Preview: Real Madrid vs Levante — LaLiga Matchday 4
Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
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La Liga is back after the first international break of the season and so are Real Madrid. The second home game for Los Blancos is set to be Eden Hazard’s debut game for Real Madrid after the Belgian missed the three opening fixtures of the season. It is high time Madrid got into the clutch mode, as they will encounter some very tough fixtures in the remainder of the month. But first Madrid need to deal with Levante to get into their winning groove again before the season-defining fixtures later this month.

Real Madrid Team News

Announcing Real Madrid’s team for the Levante game is a bittersweet event as Eden Hazard, James Rodriguez, and Rodrygo Goes have all returned to the squad but Real Madrid are still missing an in-form Gareth Bale due to suspension while Isco, Modric and Valverde are all out injured. The number of muscle injuries suffered by Real Madrid players just within a month and a half into the season is very strange. The midfield has been reduced to only James, Kroos, and Casemiro while Brahim was surprisingly overlooked after training normally for the last couple of weeks. Here’s Zidane’s 19-man matchday squad:

Alphonse Areola, Thibaut Courtois, Diego Altube; Dani Carvajal, Éder Militão, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Nacho, Marcelo, Ferland Mendy; Toni Kroos, Casemiro, James Rodriguez; Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema, Lucas Vázquez, Luka Jović, Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo Goes.

What to Expect from Real Madrid

Real Madrid have a depleted midfield for the game against Levante. Zidane has only two viable tactical options for this game as he can either try the 4-2-3-1 formation like matchday 2 or go back to the 3-5-2 formation. James would be able to play in his preferred no. 10 position in a 4-2-3-1 setup while Hazard and Vinicius can share minutes on the left as Zidane hinted in his pre-match press conference that the Belgian captain may not play the full 90 minutes to ensure optimum fitness. Lucas Vázquez should start on the right in either case.

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If Zidane decides to go with his infamous 3-5-2 formation, Militao is expected to get some much needed minutes because Nacho and Ramos are suspended for the Champions League opener against PSG and the Brazillian would like to ease into things before that. Varane might be rested as well since he had an intense time with France and the World Cup winner must start against PSG in the absence of Nacho and Ramos. This would also help Real Madrid’s depleted midfield as the wing-backs would be practically a part of the midfield. Regardless of the setup, Karim Benzema is a guaranteed starter because of his fine form in the first three games.

What to Expect From Levante

After their opening day defeat against Deportivo Alaves, Levante have bounced back brilliantly, picking up two wins out of their last two games. Their manager Paco Lopez has one similarity with Zidane in La Liga 2019-20 so far, as both managers have used three different formations in their three games in the league. Paco’s three tactical schemes were 4-1-4-1, 4-3-3, and 4-4-2 against Deportivo Alaves, Villarreal, and Real Valladolid, respectively.

Away teams usually opt for a defensive scheme at the Bernabéu, hence, Paco Lopez may select the 4-4-2 formation due it’s flexibility going forward to tackle Real Madrid’s offensive options. Levante, currently are sitting on the 4th position of La Liga ahead of Real Madrid. Real Madrid’s on-loan academy graduate Borja Mayoral will face his parent club in this game after Real Madrid lifted the fear clause earlier this season.

Probable Line-ups

Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Courtois, Carvajal, Nacho, Ramos, Marcelo, Kroos, Casemiro, James, Lucas, Benzema, Hazard.

Levante (4-4-2): Aitor, Miramon, Vezo, Postigo, Clerc, Rochina, Vukcevic, Campana, Morales, Mayoral, Roger Marti.

Form (Most Recent First)

Real Madrid: DDWDW

Levante: WWLWL

Players to Watch

Eden Hazard, Real Madrid

Although Eden Hazard is not a guaranteed starter for this game since he is coming back from an injury, we are featuring him as our Real Madrid player to watch. The Bernabéu crowd is eagerly waiting to see Cristiano’s heir-in-chief to finally grace the historic stadium.

Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Roger Marti, Levante

Spanish forward Roger Marti has had a fine start to the season with two goals in three games so far. He is quick and deceptive in the box so, Real Madrid must keep a close eye on him if they want to stop dropping points in the league.

Photo: Jose Breton/SUSA/Icon Sport

Stats Check

  • Real Madrid have won only one out of their last four La Liga games (D2, L1) against Levante.
  • Levante have won only two of their last 15 away games in La Liga.

Where to Watch

BeIN Sports (USA), Movistar La Liga (Spain) will telecast the game live from 13.00 CEST.

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