Real Madrid have gotten off to a perfect start to the season, winning four games on the trot. They now have a chance to break a La Liga record as they welcome the Yellow Submarine to the Bernabeu.
Los Blancos have opened up a three point lead at the top of the table and equaled the La Liga record for most consecutive wins with their victory on Sunday. Apart from the honor of breaking the record, manager Zinedine Zidane knows that it’s essential to keep getting maximum points if they are to keep rivals Barcelona at bay.
Villarreal will represent a stern test for Zidane’s men when the two clash in mid-week, as they hope to continue their unbeaten streak this season after winning their last two games against Malaga and Real Sociedad.
Probable line-ups & tactics:
The two biggest Galacticos at Real have returned to training and could feature in the clash against Villarreal after missing out on the game against Espanyol on Sunday. Zidane is very likely to field a first choice XI against a tricky opponent in the Yellow Submarine.
This means that BBC start up front, while Luka Modric and Toni Kroos control the midfield. Real will look to go on the attack from the get go, and pressure the Villarreal defense into making mistakes. Casemiro will play a crucial role as even the defenders are likely to get forward to attack.
Los Blancos would like to go for the kill early and then sit back and let the opponent have possession, as they did to great effect against Osasuna two weeks ago.
Probable Starting XI: Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo
The Yellow Submarine ended last season on a high as they finished fourth in La Liga. However, the new campaign hasn’t started well. Villarreal lost both their Champions League play-off games to Monaco, with the Ligue 1 club running out 3-1 winners.
There has been much upheaval behind the scenes as well. Marcelino was the manager who had stabilized the club for the past three years and brought them back to the top flight, but he was sacked before the first official game of the season.
Fran Escriba took over and has guided Villarreal to two draws and two wins so far this season. His team played some expansive football against Sociedad, but will have to stick to a tight 4-4-2 formation against Real. They will look to strike on the counter after surrendering possession to Los Blancos.
Probable Starting XI: Asenjo; Mario, Musacchio, V.Ruiz, J.Costa; Castillejo, Trigueros, Bruno, R. Soriano; Pato, Sansone
- Real Madrid are currently on 16 consecutive wins in La Liga, equaling Barcelona’s record for most consecutive wins in La Liga set in 2010-11.
- Los Blancos have failed to win any of their last three games against Villarreal.
- The Yellow Submarine have won just two of their last six away games.
- The list of top 10 scorers in La Liga this season so far doesn’t feature a Real Madrid player.
Player to watch out for:
The Welsh forward is Real Madrid’s top goal scorer so far this season, with two goals and an assist. However, that is a paltry figure for Bale, who was massively impressive for his national team at Euro 2016 and is looking to permanently silence his critics at Madrid this year.
With one of the world’s greatest players and his fellow attacker Cristiano Ronaldo slowing down at the age of 31, the onus is on Bale to show that he can take over the mantle from the prolific Portuguese winger.
Real Madrid 3-1 Villarreal
Los Blancos have been dominant under one of their greatest ever players in Zinedine Zidane. They are likely to emerge victorious in front of the passionate supporters at the Bernabeu, as Villarreal are unlikely to dent the table toppers track record at home.
The return of Bale and Ronaldo could well spell doom for the Yellow Submarine, with both capable of inflicting some major damage on Villarreal.