Real Madrid’s breath of relief lasted merely a couple of days as they just cannot catch a break from muscle injuries. The joint-table-toppers of La Liga will now have to host a spirited Osasuna side at the Bernabéu without any designated left-back in the squad since Marcelo is out too. Real Madrid would still hope to keep their lead over Atletico and Barcelona after gaining some momentum against Sevilla.
Isco and Modric have gradually picked up the pace and the latter has completed one training session with the rest of the group while the former participated in two of them. Mendy’s absence means Real Madrid has to improvise and give some minutes to Nacho at left-back. Gareth Bale has been rested. Here’s Zidane’s 19-man squad for the game:
Courtois, Areola Altube; Carvajal, Militão, Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Odriozola; Kroos, Casemiro, Valverde, James; Hazard, Benzema, Lucas, Jović, Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo.
Jagoba Arrasate has announced a rather simpler 18-man squad for the trip to the capital. Here’s the full squad:
Herrera, Ruben, Vidal, Navas, Roncaglia, Lillo, Aridane, Estupinan, Merida, Torres, Garcia, Ibanez, Moncayola, Perea, Cardona, Avila, Brandon, Villar.
What to Expect
Zinedine Zidane hinted that Real Madrid may field a changed XI from their previous two games although at least one of those changes are going to be forced by injuries. It’ll be interesting to see how many minutes does the French manager offer to the players who are returning from long absences. Brazillian starlet Rodrygo hasn’t played a single minute of official football for Real Madrid yet and Luka Jović has not started a single game for his new club. These players are in need of a grand exposure and against Osasuna, they might just get that.
The tactical scheme of 4-2-3-1 which molds into a 4-1-4-1 formation should the preferred choice one more time but given the fact how many wingers are in need of more game time, Zidane may well opt for a flat 4-4-2 as well.
Jagoba Arrasate prefers a flat 4-4-2 to start with and as a matter of fact, that’s the formation that held Barcelona at 2-2. Osasuna are unbeaten in La Liga this term with four draws and a single win. The visiting team wouldn’t mind snatching a point from the Bernabéu given their good run which sees them at a mid-table position at the moment.
Osasuna likes to play vertically with a fair amount of service from the flanks. This approach should serve them well should they choose to go ahead with it since Madrid will be vulnerable on at least one of their wings due to a makeshift left-back deployment. Osasuna are also expected to be fast with their counters but with a team-effort like the one in Seville, Madrid should be able to halt them in their tracks.
Real Madrid: WLWDD
Real Madrid: Courtois; Odriozola, Militão, Ramos, Nacho; Lucas, Valverde, Casemiro, Vinicius Jr; Jović, Benzema.
Osasuna: Ruben; Vidal, Aridane, Roncaglia, Estupinan; Torres, Moncayola, Merida, Garcia; Brandon, Chimy.
“Solidity and team work are the crucial elements because beyond the fact we did a great job in the Sevilla game, I think the key was that we played as a team from start to finish. That’s what we need to win games. We need to make sure the players stick together. We must keep going in this way.” – Zinedine Zidane
“I would like to see the Osasuna of the last weeks, knowing that is it complicated, that we face a great rival in a difficult scenario, but to see if we are able to maintain that form tomorrow. The fact of going undefeated gives us the confidence of knowing that if we do things well, we will be in the game.” – Jagoba Arrasate
Players to Watch
Luka Jović, Real Madrid
The Serbian international hasn’t yet opened his account for Real Madrid after making a big-money move but he might get the chance to do so against Osasuna.
The 24-year old Spanish striker can cause trouble to Real Madrid’s makeshift backline in this game as he can operate both as a center forward and a left-winger.
- Real Madrid have not kept a clean sheet at home in La Liga for four straight games.
- Real Madrid are unbeaten against Osasuna since 2011.
- All of Real Madrid’s 10 La Liga goals have come from open play this season.