If Real Madrid are not in crisis by their standards, they are certainly approaching serious concern, after winning just three of their last seven games in normal time. Facing them in the Copa del Rey Round of 16 is one of the sides that caused that concern, Quique Setien’s Villarreal.
The Cantabrian spoke in the build-up about Real Madrid, referring to the dangers of facing a wounded animal. Certainly Carlo Ancelotti sees issues in his team, telling his defenders that their sloppiness was responsible for the poor run.
One of the victims is likely to be Antonio Rudiger, who has come under fire in recent weeks. Rudiger was directly at fault for Barcelona’s first goal in their loss last weekend, and Marca expect him to be dropped for Nacho Fernandez.
Brazilian 18-year-old Vinicius Tobias is also set to make his debut at right-back, as Lucas Vazquez and Dani Carvajal add themselves to the injury list already containing Aurelien Tchouameni and David Alaba. Luka Modric has been left out of the squad to rest.
Diario AS agree with their assessment, with a midfield of Fede Valverde, Toni Kroos and Eduardo Camavinga. That leaves a space on the right for one of Rodrygo or Dani Ceballos.
Villarreal are missing Arnaut Danjuma, who was left out as he appears to be looking to move on. Their injury list includes Nicolas Jackson, Alfonso Pedraza, Kiko Femenia and Giovani Lo Celso. They do have Etienne Capoue back from injury since their last meeting, who is predicted to come in for Francis Coquelin.