In a pivotal La Liga fixture, Real Madrid confront Villarreal in a bid to regain momentum after a recent draw and solidify their standing in the league.
Los Blancos seek to secure victory at home, while Villarreal aims to capitalize on their recent European success and inflict a challenge on the Madrid giants.
Real Madrid, holding the second spot in La Liga, endured a draw against Real Betis last weekend. Despite facing injuries to key players, Carlo Ancelotti’s side remains resilient, losing only once this season, displaying impressive consistency in their performance.
Their flawless Champions League campaign saw them top Group C, winning all six matches, including a 3-2 triumph against Union Berlin.
Although positioned second in the league standings with 39 points, two behind leaders Girona, injuries to significant figures like Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao have not hindered their exceptional defensive record, conceding merely ten goals.
Villarreal, despite recent league struggles, notably secured a place in the Europa League last-16 after topping their group.
Their inconsistent domestic run finds them placed 13th in La Liga, amassing just 16 points from 16 games.
Marcelino’s men seek to reverse their league fortunes, having recorded wins over Real Madrid in their last two league meetings.
However, Villarreal’s recent 3-0 home loss to Real Sociedad signifies their erratic form in the league, necessitating a shift in their domestic trajectory to aim for European qualification next season.
Real Madrid La Liga Form: WDWWWD
Real Madrid All Competitions Form: WWWWDW
Villarreal La Liga Form: WLLWDL
Villarreal All Competitions Form: WWDDLW
Real Madrid anticipates the return of Aurelien Tchouameni, providing a boost amidst injury woes that sideline players like Dani Carvajal, Vinicius Junior, and Thibaut Courtois. However, the likes of Militao and Eduardo Camavinga remain unavailable.
Expected changes include the return of experienced figures like Toni Kroos and Antonio Rudiger. Joselu, coming off a brace, might retain his starting spot, with Lucas Vazquez filling in at right-back.
Villarreal grapples with fitness issues sidelining key players like Santi Comesana and Denis Suarez. Alexander Sorloth is anticipated to start upfront alongside Gerard Moreno, supported by experienced midfielders Dani Parejo and Etienne Capoue.
Real Madrid Possible Starting Lineup: (4-3-1-2)
Vazquez, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy;
Valverde, Kroos, Modric;
Villarreal Possible Starting Lineup: (4-3-3)
Foyth, Albiol, Gabbia, Alti;
Capoue, Parejo, Baena;
Akhomach, Sorloth, G Moreno
Prediction: Real Madrid 2-1 Villarreal
While Villarreal possesses the capability to challenge Real Madrid, the hosts seek to secure a crucial victory in the title race. Expect a tough encounter, with Real Madrid prevailing narrowly to claim the vital three points and maintain their pursuit of the league summit.