Real Madrid host Osasuna in La Liga this Sunday, and they will be looking to continue their exceptional start to the campaign with a win at home.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side are currently at the top of the table, having picked up six wins from six La Liga outings. Real Madrid managed to win the league title last season, and they are the favourites to defend their domestic crown this year as well. A team of their calibre cannot afford to drop points against Osasuna at home, and Ancelotti will be expecting a big performance from his players.
Meanwhile, Osasuna are currently fifth in the league table and will think they will be in trouble here. Despite the fact that they come into this game on the back of a 2-0 defeat to Getafe, they have the quality to upset the odds.
Osasuna have picked up four wins in six La Liga matches so far and Real Madrid cannot afford to underestimate them. In addition, the visitors managed to hold Real Madrid to a draw in two of the last four head-to-head games. And Los Blancos will have to be careful not to drop points here.
Real Madrid are likely to stick with their 4-3-3 formation, which has produced impressive results so far this season. But Carlo Ancelotti will be without Luka Modric, who is missing due to a small problem. In addition, Real Madrid are expected to field a fully fit squad against Osasuna, with Karim Benzema returning to the squad.
Belgian representative Thibaut Courtois should continue in goal. At full-back, Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy are fit and therefore expected to start. Meanwhile, summer signing Antonio Rudiger should partner David Alaba at the heart of Real Madrid’s defense against Osasuna.
The midfield trio is largely self-selected, with Aurelien Tchouameni, Federico Valverde and Toni Kroos starting for the home team. Kroos and Valverde are expected to add creativity and control in the middle of the park, while the young Frenchman will look to add defensive solidity with his tackling and reading of the game.
Brazil’s attacking duo of Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Junior have been in impressive form in recent weeks and are set to feature against Osasuna. Benzema is expected to lead the line for Real Madrid against Osasuna when he returns to the matchday squad.
The Uruguayan international will be expected to draw Osasuna’s defenders out of position with his intelligent running, drop deep and provide numbers in midfield as well. Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio will be alternatives on the bench for Ancelotti.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Tchouameni, Kroos; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius
Osasuna will be without the services of Chimy Avila, who picked up a red card in his last outing. Kike Saverio ruptured his Achilles tendon and is set to be sidelined for another month at the very least.
The away side are set to line up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation, with Sergio Herrera starting in goal. In defence, Nacho Vidal and Juan Cruz are set to start as the full-backs. They will have to negate the threat of Vinicius Jr. and Federico Valverde on Sunday, and it could be a torrid outing for the duo.
As far as the centre-backs are concerned, Unai Garcia should partner David Garcia at the heart of the Osasuna defence. The absence of Karim Benzema will come as a relief for them, but Rodrygo Goes is in impressive form, and the central defenders will need to be on their toes.
Lucas Torro and Darko Brasanac will play in a double pivot in midfield and will be tasked with breaking up the play and winning the ball from Toni Kroos and Luka Modric. They will also be expected to set up counterattacks.
Moi Gomez and Jon Moncayola will be the wingers for Osasuna, with Ruben Garcia operating in the hole. Osasuna will look to outnumber Real Madrid in the midfield with five players and hit them on the break. Finally, Ante Budimir is set to lead the line for Osasuna against Real Madrid.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Herrera; Vidal, Unai Garcia, David Garcia, Cruz; Brasanac, Torro; Moncayola, Ruben Garcia, Gomez; Budimir