Real Madrid round-up: Solari, defensive woes, Bale under pressure
As in-form Valladolid visit the Bernabéu on Saturday, we round up the latest Real Madrid news after a turbulent week.
Solari's first game at the Bernabéu
As Real Madrid host Valladolid on Saturday, caretaker coach Santiago Solari will face his first proper test in the Madrid dugout. All eyes will be on Julen Lopetegui’s temporary replacement to see if he can get Madrid back on the path to success with a positive result. His first game in charge, against Melilla in the Copa del Rey, saw Real register five more shots on goal than their previous average but enjoy less possession and complete fewer passes, all of which points to a more direct style of play focused on creating chances.
Revolving door defence
In Madrid’s recent poor run, the focus has been on their lack of goals and sharpness and guile in the final third. However, with Carvajal, Varane, Vallejo and Marcelo all sidelined, Solari will be forced to ring yet more changes in defence against Valladolid. Los Blancos’ back line will comprise Odriozola, Nacho, Ramos and Reguilón; in other words, an unsettled rearguard that has juggled ten defenders in 16 matches.
Bale under pressure
Gareth Bale will return after being rested in midweek. However, if the Welshman fails to get on the scoresheet he will equal his worst LaLiga goal drought: seven games without a goal, between January and March 2015. Bale is also under pressure to keep his place in the starting eleven, with many calling for Real Madrid starlet Vinicius to be given the chance to strut his stuff and bring Madrid out of the mire in front of goal. “We always want him to show us his qualities; he is a fantastic player and we want him to show us that every day," Solari said on Friday, with Bale’s consistency once again called into question.
Going back a long way
Real Madrid and Valladolid have met on 111 occasions in official competitions (84 in LaLiga, 15 in the Copa del Rey and 12 in the old Campeonato Regional). Madrid have won 73 of those, scoring 259 goals, while Valladolid have been victorious in 16 and have found the net 115 times, with 22 ending in a draw