Something about everything seeming to go right for our club before the match makes me really nervous. I am not sure I’ve ever seen a club of Madrid’s stature have so much roster disarray for one match, even the folks who follow the club the closest had no way to predict the starting lineups.
As we’ve been saying all week though, last time we felt this confident against one of La Liga’s giants, we got pulverized. I think this team has grown a lot since then and I really think we can get a result, but this Madrid side have also had two weeks to stew on giving up three penalties against Valencia and will likely want to take that frustration out on somebody.
With Paco not fit to play, putting Bacca in front of goal is the right option, because it keeps the inteligence of Gerard on the right to help reign in Hazard and Carvajal. However, it makes us significantly less dangerous. Pedraza is preferred to Estupinan, who played a lot of minutes over the international break. Given his form before the break that’s completely fine.
I actually think this back line of Real Madrid is a lot better than their last time out. They have a proper right back for the first time in weeks, Mendy is a lot better than Marcelo at this point, and Nacho is no Sergio Ramos, but he and Varane have a long history of working together. Big question is how will Nacho and Carvajal look after long injury layoffs? The midfield lacks a true shield for the back line, and Mariano isn’t near as much a threat as Karim Benzema (obviously). This lineup is talented but beatable.
After seeing the lineups, I think I’m feeling a 0-0 draw that may not look too different than our match against Atleti. Considering the state of Madrid’s roster and the fact that we are missing Paco, it may be a result everyone is happy with.