Real Madrid vs. Chelsea: Expectations for each projected starter

Real Madrid, Eder Militao (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Eder Militao (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Eder Militao
Real Madrid, Eder Militao (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid will face Chelsea in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals this Tuesday night at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. They are coming off another 0-0 draw in La Liga, putting them in a tough position when it comes to winning the league. Therefore, they will be extra motivated to excel in the Champions League, as if they needed more motivation, considering it may be their best chance of winning a trophy.

Chelsea are formidable opponents, as Thomas Tuchel has been getting the most out of his players. Let’s take a look at the expectations for each projected starter on Los Blancos heading into this big match.

GK Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut Courtois will surely be one of the difference-makers for Real Madrid in this tie. The former Chelsea star has saved 81.6 percent of the shots he’s faced in La Liga and is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Courtois has kept Real in so many games this season, and he was downright heroic in his last Champions League match.

LB Nacho Fernandez

Nacho started at left back this weekend against Real Betis before shifting to center back in a back three when Zinedine Zidane changed the formation in the second half. Expect him to start at left back again, as Ferland Mendy seems highly unlikely to return. Nacho isn’t going to light it up down the wing in an attacking sense, but if he can make good passes and defend the left side of the defense well, Real Madrid will be in good shape.

CB Raphael Varane

Raphael Varane has been solid in his return from COVID-19, as he helped Real Madrid record clean sheets against Cadiz and Real Betis. The 28-year-old defends without a fuss and is one of the most composed players you’ll find. Varane does not have to make the intervention to defend well, and his reading of the game will be vital against an active Chelsea front line. His closing speed will be important against the frenetic Timo Werner.

CB Eder Militao

Eder Militao has been tremendous since entering the starting lineup in the first leg against Liverpool after Varane tested positive for COVID-19. The young center back has been a part of three straight clean sheets, including two truly sensational weekend displays against Getafe and Real Betis. Militao is becoming a real bright spot for Real Madrid, and fans now have very few doubts about him heading into the semifinals.

RB Dani Carvajal

Dani Carvajal made his first start back from injury against Real Betis after coming off the bench against Cadiz. Now, fans can expect to see him play his first full 90 since his return. With Nacho at left back, Carvajal will have a lot of attacking responsibilities. The accuracy of his crosses could determine the outcome of the match for Los Merengues.