Now six points ahead in La Liga, Real Madrid must go through the motions in the Copa del Rey after garnering a six-goal lead in the away game. Cultural Leonesa will visit the Santiago Bernabéu with little hope, but with the mindset of not making it a fun night for their rival. With El Clásico coming up on Saturday, a completely unseen lineup is expected in order to reserve key players.
Preferred Formation: 4-3-3
Even though FC Barcelona’s form on Sunday was disappointing, they’ll still be that fierce competitor, especially at the Camp Nou. With a match like this coming, there’s arguably a reason for Zinedine Zidane to risk his Saturday lineup over a clash he has a huge advantage in. It would be the ideal time to bring up most of the Real Madrid Castilla squad, yet the coach has a tendency to surprise.
GK: Kiko Casilla
He played the one last month and is a safe bet for Wednesday. Keylor Navas is growing steadily, so it doesn’t seem like he will be getting minutes outside of the Copa setting. Ruben Yáñez could be the surprise.
RB: Achraf Hakimi
Danilo would be the starter under normal circumstances. Nevertheless, his poor form is something his coach should be aware of. He’s had chances to prove his worth, with no success, which is why the Castilla defender would have odds.
His return wasn’t as triumphant as he expected. He’s most likely just out of shape, as he’s shown he still brings a lot to the table. For him to gain some confidence, Zizou will most likely keep him in.
CB: Nacho Fernández
Currently one of the emerging performers in the squad, he’s gone from a simple fill-in to a player who can break the classic Ramos-Pepe-Varane hegemony. There’s a shot that he could start El Clásico, so a youngster would play for him in the cup.
LB: Fábio Coentrão
He was absent from Saturday’s final call up. After a disastrous UEFA Champions League performance, it’s time to give him a smaller test. If he recovers from his physical problems, he’s a safe bet.
RCM: James Rodríguez
His boss gave him an opportunity against Sporting Gijón and he was one of the worst performers on the pitch. He’s probably disconnected from the squad after being benched so often. His odds are good, so he must step up, even if it’s a minor game.
The Brazilian was called up for the league game, but it was too risky to send him in. He’ll most likely play the full 90 minutes to get some rhythm ahead of El Clásico. He’s been out for a while, so it will take some time to regain his previous form.
Even though he did a fantastic job versus Atlético Madrid, he gradually toned down his performances. With Casemiro back, he has to fight one more person for a starting chance, so he must impress once again.
RW: Lucas Vázquez
He’s a regular now with Gareth Bale gone. His form has gone down a little bit since the derby, so this is a good moment for him to shine. There’s a small chance a Castilla youngster could play instead.
The healthy members of the BBC, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, have no reason to be risked three days before a major clash. Without Morata, Mariano has what it takes to play the whole thing.
LW: Marco Asensio
In contrast with his showings early in the season, he hasn’t done anything special when he comes in. If Enzo, Ødegaard, and others are included in the final squad, he’ll have to compete until the last minute to make it.