injuries. Real Madrid sold Cristiano Ronaldo and were hoping to get a big leap from Asensio, but that has not happened.

While it could be argued that Vazquez, Bale and Vinicius all deserve to start, Asensio needs more time. Luckily enough for Real Madrid, he’s good enough to be a factor off the bench as he’s proved time and time again over the last few years.