Real Madrid will hope to go into the World Cup break on a high when they welcome Cadiz to the Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday.
The 2022/23 La Liga season will enter the break for the 2022 FIFA World Cup this week. But before that, a few matches on Thursday will bring the curtains down on the ongoing phase of the campaign. And Real Madrid will look to bounce back to winning ways when they play hosts to Cadiz at the Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday night.
Real Madrid seemed unbeatable in the first two months of the 2022/23 season, even if they did not score goals by the truckload. But the Merengues have won just one of their last five games in all competitions. The latest setback was a 3-2 defeat to Rayo Vallecano on Monday, allowing Barcelona to climb to the summit of La Liga.
On the other hand, Cadiz will be desperate to climb out of the relegation zone as soon as possible. The Pirates have managed only two wins in 13 La Liga games, amassing 11 points thus far. But with 14th-placed Getafe being only three points clear, Sergio Gonzalez’s men will not be too worried about falling behind their rivals.
The corresponding fixture last season saw a resolute Cadiz frustrate Real Madrid and hold Los Blancos to a goalless draw. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.
Team News & Tactics
🎥⚽ 𝙇𝙄𝙑𝙀 | Our final training session ahead of #RealMadridCádiz! https://t.co/tj0rA8pfMv
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) November 9, 2022
Carlo Ancelotti does not have any new injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of the visit of Cadiz. On Thursday, the Real Madrid manager might be bereft of the services of two first-team players.
Antonio Rudiger reportedly remains unavailable due to some physical discomfort. In addition, Karim Benzema might not feature again due to the muscle injury that has hampered him this season. With the 2022 FIFA World Cup around ten days away, Ancelotti might not risk Benzema.
So Rodrygo Goes should spearhead the Real Madrid attack against Cadiz, hoping to return to scoring ways. Vinicius Junior has been a fixture for Los Blancos this season and will assume his usual spot on the left flank. And Marco Asensio should take up the final place in the attacking unit after being impressive in the last couple of games.
With Asensio continuing in the starting eleven, Federico Valverde should feature in midfield again. The Uruguayan international will likely start alongside Aurelien Tchouameni and Toni Kroos. So Luka Modric, who was sub-par against Rayo Vallecano, will likely earn some much-needed rest ahead of the World Cup.
As for the defensive unit, Rudiger’s absence means Eder Militao and David Alaba should continue to pair up at the heart of the Real Madrid defence. Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy will be the two full-backs, with Thibaut Courtois taking his place between the sticks.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Valverde, Tchouameni, Kroos; Asensio, Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr.
Like his counterpart in the Real Madrid dugout, Sergio Gonzalez has a few pressing roster issues to deal with ahead of the trip to the Santiago Bernabeu. The Cadiz manager will be without six first-team players on Thursday.
Luis Hernandez serves a suspension after seeing red against Getafe last weekend. Victor Chust (muscle injury), Fali (hamstring), Joseba Zaldua (knee), Momo Mbaye (groin), and Jon Ander Garrido (knee) remain on the sidelines due to their respective injuries. So Sergio has a defensive crisis on his hands this week.
⚽️💪 Last training session before travelling to Madrid#ThisIsCádiz #RealMadridCádiz ⚪️💛 pic.twitter.com/fvbQL9R6gN
— Cádiz CF 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@Cadiz_CFEN) November 9, 2022
Jose Mari might thus feature as a makeshift centre-back for Cadiz against Real Madrid. The 34-year-old will join Juan Cala in the central defensive unit, with Iza Carcelen and Alfonso Espino being the two full-backs. Jeremias Ledesma is an automatic pick between the sticks.
Fede San Emeterio and Alex Fernandez will pair up in the double pivot, looking to keep things tight in the middle of the park. Brian Ocampo and Theo Bongonda will provide defensive support to the midfield duo.
But the wide-attacking pair will primarily look to create overloads in the final third. Speaking of, Ruben Sobrino and Choco Lozano will form the strike partnership, looking to put Eder Militao and David Alaba under pressure.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Ledesma; Carcelen, Cala, Mari, Espino; Ocampo, Emeterio, Fernandez, Bongonda; Sobrino, Lozano
- Real Madrid have won just one of their last four games against Cadiz in La Liga (D2 L1), drawing twice under Carlo Ancelotti (0-0 in December 2021 and 1-1 in May 2022). At home, the Merengues have failed to win their last two games against Cadiz in La Liga (D1 L1) after winning 11 of their previous 12 home games against them in the top-flight (D1).
- Cadiz have won just three of their 37 visits to Madrid in La Liga (D5 L29), two of them in the 21st century (1-0 vs Real Madrid in October 2020 and 1-0 vs Getafe in April 2021).
- Real Madrid have failed to win their last two games in La Liga (D1 L1); they last failed to emerge victorious in three successive games in the competition in November 2020 under Zinedine Zidane (D1 L2).
- Real Madrid have conceded exactly one goal in their last six home games in La Liga (W4 D2). The last time they went seven or more consecutive home games letting in at least once was in September 2017 under Zinedine Zidane (W2 D3 L2).
- Sergio Gonzalez has faced Real Madrid ten times in La Liga without winning (D2 L8), more than against any other team in the competition.
Player to Watch
Vinicius Junior has been a revelation for Real Madrid under Carlo Ancelotti in the last 18 months. And while the Brazilian international has been among the goals this term, he has failed to produce the goods in some clutch situations.
The latest underwhelming performance came in the defeat to Rayo Vallecano. And with Karim Benzema unlikely to start versus Cadiz, Vinicius Junior will need to step up and get the three points for Real Madrid before heading into the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Real Madrid 1-0 Cadiz
Real Madrid will not have a margin for error after Barcelona eked out a narrow win over Osasuna on Tuesday. But with Cadiz’s form improving in the last few weeks, Los Blancos will be up against a resolute defensive unit this midweek.
Karim Benzema’s potential absence will again make things tricky for Real Madrid, with the Cadiz strikers putting their centre-backs under pressure. But in the end, Vinicius Junior should make the difference for the reigning La Liga champions. The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-0 win for Carlo Ancelotti’s men, taking them two points behind Barcelona.
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