Carlo Ancelotti will be expecting his Real Madrid side to put an end to Barcelona’s recent upturn in form and to well and truly rule out any sense of a late title challenge from their Catalan giants in Sunday’s El Clasico.
However, to do that Los Blancos will need to be at their very best, as they contend with some serious injury concerns.
After performing so well in recent weeks, Karim Benzema missed a training session on Saturday morning and is incredibly unlikely to face Barca. Fortunately for Madrid, that should be the only major doubt for the match.
As such, we’re likely to see a typical back four of Nacho, David Alaba, Diego Militao and Dani Carvajal, with Ancelotti’s preferred midfield trio of Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric.
The absence of Benzema could lead to Isco being played as a false No.9, while Vinicius Jr takes up his typical role on the left and Marco Asensio plays on the right wing.
As for Barca, the only new injury concern for Xavi comes in the form of a long-term hamstring problem for Sergino Dest.
Therefore, we’re likely to see a Barca back line consisting of David Alba, Eric Garcia, Gerard Pique and then veteran wing-back Dani Alves on the right.
In midfield, the Barca manager will likely turn to his tried and tested method of playing Sergio Busquets in a holding role, with the extremely promising pairing of Pedri and Frenkie de Jong just in front of him.
Following a gruelling Europa League clash with Galatasaray in midweek, Adama Traore is likely to step out of the side in favour of Ousmane Dembele, who’ll likely feature up front alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ferran Torres.