Real Madrid face a trip to Leganes on Wednesday night for the second leg of their Copa del Rey fifth round tie.
Los Blancos go into the game with a commanding aggregate advantage having beaten Leganes 3-0 in the home leg. Therefore, Santiago Solari may take the opportunity to rest some of his key stars and give minutes to the squad players.
However, having been knocked out of the competition by the same opponents last year, Madrid will be wary of a repeat.
Here’s the lineup which Solari might opt for on Wednesday evening.
3. Goalkeeper & Defenders
Keylor Navas (GK) – After a stellar campaign which saw the Costa Rican lift his third successive Champions League last season, Keylor Navas has been unceremoniously dropped to the bench this season after the acquisition of Thibaut Courtois. However, Navas will be given the chance to shine against Leganes.
Álvaro Odriozola (RB) – The 23-year-old right-back often plays second fiddle to the consistent Dani Carvajal but gets his opportunity in the domestic cup games. Odriozola’s record in this season’s Copa del Rey is superb, with one goal and three assists so far.
Sergio Ramos (CB) – Whilst Solari will be keen to rest some of his stars, he will want to maintain a strong defence in order to safeguard against an upset. Therefore, captain Ramos seems likely to start on Wednesday to provide some bite to the backline.
Nacho Fernández (CB) – Playing on the left of a back-three in Madrid’s 2-1 victory over Real Betis on Sunday, Nacho could partner his Spanish compatriot against Leganes. Solari will likely take the opportunity to rest first team regular and World Cup winner Raphael Varane.
Sergio Reguilón (LB) – After Marcelo’s poor recent form, 22-year-old Reguilón has started Madrid’s last two games. The Spaniard might not possess the attacking pizzazz of Marcelo but he provides greater stability to Real Madrid’s defence.
Casemiro (CDM) – Akin to Fernandinho for Manchester City, Casemiro is a difficult player to replace in the Real Madrid lineup. His defensive nouse and playmaking ability are integral to both Madrid’s attack and defence. Solari may need the Brazilian against Leganes.
Dani Ceballos (CM) – In what has been a hugely disappointing season for Madrid thus far, Ceballos has been a shining light. The 22-year-old midfielder is calmness personified on the ball and can provide a spark of creativity when needed most, as demonstrated by his 88th minute winner against Real Betis.
Federico Valverde (CM) – The young Uruguayan midfielder has played in all of Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey fixtures this season and could be given the opportunity to demonstrate his abilities once more on Wednesday night.
Brahim Díaz (RW) – Having signed from Manchester City for £15.5m in January, Díaz could be handed his full debut against Leganes. Pep Guardiola will have been livid about losing the youngster and Díaz could prove why on Wednesday.
Cristo González (ST) – With Karim Benzema out injured, Cristo seems destined to lead the line in this Copa del Rey clash. With calls for Madrid to sign a new striker in January, this is an opportunity for Cristo to stake his claim for that starting role.
Vinícius Junior (LW) – The skilful Brazilian has provided a much needed entertainment factor to what has become a surprisingly boring and predictable Real Madrid side. His pace, trickery and direct style of play make Vinícius a nightmare to defend against and he will be looking to make his mark against Leganes.