Kepa, Rudiger to start: Real Madrid predicted lineup against Villarreal

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Real Madrid are set to play their penultimate game in the La Liga 2023-24 campaign tonight as they visit Estadi de la Ceràmica for the match against Villarreal.

There are no big prizes at stake for the Merengues to win this game, as Real Madrid have already won the La Liga title, but Villarreal will be looking to take the full three points from this game to ensure they do not lose out on the eighth position to Valencia.

Still, this game will be quite important for some players, especially Jude Bellingham, who is still in contention for the Pichichi award this season. Furthermore, as Ancelotti has reportedly decided to play most of the fringe players in away games since mathematically winning the league, this game will give these fringe players a chance to impress the manager ahead of the next season.

David Alaba and Aurelien Tchouameni are the only two players unavailable to the Italian tactician for this game. Still, Real Madrid are expected to field a significantly changed lineup for this game as compared to their last game against Alaves.

Keeping all these things in consideration, this is how the Merengues may lineup for this game:

Expected lineup:

GK: Kepa Arrizabalaga

The Spanish goalkeeper is expected to depart from the club at the end of the season as he joined Real Madrid only on a season-long loan. Thus, Ancelotti might give him a chance to play this game and say his farewell to the fans.

RB: Lucas Vázquez

Dani Carvajal started the last match against Alaves, but as there nothing at stake in this game, Ancelotti might decide to give him a rest and start Lucas Vazquez in his stead, especially as the latter has also been performing at a high level lately.

CB: Éder Militão

The Brazilian has played the last few games without any physical problems, but it is clear that he will need more time on the pitch to get back to his best level. Thus, he is likely to start this game as well, and hopefully will be able to show the manager that he is ready to start the UCL final against Borussia Dortmund.

CB: Antonio Rudiger

Despite fielding most of his important first-team players, Ancelotti had rested Antonio Rudiger in the last game against Alaves. Thus, the German is expected to return to the starting lineup for this match, if only to keep up his physical sharpness.

LB: Fran García

The Spanish fullback was very impressive in his last start in the game against Granada. Ancelotti played Mendy in the last match, but the match against Villarreal being an away game, Fran Garcia is the favorite to start this game.

CM: Dani Ceballos

The former Real Betis midfielder has been putting in improved performances in the recent games in which Ancelotti has opted to start him. He is not expected to continue at Real Madrid for the next season, and playing in this match will give him the opportunity to impress his potential suitors in the coming summer transfer window.

CDM: Mario Martin

With Aurelien Tchouameni unlikely to be available for the UCL final with his left-foot injury and Camavinga accumulating significant minutes in the last few games, Carlo Ancelotti might decide to give an opportunity to the Real Madrid Castilla midfielder, Mario Martin, in this game.

He has been one of the most-used players for Raul this season, and has already made two appearances with the first team, against Arandina and Alaves. The upcoming game can thus see him start his first game for the first-team, a chance that he certainly deserves.

CM: Luka Modrić

Recent reports indicate that Luka Modric might be in for continuing another season at Real Madrid. Amid all the uncertainty surrounding his future, the Croat will get another chance to showcase his skills in this game, and hopefully will once again be the decisive player for his team against a difficult opponent.

CAM: Arda Güler

The Turk is in red-hot form right now, and is on a four-game scoring streak. Despite not getting a start in the last game against Alaves, he was able to keep this streak alive with his neat finish after being introduced in the match in the second half. This time, he will be playing from the very start against Villarreal, but the Yellow Submarine will put up a more difficult challenge than Granada or Alaves did.

ST: Joselu

The hero of the UEFA Champions League semi-final missed several chances in the game against Granada, and was unable to repeat his heroics in that match. But he will get another chance in the upcoming match, and hopefully will again get his name on the scoresheet to convince Real Madrid to get him permanently this summer.

LW: Brahim Díaz

Despite his MOTM performance against Granada, Ancelotti decided to revert to his tried and tested lineup against Alaves, as he played Vinicius and Rodrygo upfront. However, Brahim will be returning to the lineup for this match, and once again weave his magic to impress the Real Madrid fans.

Ahmad Sarmad Ansari
Ahmad Sarmad Ansari
Ahmad Sarmad Ansari, a dedicated sports journalist and Real Madrid fan, has written over 2000 articles for Barca News Network and Madrid Voice. With a degree in Political Science and English Literature from Forman Christian College, he provides expert analyses and comprehensive La Liga coverage.

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