After winning over the weekend and retaining the top spot in La Liga with FC Barcelona, the Champions League returns for Real Madrid. The goalless draw in Paris will find its resolution on Tuesday as Paris Saint-Germain visit the Santiago Bernabéu.
The fight for the first place in Group A might find a winner if the draw is avoided. The prize for winning the group is grand, so Los Blancos must work for the three points.
Preferred Formation: 4-2-3-1
Benítez has struck gold with the youth system products and the summer signings. James, Benzema, Bale and Carvajal have all missed a decent number of games and are nearing recovery. When that happens, Rafa will have some major problems, as those who have stepped in have proven to be very capable men.
GK: Keylor Navas
The Costa Rican unexpectedly skipped the weekend match because of an injury. KIko Casilla did a good job, but it’s clear that Keylor needs to be present in the upcoming climb that will include PSG, Sevilla and Barça.
Dani Carvajal isn’t expected back until the imminent international break ends. Danilo has done well, yet like Marcelo, he’s more often in the attack rather than in the back. This can be dangerous against strong rivals.
CB: Raphaël Varane
The Frenchman will have both Ramos and Pepe back, meaning he can rest with a bit more frequency. Nacho doesn’t exactly cut it compared to the other three, so the health of the top center backs is key.
CB: Sergio Ramos
The captain is back and ready to help the squad get back to achieving more clean sheets. This month, not conceding goals is one of the top priorities, since doing so can cost the team down the road.
He’s maintaining a great level this season, really exploiting his offensive potential. However, it’s already November and we haven’t seen someone who can even do half of what he does.
It’s no surprise that Benítez has become very fond of this man. Rejected by Ancelotti in the past, he’s established himself as a top resource in the midfield. He’s different from all the others, which makes him stand out.
LCM: Toni Kroos
The German is slowly coming back to the form we saw during his first year. Although hard to determine, having Casemiro keeping the midfield occupied has allowed him to become more influential.
RW: Lucas Vázquez
He has a good chance of starting, as the returning players aren’t fit enough to handle this type of pressure this early. Like Casemiro, he’s become a good alternative in the front, serving as a potent winger.
Finally scoring this season, this boost comes at the appropriate time. As James may be called up on Tuesday, the competition in the attack will heat up fast. That’s the price of playing for a club like Real.
LW: Cristiano Ronaldo
Despite scoring three goals during the past month, he continues to miss plenty of opportunities. The team will really need his effectiveness, as the next three opponents are some of the most challenging possible.
Scoring two goals and giving one assist in the past two weeks has allowed him to earn his coach’s trust. Benzema is right around the corner, still Jesé has managed to show his best version since he recovered from his injury.