Santiago Solari is likely to make a few changes to the starting XI, when Real Madrid face Girona in matchweek 24 of the 2018-19 La Liga.
Real Madrid will lock horns against Girona at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday noon, as they look to get back up to second place in the La Liga standings.
Santiago Solari’s side are currently on a five-match winning streak in the Spanish top-flight and will be aiming to cut down the gap to league leaders Barcelona to six points with a victory against Eusebio Sacristan’s team this weekend.
Having played three high-profile, high-intensity matches against Barcelona (Copa del Rey), Atletico Madrid (La Liga) and Ajax (Champions League), Solari might look to rest some of his regulars against a Girona side that has been struggling for form.
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Belgian international Thibaut Courtois is expected to line up in goal for Real Madrid on Sunday, but there are likely to be a number of changes in defence for the home team. Alvaro Odriozola and Marcelo are in line to feature from the kick-off in the full-back positions, in place of Dani Carvajal and Sergio Reguilon.
Raphael Varane missed the midweek European encounter against Ajax due to a flu, but has recovered and been included in the matchday squad. He should get the nod at the heart of the defence, with captain Sergio Ramos likely to be rested as well. Nacho is expected to partner up with the World Cup winner.
Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric is suspended for the match, opening up a spot in the middle of the park. Marcos Llorente remains sidelined with an injury problem, along with Spanish playmaker Isco. Modric’s absence could pave way for Dani Ceballos to start against Girona, while the other two slots in the centre of the pitch will continue to be occupied by Casemiro and Toni Kroos.
There are likely to be some tweaks in Real Madrid’s attack as well heading into Sunday’s game. Vinicius Junior has been sensational in recent matches for Los Blancos, but is likely to be given a breather. His place should most likely be taken up by Marco Asensio, who scored the winning goal for Real against Ajax.
Speaking of the Spaniard in his pre-match conference, manager Solari said, “He’s returned really strongly return since coming back from injury. He played a decisive role in our last game and scored what was an important goal in the context of the tie and for him personally. He’s a very talented player. We’re happy for him and for the form he’s showed since returning to the side.”
Karim Benzema has been playing with an injury and could do with a rest. But, Mariano Diaz suffered an injury post the Ajax game and while he is included in the squad, Solari could be forced to stick with the Frenchman as the striker. On the right flank, Gareth Bale could continue to keep his place ahead of Lucas Vazquez despite a poor showing against Ajax..