Real Madrid: How Will They Line Up vs. Real Sociedad in La Liga?

Samuel MarsdenFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2013

TURIN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 05:  Head coach Real Madrid Carlo Ancelotti (R) during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Juventus and Real Madrid at Juventus Arena on November 5, 2013 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

The storm had died down around the circus that has been Real Madrid's goalkeeping situation in 2013.

With Iker Casillas involved though, it was never likely to be calm for long.

He returned between the sticks to take his place as Real Madrid's starting stopper in the Champions League again on Tuesday night, putting in a typically good display against Juventus.

"It is not easy to play games like this when there's so much time that you are not playing," Sky Sports reported Casillas saying after the draw—but will his performance be enough to return him to the No. 1 spot for the visit of Real Sociedad on Saturday?

Probably not.

Even if 80 percent of Marca readers feel he's in better form than Diego Lopez, it is Carlo Ancelotti who has the final say.

Casillas made a string of saves in Italy
Casillas made a string of saves in ItalyClaudio Villa/Getty Images

The Italian coach has problems defensively too, although not in terms of personnel.

Fabio Coentrao is the only injured defender at the moment, but Madrid have conceded seven goals in their last three matches.

Ancelotti is thought to be particularly unhappy with the discipline of his full-backs, a factor which led to Sergio Ramos being shifted to right-back for the trip to Turin midweek.

"I'd rather play at centre back," Ramos told Marca after the game, and it would make sense that he return there this weekend.

That could signal a return to right-back for the experience of Alvaro Arbeloa, while Marcelo is almost certain to continue on the other side.

Who partners with Ramos is the interesting situation.

Is Ramos best in the middle?
Is Ramos best in the middle?Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Raphael Varane is the choice candidate, but with the Frenchman having been at fault for both of Juventus' goals, the door could be open for Pepe to continue in the side.

One huge positive this past week for Ancelotti has been the return of Xabi Alonso—he played 45 minutes against Rayo Vallecano and then 70 against Juve.

With the Italian favouring a three-man midfield, he may well choose to stick with the trio of Alonso, Sami Khedira and Luka Modric.

That could again lead to a watching brief for Isco, who, after an explosive start in the Spanish capital, has fallen by the wayside since Ancelotti's formation change.

The final piece of the jigsaw is the front three, and why change a winning formula?

Los Blancos have fired in 12 goals in their last three games, all scored by either Cristiano Ronaldo (6), Karim Benzema (3) or Gareth Bale (3).

They've not just been scoring though, they've been assisting goals too.

It seems harsh on Angel di Maria, who had been in decent form, but the nature of football dictates that the same three should probably start against la Real at the Bernabeu.


Predicted Real Madrid XI: Diego Lopez; Alvaro Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira, Luka Modric; Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo