?Real Madrid look to maintain the pressure on Barcelona at the top of La Liga as they host Real Sociedad at the Bernabeu.
Zinedine Zidane’s side sit second in the league behind Barcelona, but only on goal difference on 25 points. They are only a point clear of Atlético Madrid and Sevilla – but have played a game less.
Prior to the international break, they recorded an impressive 4-0 away win at Eibar as they stayed level with their El Clasico rivals.
Now, they play host to fifth place Real Sociedad who could provide a stern assessment. If Sociedad were to beat Los Blancos, they would leapfrog them in the table. It would only be Real’s second ?La Liga defeat if Sociedad pulled off a historic victory.
Here’s the most likely Real Madrid side as they go in search of their eighth win this season.
Goalkeepers & Defenders
Thibaut Courtois (GK) – Courtois has silenced a lot of his critics this year following a lacklustre first season as Real’s number one. ?Courtois has played in ten La Liga games this season and secured five clean sheets so far. Moreover, Courtois has been part of this Real defence that has conceded only nine this season – bettered only by Atlético and Athletic Bilbao.
Dani Carvajal (RB) – The Spaniard has been one of Real’s most consistent players this season. Along with the defensive record, Carvajal has provided four assists in the nine games that he has played. He has cemented his role as Real’s first choice right-back, taking it back from fellow Spaniard Alvaro Odriozola.
Sergio Ramos (CB) – Sergio Ramos is captain fantastic for ?Real Madrid and continues to prove that he is a generational talent at the back for both club and country. He’s played in every La Liga game so far this season, scoring two goals in the process. More importantly, it seems his discipline has improved with only one yellow card and no reds yet this season.
Raphael Varane (CB) – Even with the big money signing of Eder Militao over the summer, Varane will continue to partner Sergio Ramos at the heart of the defence. He remains one of the best in the world at his position and he has shown that quality by helping Real Madrid to six clean sheets this season.
Ferland Mendy (LB) – Ferland Mendy has snatched the starting space away from Marcelo. The simple fact of the matter is that Mendy is much better defensively than the Brazilian, while also offering the attacking option down the left side. He’s yet to provide his first goal or assist for Los Blancos but looks a constant threat from left full-back.
Casemiro (DM) – Casemiro is back to playing some of the best football of his career at the base of Real Madrid’s midfield. He often dictates the play and provides defensive support when needed. The Brazilian is not only defensively strong but has added creativity to his game with a goal and an assist this season so far.
Toni Kroos (CM) – Real are currently spoilt for choice in the centre of the park, but ?Kroos remains a key part of this side. He missed out in the Eibar game but has been crucial to Zidane’s side since the start of the season providing two goals and an assist in ten starts so far. The German doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of ageing just yet.
Federico Valverde (CM) – Where’s Luka Modric, you ask? He’s on the bench. Simply put, the Croatian cannot feature in as many games as he could in previous years, and Valverde is beginning to show his talent having scored his first goal this season in that 4-0 demolition of Eibar. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Modric start – but Zidane seems to be taking a liking to the young Uruguayan.
Rodryo (RW) – The young Brazilian lit up the Bernabeu with a hat-trick against Galatasaray in the Champions League at the start of the month. Before that he had started twice in La Liga and scored two goals. With Lucas Vazquez, Marco Asensio and James Rodriguez all sidelined, it is the prime opportunity to give the youngster some more game time.
Karim Benzema (ST) – Arguably most underrated striker in world football. He’s been Real’s player of the season so far and deserves all the plaudits he gets. In his 11 appearances in La Liga so far, ?Benzema has scored nine goals and laid on another three for his teammates. At 31, he only seems to be getting better?, just like the prophetic fine wine.
Eden Hazard (LW) – Real need to forget about Cristiano Ronaldo and the controversy surrounding Gareth Bale at the moment and concentrate on the world-class player they paid £100m for over the summer. Yes, Hazard has been underwhelming in his first few games as a Real player – but he can get better and has shown the signs that he will.