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REAL MADRID

‘Revolution Zidane:’ rotations expected for Espanyol clash

The coach is set to make big changes to the side that beat Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday night with Real Madrid scheduled to play 4 games in the next 9 days.
Real Madrid-Espanyol

‘Revolution Zidane:’ rotations expected for Espanyol clash
Pepe Andrés

Espanyol vs Real Madrid live English

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is planning his own little ‘revolution’ for tomorrow’s visit to Espanyol. Following the international break his side entered a grueling marathon of 6 games in just 17 days. They’ve already played two (against Osasuna and Sporting Lisbon) but 4 still remain: Espanyol, Villarreal, Las Palmas and a tricky Champions League tie with Borussia Dortmund. Bearing in mind the obvious and unavoidable effects of fatigue, Zidane will continue with the rotation policy that has proved so successful so far this season.

Changes afoot for Espanyol clash

Zidane will be keen to rest players against Espanyol with a gruelling fixture schedule coming up

The Frenchman has decided to make four or five changes, which could rise to up to seven for Sunday’s LaLiga match-up with Espanyol. He still hasn’t settled on a starting XI; following yesterday’s training session there are still up to eight players who didn’t start against Sporting that could play: Pepe, Danilo, Kovacic, Asensio, James, Isco, Lucas, Vázquez and Morata.

Pepe and Danilo in defence

Pepe and Danilo are likely to come in to the defence. The former could come in for Sergio Ramos, giving the club captain and the only ever-present player so far this season a rest; the latter, meanwhile, will be rewarded for his strong goal-scoring performance against Osasuna.

Zidane unsure over midfield changes

Isco could be set to return to the side in place of Luka Modric

The midfield is where Zidane doubts most. James played well after coming on in midweek and could be in line for his first start to the season (he’s played just 95 minutes of football, all as a substitute). “He isn’t starting but he could be,” said Zidane after the Sporting match. The other two spots in the centre of the park are less clear. Kovacic could come in for Casemiro while either Asensio or Isco, who weren’t even on the bench on Wednesday night, could allow the coach to rest Luka Modric.

Lucas Vázquez and Morata in upfront

Lucas Vázquez is set to come in upfront for the injured Gareth Bale. Álvaro Morata, whose last-minute goal won the game for Real Madrid on Wednesday, is likely to start in order to avoid putting too much pressure on Benzema’s hip. Cristiano will complete the forward line.