Sergio Ramos, Eder Militao, Odriozola, Casemiro, Valverde, Benzema and Jovic will all miss today’s away game against Villarreal, leaving coach Zinedine Zidane in a tough spot when trying to pick the best available lineup to face a quality team like The Yellow Submarine.
Real Madrid predicted XI: Courtois, Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Mendy, Kroos, Modric, Odegaard, Isco, Hazard, Mariano.
Villarreal predicted XI: Asenjo, Gaspar, Albiol, Torres, Pedraza, Parejo, Iborra, Trigueros, Moreno, Gomez, Alcacer.
Madrid’s defensive line picks itself. It’s true that Zidane could always decide to start either Vazquez or Mendy at the right side of the defense but Carvajal appears ready to start. Other than that, Real Madrid are in trouble if one of Varane or Nacho gets injured during the game.
The midfield is where it gets interesting. Villarreal have a strong midfield line and Real Madrid can’t expect to compete well against it without Casemiro or Valverde’s physical presence, so Zidane could always try to increase his chances by playing with a 4-4-2 of Kroos, Modric, Odegaard and Isco, a midfield which would not be lacking creativity. That would allow Hazard and Mariano to play upfront, although whether Hazard is actually ready to start remains to be seen. Rodrygo could also play as a second striker, just like Asensio.
If it’s always tough to predict Real Madrid’s starting lineup, it’s even tougher tonight, because it’s just impossible to find the perfect replacements for Casemiro or Valverde.
HOW TO WATCH, STREAM LA LIGA
Time: 16:15 CET (local time), 10:15pm EST.
Venue: Estadio de la Ceramica, Villarreal, Spain.
Available TV: BeIN Sports (USA), Movistar La Liga (Spain)
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