Real Madrid’s away win in the Champions League has calmed down the crisis a bit. They still have a long way to go if they want to leave this bad football behind. Modrić trained with the group after a long absence, meaning there’s hope for a change in the quality of football.
To continue leading La Liga, they will have to visit Elche with the memory of last year’s complicated and controversial 1-2 win.
Preferred Formation: 4-3-3
The system held well on Wednesday, mainly because of Pepe’s strong return and Lucas Silva’s impressive starting debut. The former made Varane feel more comfortable, while the latter gave Kroos and Isco more freedom to move forward.
This new alternative should give Ancelotti some peace while he waits for Modrić’s complete recovery. The Italian will most likely give this midfield one more chance on Sunday.
GK: Iker Casillas
The captain kept a clean sheet in the UCL and made a few important saves. Since Navas was rumored to start last weekend, people shouldn’t rule this out now. Until Carlo confirms it, Casillas will start.
RB: Álvaro Arbeloa
Dani Carvajal left the Veltins Arena with a minor injury. Although he should be fine for this match, the lower profile rival is ideal to give him a rest. With this in mind, Arbeloa should suffice.
Even though he just came back from an injury, he was one of the best performers against Schalke. The defender gave the back line a huge boost, after having to use Nacho the last few weeks.
CB: Raphaël Varane
With Nacho by his side, he wasn’t able to be the leader of the defense. Despite his talent, it’s good to remember he’s only 21 and he will get better. Pepe brings the best out of him whenever they pair up.
He scored a screamer on Wednesday and gained a lot of praise. Since Coentrão isn’t fully fit, the Brazilian will continue to feature on the lineup. He will be key in driving Elche’s defenders crazy.
RCM: Lucas Silva
The new signing gave good vibrations in Germany and it’s very possible he will continue to gain some rhythm. He’s shown potential and a lot of personality, just what the club needs right now.
CM: Toni Kroos
We hadn’t seen his best version since last year. When he has someone covering his back, he gets to move forward and play in his natural role. We’ll see if Lucas becoming a regular is what he needed.
Despite the team’s obvious rough patch, he never stopped performing at a decent level. His box-to-box role is essential for Ancelotti’s desired balance. He must keep it up if he wants to play when Luka returns.
RW: Gareth Bale
He’s changing wings with Ronaldo more often and it’s giving him more influence in the game. He should further improve his contribution, as the team will need it in this tough part of the season.
ST: Karim Benzema
The worst out of the BBC versus Schalke, he shouldn’t get too comfortable, as others will be ready to profit from his decline. When he’s well the trio tend to be stronger and play even better.
LW: Cristiano Ronaldo
While he scored a goal, he hasn’t really come close to the player we saw in the early months of the season. A last-minute penalty saved Real last year from dropping points, he should do better than that.