In what was an eventful week for Real Madrid, the main occurrence will be their La Liga home debut against Real Betis.
The first match translated only into one point, which means they need to beat the Andalusian team if they hope to stay close to rivals Atleti and Barça. The recently promoted club won’t make it an easy night, as their absence in the top flight will motivate them to make up for lost time.
Preferred Formation: 4-2-3-1
Rafa Benítez will have to confirm that this system is ideal every week. The lack of goals and the easiness for rivals to overcome the midfield and the defense are alarming. Bale’s position, the double pivot, the wing backs, the Isco/James debate and other challenges will come his way. For his sake, he has to find the solution that is best for all, as patience is limited at the Bernabéu.
GK: Keylor Navas
The clean sheet on his first match post-Casillas is a good achievement. The transfer market is about to close and De Gea is everywhere. Showing security and stability on Saturday would be ideal to stop David from joining now.
RB: Dani Carvajal
Danilo didn’t work as expected against Sporting, with some demanding the Spanish play this match. This duel will be more intense than last year’s Arbeloa-Carvajal, with every week being crucial to playing more minutes.
CB: Raphaël Varane
The Frenchman kicked off the season as a starter and like the grand majority of the defense, he has to be wary about his competitor. Pepe won’t be satisfied with a spot on the bench all year.
CB: Sergio Ramos
The captain has the responsibility of being a leader, with less margin for error now. His sporadic impulsive decisions need to be thought more attentively, as those played a role in the trophy-less spell.
His longtime competitor Fábio Coentrão was loaned this week. The Brazilian has it all now to be the permanent left back. However, he must be careful with Cheryshev if he stays, as he will want to remain active.
RCM: Luka Modrić
Missing more than half of the previous term, his return is a welcome addition. His health can also be helpful to new boy Mateo Kovačić. Without Lucas Silva and Illarramendi, the remaining midfielders have to be in tip-top shape.
LCM: Toni Kroos
Like the rest of his teammates, he isn’t exactly going through his best moment. Nobody questions his talent, yet Real need to prove that sticking with two attack-minded midfielders is the correct choice.
RW: James Rodríguez
Following his surprising start from the bench last Sunday, it’s very likely he will reclaim the spot he had been owning lately. This will mean Isco has to step out and continue the debate between the two.
CAM: Gareth Bale
There’s a major divide and the Welsh has to either impress in his new role or talk Benítez into shaking things up. The team can’t afford to keep waiting for someone to get settled, as there’s a lot at stake this season.
LW: Cristiano Ronaldo
The Spanish press made a plethora of arguments about him this past week, focusing on whether or not he’s happy and/or comfortable. Being in front of his fans should encourage the Portuguese to calm down the attacks.
ST: Karim Benzema
Fully recovered and ready to bring back the BBC, Karim has to help the team end their streak of goalless games. Rumors are spreading that another striker might arrive before the market’s close, so he must make a triumphant comeback.