Match Preview: Villarreal vs Real Madrid

Real Madrid will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 1-1 draw in their previous outing when they visit Villarreal on Sunday evening.

Zinedine Zidane and his Real Madrid side travel to Villarreal for the encounter with the Yellow Submarine in La Liga’s Matchday 3 this weekend.

The Whites started the 2019-20 campaignΒ with an empathic 3-1 win at Celta, but lost their first points this term in the previous round, drawing 1-1 with Valladolid at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Villarreal, on the other hand, will be looking to register their first victory in the new season. They threw away a 4-2 lead against Granada in the opener only to win a point from the 4-4 draw, and a 1-0 half-time lead at Levante to lose the game 2-1.

Their encounter against Madrid is scheduled for tonight at 21:00 (CET), while the venue is the Estadio de la Ceramica, formerly known as El Madrigal stadium.

Team news

Villarreal’s summer addition Alberto Moreno is the only injury doubt for Javi Calleja before tonight’s game with Real Madrid.

The 41-year-old Spanish coach will miss Bruno Soriano and Ruben Pena through injury, but has the rest of his squad fit and ready to go.

Eden Hazard is on the comeback trail from a thigh inury. The Belgian winger returned to training on Friday, but he is working on his own away from the rest of the squad and will not be available for the clash with the Yellow Submarine.

Zidane will welcome back Luka Modric who returns from suspension, while Marco Asensio, Brahim Diaz, Isco and Rodrygo are all out.

What did the managers say

Villarreal boss Javi Calleja believes a win against Real Madrid would be a big boost for his players after an average start of the campaign.

“It is a game of maximum difficulty. It is a team that has the quality to win La Liga. We have to trust our own and not give away because they take advantage of it very well,” he said via Marca.

“On the first day with 10 players, they showed a great performance. The other day against Valladolid they had enough chances to win. They always create dangerous situations and we have to be prepared to suffer.

Raphael Varane, Karim Benzema, Real Madrid

Raphael Varane is inspired by team-mate Karim Benzema

Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane has hailed team-mate Karim Benzema as an inspiration for him due to the striker's "exceptional" longevity.

“Achieving a victory would be very important mentally. We would take a weight off. Regardless of the result we get, we know that the season has just begun.”

Zinedine Zidane says the Whites are treating the game as their most important one of the season.

“We’re treating it as the most important game of the season because it’s our next one. We know that the points are important now at the start of the season,” he said at a press conference.

“We want to go out and deliver a good performance. We’ve had a good week, it’s been a long one and the vibes are good. We now want to take those good vibes into tomorrow’s game. Villarreal are very good in possession.

“They might not have had the best of results at the start of the season but they’re capable of making life difficult for you because they’ve got some good players. We’ve prepared well for the game during the course of this week.”

Stats

Villarreal won a point in their last encounter with Madrid at Estadio de la Ceramica, noting a 2-2 draw thanks to a Santi Cazorla brace.

Gareth Bale made his Real Madrid debut and scored his first goal for the Whites at this very stadium against Villarreal, back in 2013.

Madrid won only three of their last nine meetings with the Yellow Submarine, two of which were actually on the road.

The last two games between both sides at El Madrigal stadium finished with the same result, a 2-2 draw.

Villarreal has lost only one from their last 10 league games at home. However, they registered only four wins in the process.

Real Madrid have only one win from their last six away games, the 3-1 victory at Celta in the season opener two weeks ago.

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