The League returned for Real Madrid, the first unit returned and the triumphs returned. After the cupbearer fiasco against Alcoyano, with nine changes compared to the usual eleven, Real Madrid prevailed in Vitoria with solvency (1-4) supported by the strong block of Zidane, the one that in its day had no problems in rotating to distribute efforts and prizes and that is now immovable for reasons of merit. The squad is shorter, and despite that Zizou insists on his hard core and trusts the progression of the latest incorporations to fight the League and the Champions League, the only two trunks that Madrid can hold on to in the turbulent season it is going through.
Courtois; Lucas Vázquez, Militao, Varane, Mendy; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Asensio, Benzema and Hazard. That was the eleven that Zidane lined up at Alavés’ home on Saturday, practically the eleven type with the only absences of Carvajal on the right side and Ramos in the center of the rear. With both, it remains to be seen who prevails in the battle of the far right, if the ultra-reliable Lucas Vázquez or an Asensio who is trading higher and who has gained minutes to continue extending his touch and run game, support and whip.
Those are Zidane’s chosen ones, the ones who have given him the best sensations in a stormy season, a Russian roulette in which each game is unknown. Courtois, Lucas Vázquez, Varane, Mendy, Kroos and Benzema were in the eleven in the six consecutive victories of Madrid during the last month of 2020; Casemiro, Modric and Ramos started five times. Those nine men, along with Carvajal, Asensio and Hazard make up the eleven type of Madrid 2020-21, with variations depending on the moment and circumstances, but in the long run they have proven to deserve more confidence than any other formation.
A calendar tailored to Plan A
In Alcoy, a good part of the squad lost the train: Lunin, Odriozola, Marcelo, Vinicius, Mariano … Militao was also there, holder in Vitoria for the absences of Ramos and Nacho and that he complied with a note; the Brazilian, 50 million euros from the center from Porto a year and a half ago, continues to raise doubts as to whether it is meat or fish, but in the last week he has taken a little step forward in his rehabilitation. Without a Cup in between, Zidane will rely on his strong men to assault the League and Champions, benefited by a benevolent calendar, the result of the elimination of the Cup.
Before the first leg of the round of 16 against Atalanta, Madrid have five games left over 23 days; He will go to a game per week with the sole exception of Getafe’s visit to Valdebebas, a game postponed from the first day of the League and which will take place on February 9. Zidane will have plenty of time to line up his eleven guy week by week, minimize rotations and refresh his legs. This does not mean that Marseille is not open to incursions by eleven candidates, such as Vinicius or Valverde, but the proper names of Plan B still carry the shot of the Cup. They will have to clean that image to achieve forgiveness from Zizou.