How Real Madrid Will Line Up Against Barcelona

Jason Pettigrove@@jaypetti1971Contributor IMarch 21, 2014

The "BBC" will be decisive in El Clasico.
The "BBC" will be decisive in El Clasico.Frank Augstein/Associated Press

As Real Madrid prepare to take on Barcelona in El Clasico, manager Carlo Ancelotti might be feeling a little self-critical after seeing Jese Rodriguez ruled out for the season.

With Los Blancos 6-1 up against Schalke in the Champions League, there was no actual need for the Italian to risk his star players, and luckily for the manager, there were there no other knocks to report.

If there is one game where the Madrid faithful want a first choice XI to be available for selection, then the match against their fiercest rivals is it.

Carlo Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane know a win would blow Barca out of the title race.
Carlo Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane know a win would blow Barca out of the title race.Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

Only a slight doubt over Karim Benzema's inclusion remains, although as Stefan Coerts of reports, Ancelotti believes the Frenchman will definitely be fit.

Assuming the centre-forward suffers no recurrence of any niggles, then an attacking berth alongside Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo is virtually a foregone conclusion.

The "BBC" are in fantastic goalscoring form and with Barca continuing to struggle in the defensive areas, especially aerially, only a fool would bet against one of them getting on the scoresheet on Sunday.

Sentiment is unlikely to play a part in the manager's thinking, so Iker Casillas will not make the starting XI in what could potentially be his last home Clasico if the rumors from Carmen Colino of AS (Spanish) (via SBNation/Managing Madrid) are to be believed .

Diego Lopez therefore continues between the sticks.

After admitting he got it wrong in the first Clasico by choosing Sergio Ramos to play in midfield, Ancelotti will not make the same mistake again.

The Spaniard has looked comfortable and at ease alongside Pepe this season, however, the Italian may spring a surprise to allow fit-again Raphael Varane into the mix.

With Alvaro Arbeloa out for eight weeks, per of Jorge Martin, and Dani Carvajal given a roasting in the last Clasico per, there is an argument to move Ramos to right-back and allow the young Frenchman to partner Pepe in the centre.

Marcelo will continue at left-back, and Angel Di Maria, by virtue of his experience in these matches, should be drafted in on the left side of the midfield three.

His inclusion will also keep Dani Alves' forward runs in check.

Xabi Alonso will be tasked with breaking up the dominant meanderings of Xavi Hernandez and disrupting the flow of Barca's play.

Any modicum of success on his part will see Di Maria and Luka Modric break free of the shackles and provide ammunition to the front three, which will help win Los Blancos the game.

And take Barca out of the title equation.

What more motivation do you need!