Predicted XI

Hazard to feature - How Real Madrid could line-up against Granada

Eden Hazard was not risked in the 3-1 win over Eibar at the weekend, but the Belgian could return for Real Madrid for a trickier fixture against Granada.

 
10:27am on Tuesday 22nd December 2020
By
Robin Bairner

Real Madrid are a side on the up ahead of Wednesday’s La Liga encounter with Granada.

Zinedine Zidane was just starting to come under serious pressure by the time his side responded, and after five successive domestic victories, they find themselves once again in the thick of the title race.

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The crucial match in this series was the 2-0 derby victory over Atletico Madrid, and that has since been followed up by fine 3-1 successes over Club Athletic and Eibar.

It has been notable during this sequence of fixtures that Zidane has offered little rotation in his team, and ahead of the final match of an eventful 2020, that is likely to be the case once more.

Indeed, since the return of Sergio Ramos, the defence has not been subject to any change whatsoever.

The midfield, meanwhile, has seen Fede Valverde break into the starting trio only once in the last five games. On that occasion, he replaced Casemiro against Club Athletic. Otherwise, the Brazilian has invariably started alongside Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

In attack, too, there has been a distinct lack of variation. Karim Benzema has been the focal point to the side and around Lucas Vazquez, Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior have been vying for the two wing spots.

Although Eden Hazard missed out on the trip to Eibar, it is hoped that the Belgian will be present for the clash versus Granada. It was Zidane’s call not to risk the former Chelsea man at the weekend, and he may have been saving the injury-prone attacker for this encounter.

Equally, Vinicius Junior, who missed out at the weekend due to gastroenteritis, should be available for this encounter. Whether he starts likely depends on how much the illness has taken out of him.

There is some more doubt over the availability of Isco, though a knock to his right ankle is not thought to be serious and it seems that he has a feasible chance of returning to the panel for this encounter.

With Zidane unblinking over the last month, it would be surprising if wholesale changes were made now, with the players set for an eight-day break.

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