Predicted Starting XIs
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1)
Iker Casillas; Álvaro Arbeloa, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Fábio Coentrão; Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira; Ángel di María, Mesut Özil, Cristiano Ronaldo; Álvaro Morata.
This is the best time to throw Morata into the starting XI because his confidence is sky high after scoring the winning goal against Levante. It's a home game against a discombobulated Athletic Bilbao defence.
This lineup could be significantly different if José Mourinho rotates his players in preparation for their UEFA Champions League game against Premier League champions Manchester City.
Athletic Bilbao (4-2-3-1)
Gorka Iraizoz; Andoni Iraola, Mikel San José, Fernando Amorebieta, Jon Aurtenetxe; Carlos Gurpegi, Ander Iturraspe; Markel Susaeta, Iker Muniain, Isma López; Aritz Aduriz.
The suspensions of Ander Herrera and Óscar de Marcos means Real Madrid should dominate in midfield. Even though Gurpegi has been a centre-back this season, he played in midfield for Joaquín Caparrós.
With Aduriz overachieving in scoring eight goals in 11 league games, expect to see Fernando Llorente warming the benches.
Real Madrid should win this game convincingly, especially if Marcelo Bielsa throws caution to the wind—which he will. He's the type of manager that prefers to lose 3-0 while playing crazy, attacking football than playing out a pragmatic draw for a point.
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