Real Madrid vs Villarreal
Estadio Santiago Bernabeu is the venue as Real Madrid and Villarreal lock horns in an exciting La Liga fixture.
Real Madrid pulled off a second-half comeback to beat Union Berlin 3-2 over midweek, capping off a 100% Champions League group stage campaign in style. While the Germans failed to capitalize on Madrid’s slip-ups, Real Betis did so last weekend, holding ‘Los Merengues’ to a 1-1 draw and helping Girona move two points clear at the La Liga summit. The impending home return ought to get Carlo Ancelotti’s side back to winning ways, with the record-time Spanish champions winning all but one top-flight home game this season (W6, D1). Except for a frustrating 0-0 draw against Rayo Vallecano, ‘Los Blancos’ have averaged 2.83 goals per match across their remaining six home league outings. Equally impressive at the back, they’ve only conceded once in their last five, increasing the likelihood of defying an underwhelming five-game H2H form (W1, D2, L2).
In the meantime, Villarreal eked out a goal-glutted 3-2 win at Rennes in midweek Europa League action, handing new manager Marcelino some confidence following a disappointing three-game winless run in all competitions (D2, L1). That same scoreline propelled ‘El Submarino Amarillo’ to a shocking win at the Bernabeu last season, a feat they seem unlikely to replicate this weekend amidst a troubled five-game league form (W1, D1, L3). Upsetting the apple cart in the capital could be a turning point for Villarreal, who commence this round a whopping ten points adrift of the European spots, having won just 25% of their opening 16 La Liga fixtures (W4, D4, L8). On a more positive note, Marcelino’s men are unbeaten in four of their last five away league games (W1, D3).