Welp, another La Liga season has reached its final match, and we get Real Madrid to wrap it all up. I personally don’t know that I’ve ever cared less about a match with Real Madrid. Yes, it matters. If we get the right kind of result and things elsewhere break our way, it could be the difference between having Europa League or Europa Conference as our fallback if things go badly in the UEL final, but I just can’t muster a care right now. I want to rest as many people as possible so that we are fresh and healthy to try to win a trophy next week.
Our opponents need this one really, really badly. They too must win and see results elsewhere go their way. Specifically, they need one last desperate flurry from Real Valladolid to knock off Atletico so that a win against us propels Zidane’s men to the title. Their best midfielder Toni Kroos (who frankly is probably one of the two or three best midfielders I’ve ever seen) is out for this one with COVID, but they still have a lot of talent to bring to bear.
Even if Emery does rotate, I think this is a match where some of our wide attacking talent can haven themselves a day. Last time out their starting fullbacks were Miguel Guitierrez and Alvaro Odriozola, two players who don’t scare me at all. Miguel will probably eventually be very good, but he’s quite young and inexperienced, and Odriozola has frankly been through the ringer so badly that his confidence is absolutely shot. These will be their weak points. To add drama to it all, this may be Zidane’s last match (again) at the helm of Madrid, and they’ll want even more to send him out on a high note if possible.
I haven’t accurately predicted an Emery lineup in months, so I’m not even going to try. I’m curious to see how many of you think we should play the starters against Madrid, and how many think we should just rotate heavily and go hasta la final. La Liga moved a bunch of final matches from Sunday to Saturday, presumably to accomodate us before the final, but I don’t think that obligates us to risk any of our top players.
I don’t know what Emery’s gonna do so really I have no idea how to predict the score. A draw doesn’t really benefit anyone though, so I do believe there will be goals.