Real Madrid are back in the running for the La Liga title following Barcelona’s mini-collapse, but can ill-afford to drop points in the remaining fixtures of the season.
Villarreal will be a tricky opponent for Zinedine Zidane’s men on Wednesday, with the Yellow Submarine on the verge of qualifying for the Champions League once again. Manager Marcelo Toral will be looking to get at least one point out of this fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu as Real Madrid have shown that they are one of the toughest teams to face away from home this campaign.
With almost the full squad at his disposal, Zidane is set to name his strongest side against Villarreal as he tries to take Los Blancos back to the top of the La Liga table. The only two absentees are Dani Carvajal in defence and Gareth Bale in attack. However, the home side have a strong bench, and Danilo and Jese Rodriguez are expected to slot in for Carvajal and Bale respectively.
Possible Starting XI (4-3-3): Navas; Marcelo, Ramos, Pepe, Dani; Casemiro, Modric, Kroos; Benzema, Ronaldo, Jese.
The Yellow Submarine are missing some of their key players in this match and that could go on to hurt them, especially as they will be playing in front of a hostile Madrid crowd. While the absence of Mateo Musacchio could weaken their defence, the forward line is diminished due to the injury to veteran striker Roberto Soldado.
Possible Starting XI (4-4-2): Areola; Rukavina, Ruiz, Bailly, Mario; Suarez, Bruno, Trigueros, Santos; Bakambu, Baptistao.
- Villarreal have not been able to defeat Real Madrid in their last 14 matches at the Bernabeu.
- Real Madrid have only lost two of their last 34 home matches at home.
- The Los Blancos have been outscoring their opponents in each half of 10 of their last 11 matches.
- Villarreal’s last three away La Liga games have seen at least 2.5 goals on average.
Real Madrid 4-2 Villarreal
Real Madrid’s season has suddenly gone from being one of utter disappointment to one that could potentially be one of their most successful in recent years. From being in a position where they looked like they would not win any silverware this season, they suddenly find themselves in a position where they could end up with a double. This prospect has certainly charged Zinedine Zidane’s men up an they will likely sink the Yellow Submarine at the Bernabeu.
Odds (Paddy Power)
- Real Madrid: 1/5
- Draw: 11/12
- Villarreal: 12/1