What is Real Madrid’s possible starting lineup vs Atlético?
Real Madrid head to the Metropolitano on an eight-game winning streak in 2022-23 that Diego Simeone’s side will be looking to bring to a halt.
Carlo Ancelotti holds the record for the longest winning run at the helm of Real Madrid in history, a 22-game streak back in 2014. The Italian is now also on the cusp of nicking a record from the great Miguel Muñoz, who oversaw 11 consecutive victories to start a season during the 1961-62 and 1968-69 campaigns. Madrid have won their first eight fixtures in 2022-23 but face their most difficult test to date when they travel across town to take on Diego Simeone’s side in the Madrid derby on Sunday. Although historically the visitors have dominated the rivalry, Atlético won the last meeting between the teams and put four past Celta Vigo on the same stage last weekend.
Ancelotti’s side are top of LaLiga with five wins from five with Barcelona breathing down their necks, Xavi’s side having won four consecutive Liga fixtures after an opening day draw at Rayo. Madrid have won three of their last five matches against Atlético but have only taken maximum points in four of the last 13 Madrid derbies.
The Italian’s overall record against Atlético reads seven wins, seven defeats and five draws, for an average of 1.37 points per game. Against Simeone, that percentage drops slightly to 1.29, Ancelotti having won six, drawn four and lost seven against the Argentinean.
Real Madrid will have to cope without Benzema
The visitors will be shorn of club captain and talismanic goalscorer Benzema in the Metropolitano, the Frenchman unavailable due to a muscle issue that caused him to miss the victories against Mallorca and Leipzig. While Madrid do not have a set replacement in the absence of Benzema, Ancelotti is not short of options and could deploy any one of Rodrygo, Eden Hazard or Marco Asensio to fill the gap in attack. Although the Italian rarely strays from his preferred attacking 4-3-3, he does occasionally tinker when the situation requires it, as he did in the European Super Cup final, where he fielded a 4-1-4-1. In that formation, Vinicius could be moved into a nominal central role.
Against Manchester City in the Champions League semifinal, second leg last season Ancelotti played a 4-2-3-1, with Toni Kroos and Casemiro at the base of midfield. Given Simeone is likely to stack his with a wing-back formation, something similar could be deployed in the Metropolitano involving a front four of Vinicius, Rodrygo – who famously came off the bench against City to score twice in two minutes – Hazard and Fede Valverde.
The Real Madrid manager has more or less a full squad to take to the Metropolitano although Lucas Vázquez is a doubt and is unlikely to make wholesale changes from the teams that beat Mallorca and Leipzig, when Rodrygo and Hazard, respectively, filled in for Benzema.
Real Madrid predicted XI against Atlético
Courtois; Carvajal, Rüdiger, Alaba, Mendy; Tchouaméni, Kroos, Modric; Valverde, Hazard, Vinicius.