Real Madrid: How Will They Line Up Against Juventus in Champions League?
Carlo Ancelotti has not been very predictable when it comes to picking his side during his first few months as Real Madrid coach.
This point is particularly valid when it comes to selecting his midfielders—namely, the two deeper ones.
Recent signs suggest that he prefers Asier Illarramendi—who produced his best performance in a Los Blancos shirt Saturday against Malaga—and German international Sami Khedira.
Those two were chosen for the Madrid derby against Atletico and also began what was considered an important league game due to the upcoming Clasico at the weekend.
That, seemingly, leaves Luka Modric—who started the season in stunning form—left on the bench.
It's a particularly important area for the Italian to resolve, given the continued questions raised over Madrid's ability to control games from midfield this season.
ESPN's Dermot Corrigan says they're still not set in the middle of the park.
With Barcelona in mind, Ancelotti should—if Illarra and Khedira are what he's decided on—continue to try and play his chosen partnership into form when Juventus visit the Bernabeu Wednesday night.
It all equates to show how much Xabi Alonso has been missed so far this season.
Elsewhere, with it being a Champions League game, Iker Casillas will return for the match against the Italian champions.
Across the back four, Ancelotti's options are as good as they've been all season.
Alvaro Arbeloa and Raphael Varane returned from international duty with slight knocks, but both are in the running to feature Wednesday.
Sergio Ramos was limited to gym work Sunday, according to AS, but will be available for European selection, too—as will Dani Carvajal, Pepe, Fabio Coentrao and Marcelo.
Until Saturday, with Gareth Bale's injury, the front four had been picking itself: Angel Di Maria, Isco, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.
An injury to the French striker meant Alvaro Morata was afforded a start against Malaga though; a chance he looked to seize.
The youngster may not have scored, but he was lively, intelligent and a handful against a stubborn Malaga defence and a superhuman Willy Caballero in goal; J.L Calderon of Marca has been keen to draw Raul comparisons, particularly given his performance against Juventus in 1996.
Morata, it is hoped, could rise to the same occasion—although the returning Benzema may force him back onto the bench.
Which brings us around to Bale: Could the Welshman start Wednesday?
Him and his agent have both reiterated that the Marca story regarding his fitness was grossly exaggerated, as reported by SW Lim of Goal.com, which should suggest that, after Saturday's cameo, he's ready to start against Juve in preparation for Barcelona.
It won't be in place of Ronaldo, leaving Di Maria and Isco as the likely candidates to drop out of Ancelotti's side.
When Bale was withdrawn after the warm-up against Getafe, it was Isco who had been left out originally on that occasion.
That could again be the case this time round, with the youngster more likely to benefit from the break—although don't be surprised if Di Maria's on the bench, too, with Modric lining up in a more attacking role.
Predicted Real Madrid XI: Iker Casillas; Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Marcelo; Asier Illarramendi, Sami Khedira, Luka Modric; Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo.
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