Real Madrid face Osasuna at the El Sadar in Pamplona on Saturday evening in their first away trip of the New Year, 2021.
Real Madrid prepare to take on 19th placed Osasuna in a game which could seem easy on paper but will require Los Merengues to focus and not underestimate the team – something that we haven’t seen them do on occasion so far during this campaign. However, this could also mean that we see some rotations from Zinedine Zidane as he keeps one eye on the Spanish Super Cup semifinal against Athletic Bilbao in midweek.
Regardless of rotations, Thibaut Courtois will continue being the goalkeeper for the team. He has continued his great form and probably won’t be rested until the beginning of the Copa del Rey, which is expected to start later this month.
With Dani Carvajal suspended after accumulation of yellow cards, it will be interesting to see what the manager has in mind for this game. He could take the opportunity to give Alvaro Odriozola a chance in the lineup with the Spaniard only making one appearance since his return from a loan spell at Bayern Munich but there is also a possibility of the manager slotting Lucas Vazquez there after he has proven himself time and time again. In the center, Raphael Varane will be expecting to partner with Sergio Ramos who should be back for the game. The captain has found himself in the papers regarding his contract situation but there is no doubt that he’ll be ready to give 100% if he is picked to start. On the left, could we expect another appearance for Marcelo as he aims to make amends? It would be a risky choice but one that we have seen Zidane make previously.
There is a lot that the manager can do in regards to shifting his midfield line around but don’t expect many amendments to his favored lineup here. Carlos Casemiro will be expected to start with Toni Kroos in front of him. A predicted change would possibly be for Luka Modric as Martin Odegaard could be given an opportunity to shine. We know that Zidane rates the Norwegian midfielder highly and this could be a good chance for him to get some time on the pitch.
If Lucas Vazquez is not picked as right-back for the game, this could be a chance for him to be rested ahead of the Spanish Super Cup match against Athletic Bilbao. Marco Asensio impressed in his last match out where he got himself a goal and assist and consistency is key for the Spaniard right now as he aims to hit top form. On the left flank, Eden Hazard should be given a start even though it would be surprising to see the Belgian complete 90 minutes. Up front, as much as many fans would like to see Luka Jovic start, it’s extremely difficult to bench Karim Benzema at the moment and I don’t expect to see Zidane make that move just yet.
Full Predicted Lineup:
Thibaut Courtois, Alvaro Odriozola, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Carlos Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Martin Odegaard, Marco Asensio, Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema