Real Madrid will look to bounce back after a shock loss against Valencia in midweek and increase the gap at the top of the once again. Although they have a game in hand, the 4 point difference which will be again opened up if Barca win the difficult match up against Atletico and Real win both against Villarreal and the game in hand, which will be the desirable situation for Zidane. And although this has been one of Barcelona’s worst domestic campaign in a long time, Real haven’t been able to capitalise on it as much as they would have ideally preferred and that will be bugging Zidane who certainly demands more from his team.
But Villarreal will not be pushovers and they will be quietly confident of causing an upset. They are currently in the Europa League qualification spot will look to apply pressure on Real Sociedad for an automatic qualification berth.
- Real Madrid have won just four of their last twelve visits to El Madrigal.
- Zidane’s players have won just one of their last five away games in all competitions (D3 L1).
- On the other hand, Villarreal have won just two of their last five La Liga games in El Madrigal (D2 L1).
- Real Madrid has scored in their last 43 games in all competitions, and they could equal the best streak in La Liga history (Barcelona in 1944).
- Real Madrid has lost more La Liga games in 2017 (2) than in 2016 (1).
- Gareth Bale played his first official game with Real Madrid against Villarreal in El Madrigal and scored with his first shot on target.
- Roberto Soldado has scored four goals in his last four games at home against Real Madrid in La Liga.
- Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more goals against Villarreal than any current La Liga player (11).
- Fran Escribá has only won one point in his last six La Liga matches against Real Madrid as manager (D1 L5).
- Sergio Asenjo has kept more clean sheets this season (11) than any other goalkeeper in La Liga.
TEAM NEWS AND PREDICTED LINE-UPS
Nicola Sansone misses out against Madrid, but Roberto Soldado is back following three months on the sidelines.
Asenjo; Mario Gaspar, Ruiz, Musacchio, Costa; Santos, Trigueros, Soriano, Castillejo; Bakambu, Lopez.
REAL MADRID (4-3-3)
Gareth Bale has mainly been used as a substitute since his return from the injury. While the Welshman is in line to start against Villarreal, Raphael Varane misses out after picking up an injury. The French defender is reportedly ruled out for five to six weeks.
Danilo is training alone and is not ready to return from injury.
Navas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Morata, Ronaldo.
REAL MADRID- 4/6
TRIVIA COURTESY- OPTA