Real Madrid’s first La Liga game of the season is full of question marks after Eden Hazard’s thigh injury. Coach Zinedine Zidane has plenty of options to choose from but none of them features the star signing of the summer, so it will be interesting to see his decision.
Will he deploy the 5-3-2 formation he’s tried for the last few preseason games with Isco replacing Hazard behind Benzema? This makes sense but ultimately the team could struggle too much offensively. However, it would allow Marcelo and Odriozola to make an impact upfront and that’s when they’re at their best.
A 4-4-2 with Jovic and Benzema playing together upfront also makes sense. That’s MARCA and our own Rob Husby’s prediction.
Zidane’s classic 4-3-3 formation is not very likely at this point without Hazard. Vinicius would play on the left while no less than four players in Vazquez, Isco, James and Bale would be competing for the spot on the right wing. Zidane might end up giving both James and Bale a chance this season, but it’s just not likely that they start the Liga opener. Isco isn’t comfortable on the right wing and Vazquez doesn’t produce enough offensively.
All things considered, it looks like Isco has a good chance to start the game because of his creativity and playmaking. Without Hazard, that’s something Madrid need.
Celta Vigo predicted XI: Rubén; Kevin, Aidoo, Costas, Olaza; Brais, Lobotka, Beltran, Suárez; Gabriel, Aspas.
Real Madrid predicted XI: Courtois, Varane, Ramos, Militao, Odriozola, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Marcelo, Isco, Benzema.
HOW TO WATCH, STREAM LA LIGA
Time: 17:00 CEST (local time), 11:00am EST.
Venue: Balaidos, Vigo, Spain.
Available TV: BeIN Sports (USA), Movistar La Liga (Spain)
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