Zinedine Zidane has made a staggering seven changes to the Real Madrid side that started in the shock 4-1 defeat to Valencia ahead of this afternoon’s La Liga tie against Villarreal.
It seems as though Madrid are still going with their usual 4-3-3 formation, but the personnel that Zidane is deploying is very different.
Thibaut Courtois remains in between the sticks, with the stopper one of just four to remain in the lineup.
Dani Carvajal makes his return from injury, Raphael Varane captains the side, Nacho starts ahead of the sidelined Sergio Ramos and Ferland Mendy is back at left-back.
Luka Modric and Toni Kroos will likely take up deeper-lying playmaking roles as Martin Odegaard is handed a start.
The front three consists of Lucas Vazquez – who had been deputising in Carvajal’s spot – with Eden Hazard on the opposite flank after his bout with Covid-19 and outcast Marino Diaz making his first start of the season.
— Real Madrid C.F. ???? (@realmadriden) November 21, 2020
Here’s how some of the Madrid faithful have reacted to the teamsheet:
I love seeing Hazard, Odeegard and Carvajal again. I am worried about Nacho, Vazquez and Mariano tho
— Yoda (@Nsadato1) November 21, 2020
What the hell is this ?
— ? ????????? ????????? (@NaghamAlkhader) November 21, 2020
Which kind stupid line up this???
— K W A B E NA 87™? (@kobe_nna) November 21, 2020
this lineup dey give me headache
— EL skinny AF FLACKO (@Mace_Knight) November 21, 2020
? i just pray that midfield can win the battle.
— FIDOMINAT (@iam_fido) November 21, 2020
Vazquez at RW is useless.
— J A G D E V ? || WAADA HAI ? (@its_me_jagdev) November 21, 2020
Rodrygo should be playing in my opinion
— Nishkal Narine (@NarineNishkal) November 21, 2020
Zidane’s selection is certainly surprising, but the inclusion of Vazquez as part of the front three – whilst controversial – does make sense when the rest of the team is taken into account.
With Casemiro still out with Covid-19 and Ramos sidelined, extra defensive contributions are needed from somewhere so the hard-working Vazquez could be key this afternoon.
The way that Carvajal and Mendy handle their defensive duties will also be crucial.
The pressures certainly on Eden Hazard to provide the cutting edge with Karim Benzema out though, Madrid shouldn’t expect much from Mariano’s rare start.
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