Real Madrid: 5 key players to watch against Athletic Club

Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Lucas Vazquez
Real Madrid, Lucas Vazquez (Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

RW Lucas Vazquez

All the superlatives should go to Lucas Vazquez for the heart he has shown over the past month for Real Madrid. When Zinedine Zidane’s back was against the wall vs. Borussia Monchengladbach, Vazquez stepped up with one of the best performances of his career. He looked like a world-class right back, assisting Karim Benzema, carrying the ball constantly against Oscar Wendt (who was subbed off after one half), and defending like his life was on the line.

Against Atletico Madrid, Vazquez was just as brilliant. He, Luka Modric, and Dani Carvajal are quite the trio on the right-hand side. Judging by this season’s performance only, Vazquez has earned the right to start over Marco Asensio, which is something I didn’t think I would say at any point during the 2019-2020 season.

LW Vinicius Junior

Unai Simon, Ander Capa, and the Athletic Bilbao defense are usually a tough group to crack. And they are going to be especially persistent and physical with Real Madrid, looking to spend the match defending compactly and sending Madrid players crashing onto the turf. Athletic Club can play ugly, and they will need to make this game a sloppy one for Los Merengues in order to have a chance.

Vinicius Junior was on the receiving end of Atletico Madrid’s punishing tackles and tight marking, and Athletic Club will look to frustrate him in the same way. They will challenge Vinicius to make plays for his team and get involved in the match, because he has looked like the weak link in Real’s starting XI over the past few games. He has been the only player to not stand out in these wins.

Next. Real Madrid Predicted Lineup Vs. Athletic Club. dark

But make no mistake, Vinicius is capable of causing huge problems to Athletic Club. The key will be him actually making the right moves and executing, and his confidence will be tested in this one.