Victory would hand Real Madrid their first title in three years, and only their second in seven years. Villarreal, however, have the minor matter of European football at stake. We preview the game with a massive three points on the line for both sides.
Who is playing?
Real Madrid vs Villarreal
What competition is it?
La Liga Santander Matchweek 37
What time is Real Madrid vs Villarreal?
20:00 BST, Thursday 17th July 2020.
Where do Real Madrid play?
Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, Madrid, Spain.
Where can I watch Real Madrid vs Villarreal?
Thoughts on Real Madrid vs Villarreal
Differing positions and but very much the same objective of walking away three points better off for both sides, in a match that has given Real Madrid difficulty in recent history.
Los Blancos have only won one of the last five meetings (D1, L3); with all of the draws finishing with the same 2-2 scoreline.
Real Madrid are on the cusp of only their second title since 2012, however. Who was at the helm when they picked up the other? Zinedine Zidane of course. He also earnt an unprecedented three-peat of European Cups to boot in his first tenure. Since his return after the catastrophic Loptegui/Solari saga, silverware has only come in the form of the Spanish Super Cup, nevertheless a league title and still in the hunt for the Champions League would be viewed as a triumphant homecoming.
‘The Yellow Submarine’ are very much rolling back into where they are seen to belong also, with the Castellon outfit having finished in the top six of the league in five of the last six seasons. Improving on last season by nine positions is an impressive feat by Javier Calleja, and the main objective is to nail down the automatic qualification to the Europa League, with Getafe, Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao waiting in the ranks.
Los Reyes de Espana?
Madrid have very much been the champions in-waiting since Barcelona’s bump in the road, coming in the form of three draws in four successive matches- not up to scratch in an unforgiving title race. The fortunes of Zidane’s team have been much more favourable and on the contrary.
Ramos has led the team to an unbeaten record at the Alfredo Di Stefano this campaign, along with nine successive victories since the return of football. The form of champions, perhaps. Fine margins though? Los Blancos have only themselves scored over 2.5 goals twice in these nine post-lockdown meetings.
Real Madrid will look to avoid an ultimate day showdown with their bitter Catalonian rivals and get the business done on Thursday with no fresh injury concerns or absentees since last time out, with Marcelo (thigh) and Nacho (hamstring) likely to sit out.
But not in the form of the Champions League though. Monday evening’s home loss to Real Sociedad condemned the club to fifth or below for this season. The improvement on last campaign will delight those at the Estadio de la Ceramica, but a late capitulation and loss of a Europa League group stage spot would put a dampener on an otherwise solid campaign.
The challenge ahead doesn’t come much sterner, but Villarreal arrive in the capital as fourth best in the division regarding league away form. They also only sit behind the ‘Clasico’ sides in the highest scoring sides in the division this season.
A plethora of returns to the matchday squad will boost Villarreal. Gerard Moreno and Vicente Iborra return from one match suspensions and Paco Alcacer is available after a brief term muscle injury. We expect Ramiro Funes Mori and Carlos Bacca to miss out.
Real Madrid recent matches:
- Granada (a) 1-2 win
- Alaves (h) 2-0 win
- Athletic Bilbao (a) 0-1 win
- Getafe (h) 1-0 win
- Espanyol (a) 0-1 win
Villarreal recent matches:
- Real Sociedad (h) 1-2 defeat
- Getafe (a) 1-3 win
- Barcelona (h) 1-4 defeat
- Real Betis (a) 0-2 win
- Valencia (h) 2-0 win
Real Madrid top contributors:
- Karim Benzema (Forward): 27 La Liga goal contributions (19 goals + 8 assists) – There is more silverware up for grabs as the Frenchman chases Lionel Messi for the much adorned ‘Golden Shoe’ accolade. He sits three goals behind the Argentine with three games to go, after netting twice in as many appearances in the past five days.
- Sergio Ramos (Defender): 10 La Liga goals- The frankly ludicrous feat of reaching double figures for a defender this season has been aided by Ramos assuming spot kick duties for Los Blancos. The only detrimental factor to be considered of the Spaniard’s high goal tally is what could’ve been for his teammate Benzema, who is chasing the ‘Pichichi’ trophy.
Villarreal top contributors:
- Gerard Moreno (Forward): 21 La Liga goal contributions (16 goals + 5 assists) – The striker makes a return from a one-match ban and a welcoming one at that for the Villarreal faithful. He already bettered his season total of 15 in the 4-1 defeat to Barcelona and his partnership with Santi Cazorla has formed the bedrock of their challenge for Europe.
- Santi Cazorla (Midfielder): 19 La Liga goal contributions (11 goals + 8 assists) – Cazorla, very much a sweetheart of Premier League fans, has returned to help his first professional club back into Europe after a disappointing 14th place finish last season. The maestro’s contribution hasn’t gone unnoticed at 34.
|1st September 2019||VIL 2-2 RMA||La Liga|
|5th May 2019||RMA 3-2 VIL||La Liga|
|3rd January 2019||VIL 2-2 RMA||La Liga|
|19th May 2018||VIL 2-2 RMA||La Liga|
|13th January 2018||RMA 0-1 VIL||La Liga|
Ryan’s Betting Tips
*Odds as of the time of writing (Tuesday 13th July) and subject to change.
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