Real Madrid: Areola looking to take Courtois' shirt for Zidane
With the Belgium international expected to miss the game against Granada, the Frenchman has another chance to stake his claim to the number one spot.
Real Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois faces a genuine battle to retain his spot between Zinedine Zidane’s sticks with Alphonse Areola staking his claim for a starting role with his excellent home form.
In total, the on-loan PSG keeper has now gone 315 minutes combined without shipping a goal at home with both the Parisians and Real Madrid this season. Courtois is a serious doubt for the game against Granada this weekend having failed to train on Wednesday and Thursday and Areola’s current form leaves the Belgian’s position as Zidane’s number one open to question.
Courtois was singled out for criticism after Real’s 2-2 draw with Club Brugge, both of the Belgian side’s goals coming in the first half before he was replaced at the break with an apparent stomach issue. Areola managed to endear himself to Real fans and his coach by preventing Dennis Bonaventure from claiming a hat-trick with a decisive stop that spared Madrid from going three down and the Frenchman is bearing down on Courtois’ place in the side after joining on loan for a season as part of the deal that saw Keylor Navas head to the Parc des Princes last summer after being frozen out by the arrival of Courtois from Chelsea.
Areola outstrips Courtois in clean sheets
Areola has been on the right side of a 3-0 victory over Nîmes and a 4-0 win against Toulouse while at PSG and held his side of the bargain when called into Zidane’s first XI against Osasuna, keeping a clean sheet at the Bernabéu in 2-0 triumph over the Navarrese side.
His performance against Brugge has won over the Real Madrid fans, who voted in an AS poll overwhelmingly in favour of the Frenchman to start against Granada whether or not Courtois is available.
Didier Deschamps also retains his confidence in Areola, calling the 26-year-old up to his latest squad alongside Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda for the European qualifiers against Iceland and Turkey. The France coach had stated he would keep an eye on his third-choice keeper and the number of minutes he is getting at the Bernabéu and as things stand, Areola is in good shape. Another clean sheet against Granada would take his tally for the season to five in seven games across all competitions, with Courtois managing just two in eight.
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