The Champions League returns very soon and things will get tough for Real Madrid. Before then, they face a very demanding week, as they play two direct rivals in La Liga. Sevilla will visit the Bernabéu with their usual idea of complicating things.
Without Ronaldo, it’s up to the team to work as a whole and succeed. Shortly after, Real will make a short trip and fight with their city rival Atlético Madrid.
Preferred Formation 4-3-3/4-4-2
The 4-3-3 has been Ancelotti’s system since his arrival. Nevertheless, the last match saw a clear use of the hybrid with the 4-4-2.
Much like in last year’s Copa del Rey final or the semi-final in Munich, one of the men in attack served more as a midfielder. James did the job well, combining creativity in attack and strength in defense. With this being a tougher match, this tactic will stay.
GK: Iker Casillas
The team’s recent propensity to conceding goals in the initial moments of a match needs to stop. Iker should prepare himself for a challenging week and strive to keep his teammates focused at all times.
RB: Dani Carvajal
If Coentrão might feature, Arbeloa could also show up in the starting lineup. Álvaro’s defensive attitude would be perfect versus Sevilla, but his lack of talent in attack would limit the team’s offense.
CB: Raphaël Varane
Pepe is one step closer to recovery and the Frenchman must take advantage of this. An excellent week against two strong teams is the best way to speak his mind. The coach would have a tough choice when Pepe return.
CB: Sergio Ramos
Scored a goal on Saturday and celebrated vigorously. Despite this, he continues to be less focused than before, making critical mistakes. With the UCL around the corner, we should be seeing the best Ramos again.
LB: Fábio Coentrão
Marcelo hasn’t decreased his form, still the dangerous Sevilla attackers require a lot more attention. This would be a great chance for the Portuguese to stay active and involved. Ancelotti used him frequently in big matches last year.
RCM: Asier Illarramendi
The transfer market closed and Asier didn’t go anywhere. Consequently, Carletto decided to give him a starting role. He hasn’t shined, but hasn’t failed either. With Lucas Silva coming in, he needs to prove he’s more useful.
CM: Toni Kroos
The German had a couple of rough moments in January, yet they will most likely stay in the past. Silva’s arrival and Modrić’s comeback will give Toni a chance to explore other positions or even rest some more.
His dribbles and passes continue to enamor the Bernabéu, reminding everyone of Zinedine Zidane. However, he needs to be constant and not only show up spontaneously during the 90 minutes.
RW: James Rodríguez
Also returning to form last weekend, when he plays closer to the rival’s area he shines more. Defensive sacrifice is a requirement at this club, yet this attacking role still has him going back to recover the ball.
ST: Karim Benzema
His two goals last weekend have him on the receiving end of praise, especially that second goal. He scored twice in last year’s match. Hopefully his current form will last a while, since there are difficult games ahead.
LW: Gareth Bale
A few of his choices last weekend drew some minor criticism. What’s clear is that everyone expects him to step up while Ronaldo is gone. He still is one of the team’s most threatening players. He also scored a brace last time Sevilla visited.