Real Madrid team news: Asensio, Hazard eyed for return against Betis
Real Madrid prepare to face Real Betis on Saturday, where Eden Hazard, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vázquez could all feature.
Following the scare earlier this week due to Martin Odegaard’s positive coronavirus result, which thankfully turned out to be false, calm has been restored at Real Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground as coach Zinedine Zidane continued preparations for Saturday’s trip to the Estadio Villamarín to face Real Betis (kick-off, 21:00 CEST).
Madrid will face the new Betis of Manuel Pellegrini, and old acquaintance of the Bernabéu, who will be looking to overcome Los Blancos after having secured a maximum six points from their first two games. A third consecutive victory, particularly over the league champions, would be a massive boost for the Chilean coach’s project.
Zidane’s concerns from scoreless Sociedad draw
Madrid, meanwhile, come into the game after a limp 0-0 draw with Real Sociedad, with Zidane concerned about his side’s lack of goals and aggressiveness in the opponent’s third (although he has not mentioned that publically).
The French coach, then, will be hugely relieved by the return of three attacking players who were unavailable for the clash at Sociedad last weekend, namely Eden Hazard, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez.
Marcelo and Mariano unavailable
That means that reserve youngsters Marvin and Sergio Arribas, who made surprising debuts at the Anoeta last week, will fall back out of the squad for Saturday’s Betis meeting.
Zidane will have a an almost-full strength squad to choose from, with the exception of the injured Eder Militao and Mariano, who is recovering after tonsil surgery.
The return of Hazard will be a big boost for Zidane as the Belgian forward looks to get back up the speed after a stop-start first season at Madrid, where he has scored just one goal over the past year.
The discomfort he had been experiencing in his ankle of late has subsided, as too has the extra weight he was carrying when he arrived back after the short summer break.
The big question is whether Zidane will dare to play him from the start or if he leaves him for the second half as an impact sub depending on how things are going.
As for Asensio, it is common knowledge that Zidane had identified him as a member in his first-choice attacking trident along with Karim Benzema and Hazard before his ACL injury last summer.
Asensio finally reappeared in June after a more than ten-month layoff and put his stamp on things with three goals. With a new number ‘11’ on his back, the Mallorca-born striker will be keen to show that he can be a key part of Zidane’s attacking line up after the injury that held him back from last summer’s pre-season.
Lucas Vázquez, the 12th man for Zidane, has also made a recovery. The Galician striker knows that the French coach believes in him and that is why he has opted to stay to fulfil the final year of his contract at Madrid.
What remains to be known is how the return of Asensio, Hazard and Lucas will impact young Brazilian pair Rodrygo and Vinicius, who started on the wings against Sociedad last weekend.
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