?Real Madrid travel to 14th-placed Real Betis on Sunday as they look to move back to the top of La Liga’s table.
After last week’s Clasico victory, confidence should be high in the Madrid camp. Goals from Vinicius Junior and Mariano were enough to cover up how poor they were for much of the match, and they will look to be more ruthless against Betis.
Barcelona won on Saturday to take top spot – three points for Madrid on Sunday would give them the initiative again.
Goalkeepers & Defenders
?Thibaut Courtois (GK) – The Belgian has been solid this campaign after suffering a blip in his debut season at the club. He has the most clean sheets in ?La Liga this season with 12 and will want to put some distance between himself and Jan Oblak, who has just one fewer.
Dani Carvajal (RB) – This spot has been cemented as the Spaniard’s for a while now, offering a threat going forward and he can be trusted defensively (you know, apart from the penalty he clumsily gave away against ?Manchester City in the ?Champions League).
Sergio Ramos (CB) – At this point, the captain basically is ?Real Madrid. His experience and leadership are invaluable to this team who are now a strong defensive unit partly due to their inability to score many goals. Ramos has even had to chip in with seven goals himself, making him their second-highest goalscorer this season.
Raphael Varane (CB) – Potentially one of the most underrated defenders in world football, ?Varane brings composure and pace to the backline. It won’t be long before the Frenchman will have to step up and replace Ramos as the main man in defence.
Ferland Mendy (LB) – This position has been hotly contested between Marcelo and Mendy since the 24-year-old arrived in the summer. The former Lyon left-back may not have started the Clasico but Marcelo’s experience was needed, but in this match, Mendy should get the nod.
Casemiro (DM) – This guy adds more bite to midfield than a great white shark. More than willing to do the dirty work in the team, ?Casemiro is an important player in this Real Madrid side and protects the back four fiercely.
Toni Kroos (CM) – Calmness personified. Rumours say that the German has never broken into a sweat. His passing accuracy stats are ridiculous and his set pieces are deadly – he’s even scored directly from a corner this season.
Fede Valverde (CM) – ?Luka Modric? Who’s that? The Ballon D’Or winner is slowly being forced out of this team by Valverde who is steadily growing into the side and is impressing with his assurance on the ball. A future Madrid star, no doubt about it.
Isco (RW) – While Gareth Bale remains an enigma at the club, ?Isco looks set to occupy a spot on the wing for a while. He brings gloss and flair to the attack, gliding around looking for little pockets of space to influence the game from.
Karim Benzema (ST) – The 32-year-old has bagged 18 goals in all competitions for Los Blancos this season – 240 goals in total for the club. He needs to continue providing the goods if they want to stop Barcelona winning the league again.
Vinicius Junior (LW) – Getting a goal in El Clasico will do wonders for the youngster, who has had a real run in the team following ?Eden Hazard’s injury. His pace and agility will serve him well, but he needs to be deadly in front of goal consistently too.