A goalless draw against Paris Saint-Germain had Real Madrid play some of their best football this season. Sitting at the top of their group in the Champions League, Los Blancos hope to also retain the first place in La Liga. In order to do this, they need to visit Galicia and beat Celta de Vigo, who are part of the three-way tie that also includes fierce rivals FC Barcelona.
Preferred Formation: 4-2-3-1
For a team that had major absences, the system worked really well in Paris. Strength and creativity in the midfield were equally potent. However, the team still lacks when it comes to finishing chances. Defensively they remain in top form, enduring their streak as the club with least goals conceded in Europe, with only two. Challenges will keep on coming and the Benítez philosophy will be tested even further.
GK: Keylor Navas
It’s incredible how he’s been able to own the goal at Real Madrid, making you realize that it was wrong to bench him last year. Accumulating clean sheets left and right, the teams will get harder and make it interesting to watch him.
While Carvajal is still out, he’s slowly getting settled into the role following his absence. He did well in Paris and needs to do even better in Vigo. Much like his colleague, he must try to keep a good balance and don’t open a space for Celta to attack.
CB: Raphaël Varane
The Frenchman continues to shine game after game, gaining confidence and establishing himself as a starter. The future is bright for this one, so the club must do what it can to retain him for a long time.
CB: Sergio Ramos
The captain added that missing element that Nacho couldn’t bring to the table. Balaídos is a complicated stadium and crowd, so Ramos has to stay focused and control the rival’s impressive attackers.
He made a colossal mistake on Wednesday that would’ve cost the team that draw. Nevertheless, he’s lucky to have teammates in the back that are on the lookout to correct them as quickly as possible. He should be more careful.
RCM: Luka Modrić
It’s a bit odd to imagine not wanting the Croatian in the lineup, yet this time it might be necessary. What Casemiro provides is something that neither Modrić nor Kroos can. Still, since Luka returned in the Champions League, it’s hard to keep him out.
LCM: Toni Kroos
The great ones are always worth waiting for. The German played his best match this season against PSG, really shining in the creative department. He was able to do this knowing that Casemiro was back there being omnipresent in the midfield.
RW: Lucas Vázquez
Another man who didn’t waste his shot in Paris. In a similar fashion to Callejón, he’s helping the youth system products improve their reputation. Since Kovačić is still a doubt at the time of writing, Lucas is a safe bet.
He continues to suffer from the same weakness he’s always been criticized for, keeping the ball too long. Those factors add up with time and make James seem like the adequate man for the starting lineups.
LW: Cristiano Ronaldo
He kept on trying, but he wasn’t able to score at the Parc des Princes. The hostile Celta crowd might give him a boost. He’s becoming a very inconsistent player, assisting and/or scoring only in four out of the eleven games this term.
ST: Jesé Rodríguez
As Bale and Benzema continue to recover from their physical problems, he will have to remain in the lineup. If Kovačić comes back, Jesé might lose his spot to Isco and the Croatian will move to the CAM.