Real Madrid will host Villarreal at the newly renovated Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in La Liga on Sunday night.
After drawing against Real Betis last weekend, Los Blancos have lost their league leader status to Girona – who have now placed themselves at the top of the table having beaten Barcelona 4-2.
So, Real Madrid will be keen on regaining their place at the summit of the table by defeating the Yellow Submarines in this fixture. Carlo Ancelotti’s side have managed to accumulate 39 points from 16 games, sitting only two points behind Girona.
On the other hand, Villarreal have endured a tough start this season as they are currently languishing down 13th in the table with 16 points from as many games.
Villarreal were beaten 3-0 by Real Sociedad in their previous league fixture, however, they will be coming into this game off the back of a victory over Stade Rennais in the Europa League.
Following this victory, they have secured their place in Europe’s second-tier competition as a group leader. so they will be looking to continue their winning run by beating Real Madrid in this game. But, defeating the record Spanish champions away from home won’t be easy for Villarreal.
Real Madrid haven’t had a great record against the Yellow Submarines in recent times in La Liga as they have lost the previous two encounters, including last season’s disappointing 3-2 home defeat.
Los Merengues last defeated Villarreal in this tournament a couple of years ago and they have won only one out of the last six games versus the Yellow Submarines in La Liga. So, Real Madrid will be desperate to rectify that record in this fixture against a struggling Villarreal team.
How to watch
The match will kick off at 8 pm UK time and the game will be televised live on Viaplay Sports 2 channel and La Liga TV. Match-going fans can buy Real Madrid tickets via official club channels or reputed ticket resellers.
Real Madrid have struggled with several injury problems this season. Eder Militao and Thibaut Courtois have been sidelined over the last few months due to a serious knee injury and they are set to remain sidelined for this fixture as well.
Vinicius Jr also remains sidelined owing to a hamstring issue, while Eduardo Camavinga is set to miss out on this fixture due to an injury. Aurelien Tchouameni has been sidelined over the last few weeks owing to an issue but he may return in this fixture and could be named in the matchday squad.
Along With them, Arda Guler and Dani Carvajal are also unavailable for selection in this fixture due to their respective problems.
As for Villarreal, they also have several injury problems ahead of this fixture as Santi Comesana, Yeremy Pino, Denis Suarez, Aissa Mandi and Alejandro Moreno are all set to miss out on this game owing to their respective problems. Juan Foyth sustained an injury in midweek so he is in doubt ahead of this encounter.
Ancelotti has been using the 4-3-1-2 diamond formation this season and is likely to continue with the same system in this encounter. Kepa Arrizabalaga is set to commence in goal for Los Blancos, while Lucas Vazquez, Antonio Rudiger, David Alaba and Ferland Mendy should be the back four for Real Madrid.
Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde are expected to be in the engine room with Luka Modric set to complete the midfield trio. Jude Bellingham may continue in the attacking midfield position.
Rodrygo and Joselu should continue in the centre-forward role amid Vinicius Jr’s injury absence. So, Brahim Diaz could be among the substitutes.
Expected Real Madrid line-up vs Villarreal
Kepa; Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy; Modric, Kroos, Valverde, Bellingham; Rodrygo, Joselu
As for Villarreal, Marcelino likes to use the 4-4-2 system and he could go with this formation in this fixture. Filip Jorgensen could commence in goal for the Yellow Submarines and in front of the Dane, Ramon Terrats, Raul Albiol, Jorge Cuenca and Alfonso Pedraza could be at the back.
Etienne Capoue and Dani Parejo are set to be at the heart of Villarreal’s midfield, while Adria Altimira and Alejandro Baena could commence on the flanks. Gerard Moreno and Jose Luis Morales should be leading the line for Marcelino’s side.
Expected Villarreal line-up vs Real Madrid
Jorgensen; Terrats, Albiol, Cuenca, Pedraza; Altimira, Capoue, Parejo, Baena; Moreno, Morales
Bellingham has continued to score goals and has already established himself as a talismanic figure for Real Madrid. The midfielder has taken over the goal-scoring burden for Los Blancos following Karim Benzema’s departure.
So, Real Madrid fans will be hoping that the Englishman will be able to put his name on the score-sheets and help his side earn all three points from this fixture.
Rodrygo has also been in excellent form and he has managed to fill the void of Vinicius Jr amid his injury absence. So, the responsibility will be on Rodrygo to finish off chances if he gets any and create opportunities for Joselu.
After joining the club last summer, Joselu has done relatively well and he helped his side beat Union Berlin in the Champions League last time out by scoring a brace. So, the Spaniard will be hoping to keep his goal-scoring form in this encounter. Real Madrid conceded two goals in midweek so their back four will need to be careful in this game.
For Villarreal, the goalkeeper Jorgensen needs to be at the top of his game to help his side come away with a positive result from this fixture, while the centre-back duo Albiol and Cuenca need to organise his backline and keep away the opposition attack.
The responsibility will be on Parejo and Capoue to be tidy on possession and control the pace of the game. They also have to disrupt Real Madrid from playing their free-flowing football.
Baena has been in fine form this season so Real Madrid need to keep him quiet on Sunday and along with him, Moreno is the talismanic figure for Villarreal. Therefore, Los Blancos will have to keep him in close attention.
Real Madrid have been in fine form this season so they are currently full of confidence. Therefore, they will be the heavy favourite to win this game and anything but a victory for Los Blancos will be deemed as a real surprise.
However, Marcelino is a top-class coach and he will be looking to help his side earn a positive result from this fixture by playing a pragmatic style of football.
But, Real Madrid’s firepower is likely to be too much for the Yellow Submarines so they could eventually end up losing the game. Real Madrid 3-0 Villarreal
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