Predicting the Real Madrid Starting XI to Face Granada on Saturday

?Crisis; what crisis?

Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid side sit atop of La Liga, going unbeaten in their first seven games. So, what’s the problem?

Well, it’s quite hard to put your finger on something particular, but something’s just not right at the Bernabeu at the moment. Whether it be the Bale-Zidane rift, the apparent Courtois-Zidane rift, the ‘unfit’ Eden Hazard or their disappointing start to their Champions League campaign, all is not well for Los Blancos.


On Saturday, they play host to a top of the table clash with Barcel…nope, Atlet..no, that was last week. Well, who then?

That’s right, everybody’s first guess, the newly-promoted Granada. 

Real will be looking for a win after their disappointing 2-2 draw at home to Belgian side Club Brugge, whilst a win for Granada will see them leapfrog Saturday’s opponents to the summit of La Liga.

Here’s how Real Madrid should lineup for this top of the table clash in Spain.


Goalkeeper and Defenders

FBL-EUR-C1-REAL MADRID-BRUGGE

Alphonse Areola (GK) – A position filled with controversy at the moment. Thibaut Courtois was substituted midway through the game against Brugge due to illness and although he’s expected to be fit for Saturday, Areola should get a chance. The ex-PSG man, who joined in a swap deal with Keylor Navas, performed well in the second half on Tuesday and should retain his place in goal.

Alvaro Odriozola (RB) – Zidane has rotated between Odriozola and Carvajal a couple of times already this season. With the latter playing 180 minutes last week, Zidane should give Carvajal some rest bite and play Odriozola on Saturday.

Sergio Ramos (CB) – No explanation needed, you start him every time he’s fit.

Rafael Varane (CB) – Starting to cement himself as one of the best in Europe at his position and has formed a formidable partnership with Ramos over recent seasons. With there being a left-back crisis at the moment, it’s highly unlikely that Zidane will rotate his centre-backs.

Eder Militao (LB) – The summer signing from Porto is expected to make just his third start in a Real Madrid shirt on Saturday, this time from a rather unfamiliar left-back position. With Marcelo, Nacho Fernandez and Ferland Mendy all out injured, Militao, who’s played a little bit of left-back in the past, is the next-best candidate.


Midfielders

Carlos Casemiro

Casemiro (CM) – Another player who’s cemented himself as one of the best in his position. The Brazilian provides steel and power to a declining Madrid midfield and we’ve seen him put the midfield trio on his back on occasions this season.

Toni Kroos (CM) – Does anybody pass the football quite as well as Toni Kroos? Whilst he’s not declined at the same level as Luka Modric, Kroos isn’t the player he was in 2014. But, he can still produce moments of quality of possession and it’ll be tough to drop him when you look at the other options.

James Rodriguez (CM) – The Colombian deserves another start. Last year’s ‘Best Player’ Luka Modric is on the downslope and should be dropped in favour of James. The 28-year-old provides this Madrid midfield with energy and creativity, the latter being something they’ve missed over the past 12 months.


Forwards

Karim Benzema

Gareth Bale (RW) – The Welshman has done exceptionally well to put the disappointment of a failed summer move behind him, starting the season brightly in Madrid. A couple of goals and an assist from five starts isn’t a bad return as he attempts to find his best form once more. His electric pace and wand of a left-foot should make him one of the first on the team sheet.

Karim Benzema (ST) – The most underrated striker in Europe for some time now, Benzema has enjoyed a fast start to his 2019/20 campaign, making six goal contributions in six La Liga games. He’s been Real’s best player to start the season, keeping summer signing Luka Jovic out of the lineup.

Eden Hazard (LW) – It’s only a matter of time before the boos start ringing out at the Bernabeu for Hazard. The Belgian hasn’t found the net since his big-money move from Chelsea and his overall fitness has been called into question. Nevertheless, the 28-year-old has the backing of his manager and Zidane should give him a run of games to get him back on track. 


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