Real Madrid entertain third placed Villarreal this weekend with Gareth Bale likely to make his debut.
It’s going to be an intriguing La Liga clash between two sides that have both made perfect starts to the season with Villarreal only ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference having scored two more goals than their opponents in this match.
Despite the fact Real Madrid are away from home, expect Carlo Ancelotti to set his side up with a very attacking look about them, with new signing Gareth Bale expected to start from the substitutes bench.
“Bale will travel and will play. I'm not sure if he will start or come off from the bench,” said the Italian.
Here is the side the Italian could go with.
GK – Diego Lopez
Lopez should continue in the number one role as speculation of Iker Casillas’ future at the Bernabeu rolls on. Lopez is a solid all round goalkeeper and he hasn’t really put a foot wrong yet this season which means he should rightly continue to hold the number one spot.
RB – Alvaro Arbeloa
The former Liverpool full back has come on leaps and bounds since his time in English football. Defensively he is one of the best minds Real Madrid have in their back four and he’s extremely useful, providing extra width when Real Madrid counter attack.
CB – Sergio Ramos
Ramos will continue in the heart of the Real Madrid defence. He’s made this position his own over the last couple of seasons and his experience will be valuable in a hostile away environment. He also offers a threat at the other end of the pitch when Real pick up set pieces.
CB – Pepe
The Portuguese defender has been very solid next to Ramos so far this season. He seems to have dealt with the speculation that he could have been leaving over the summer and is cutting the figure of a very determined player.
LB – Nacho
With Marcelo picking up an injury playing for Brazil and Fabio Coentrao carrying a thigh problem, there could be a chance for Nacho to play down the left side of the defence. It’s a job that he may not have been expecting to do but it’s a role he should do a good job covering.
RM – Angel di Maria
The winger remains one of the most talented wide men in Europe and he’s not done too much wrong to deserve to be dropped. His pace is useful on the attack and he also has the ability to cut inside and link up with the rest of the midfield inside the opponent’s final third.
CM – Sami Khedira
The German will provide a little bit of cover for the back four. He’ll play the holding role in midfield which will allow the more creative and expansive players to flood forward, looking to create chances and score the goals which will secure the three points.
CM – Luka Modric
With Mesut Ozil gone, Modric has the chance to secure a regular first team place in the Real Madrid side. He has every skill in the book needed to sit and pull the strings in the middle of the pitch, controlling the pace and flow of Real Madrid’s attacking play.
CM – Isco
Expect to see Isco as the midfielder who gets forward most frequently to support the main striker. His skill in possession has been demonstrated several times already this season and he will be looking to maintain a strike rate of a goal per game.
LM – Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo is likely to start down the left wing doing his usual job of drifting inside. His pace, skill and ability to score goals at a prolific rate doesn’t need to be sold, He could play down the right at some point, switching with di Maria and he may also tuck in behind the main striker with Isco drifting over to the left wing.
ST – Karim Benzema
Benzema will be that main striker and the 25-year-old will be looking for his third Real Madrid strike of the season. His job is to simply play on the shoulder of the defence, pinning the Villarreal back four back which will create space for the influential midfielders to exploit.
image: © Jan S0L0