Real Madrid need a confidence boost and need a winning run if they want to keep their title chances alive. Villarreal travel to the Bernabeu and will be confident that they can garner a positive result against a lacklustre Real.
Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:
Los Blancos have not had a good first-half of the season and pressure is mounting. They have struggled more than expected in La Liga (LL) and currently sit in fourth place in the standings (W9 D5 L3), with a game in-hand on the pack.
Zinedine Zidane’s men have struggled at home, with a record of W5, D2, L2 in nine matches – 19 goals scored and nine conceded. Real’s goal difference is less than half of league leaders Barca and with an average of one goal conceded per-game, they rank 9th in LL.
Whilst Villarreal haven’t met the expectations of The Yellow Submarine faithful, they are challenging for a UEFA Europa League spot. In 18 games, ‘El Submarino Amarillo’ sit in sixth place, owing to a reasonably impressive record (W8, D4, L6). But their away form has been surprisingly good (W4, D2, L4), and they currently sit fifth in the away form table. However, with ten goals for and 14 against, they tend to struggle defensively away from home.
In terms of the head-to-head, Real Madrid have a W5, D4, L1 record against Villarreal over their last ten meetings. Los Blancos won 3-2 when they met for the last time in February, 2017; at home, Real have a W13, D5, L0 record against Villareal.
Player to watch: Having scored two goals vs Celta de Vigo last weekend, Gareth Bale will want to keep the rumours of a Manchester United switch on the back pages of the press.
Stat attack: Real Madrid rank Top 3 in LL in both goals scored/conceded and are coming off two straight 2-2 draws with just one win from their last four games in all competitions. Scoring has never been a problem for Los Merengues, as their last four matches have produced over 2.5 goals overall. Villarreal on the other hand, have just one + 2.5 game in their last seven.
Real Madrid: S. Ramos (calf injury), L. Zidane (shoulder injury), K. Benzema (doubtful).
Villarreal: A. Fernandez (knee injury), V. Ruiz (suspension), R. Semedo (thigh injury), L. Suarez (knee injury), Bruno (doubtful), N. Sansone (doubtful), R. Soriano (doubtful).