Real Madrid faces its second tough test of its title credentials in two weeks when it travels to play Real Betis on Saturday night.
Zinedine Zidane’s side goes into the game on the back of a 0-0 draw away to Real Sociedad a week ago, in a game it controlled for long periods without creating the chances it needed to win.
That has raised doubts over whether Zidane is going to face the same issues as last season, when his side at times struggled to score goals.
Zidane was without Marco Asensio, Isco and Eden Hazard against Real Sociedad, and if fit, that trio would give him more attacking options. Both Hazard and Asensio began training with the group towards the end of the week, and though neither is likely to be fit enough to start, they could take up a place on the bench.
There is also a slight doubt over Martin Odegaard, who returned from loan from Real Sociedad over the summer and was in the starting 11 to face his former club a week ago.
The young Norwegian returned a positive test result for COVID-19 after that game, but a second test came back negative and he has returned to training after having to sit out the start of the week. Zidane will have to decide whether he maintains Odegaard in an attack-minded midfield alongside Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, or whether Casemiro returns to the side.
The Brazilian, who was so important to Madrid last season, was surprisingly left out of the starting 11 a week ago, although he did play the last 20 minutes and it will be interesting to see how Zidane deals with the situation.
Meanwhile, Real Betis has started the season with two wins from two games and looks a lot tougher under former Real Madrid and Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini than under Joan Ferrer ‘Rubi’ last season.
It has a decent record against Real Madrid with two wins and a draw in their last three games, the last of those being a 2-1 victory in the Benito Villamarin stadium. Nabil Fekir is fit to start and will probably play alongside Borja Iglesias and Sergio Canales.