04 January 2019
La Liga action returns as Villarreal prepare to host Real Madrid to the Estadio de la Ceramica in what will be a must-win game for the visitors, who already trail league leaders Barcelona by eight points.
Winless in their last three La Liga encounters (D1, L2), the Yellow Submarine currently sit in the relegation zone with a one-point deficit to Athletic Bilbao. Villarreal reside as one of the weakest home teams in the Spanish top flight this season, as they’ve only managed to secure one victory in eight home meetings this campaign, losing four times in the process. What’s more, Luis García’s men have struggled to keep a clean sheet in 11 out of 15 home games in all competitions this season although conceding a minimum of two goals per match on just three separate occasions. Meanwhile, Villarreal’s problems in the final third have seen them failing to hit the back of the net three times at home in La Liga this year while scoring more than one goal per match only twice in the process.
On the other hand, the visitors come into this meeting after wrapping up their third consecutive FIFA Club Wolrd Cup, as Santiago Scolari hopes to see his team extending a three-game winning streak in all competitions. The reigning European champions have won five of their last six competitive road encounters, suffering one defeat during the run. However, Los Blancos have lost on three of their last five road trips in La Liga, as they currently deal with a negative -5 goal difference away from home. Los Merengues’ defensive frailties have seen them concede in seven out of eight road league clashes this campaign, allowing a minimum of two goals per match four times in the process. Still, Solari can be encouraged by the fact his players have scored at least two goals per match four times in their last six road encounters in all competitions.
Provisional line-up – Villarreal:
Gk: Asenjo Defense: Alvaro – Jaume Costa – Funes Mori – Mario Gaspar Midfield: Trigueros – Caseres – Chimerenka – Fornals Attack: Gerard Moreno – Bacca
Provisional line-up – Real Madrid:
Gk: Courtois Defense: Carvajal – Varane – Sergio Ramos – Marcelo Midfield: Casemiro – Kroos – Modric Attack: Lucas Vasquez – Benzema – Asensio
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