Match Preview: Real Madrid vs Villarreal – 2021/22
Real Madrid have been winning games of all manners and forms, scoring goals of all sorts in the process. Carlo Ancelotti’s team have really turned it up two gears as far as recent evidence goes.
This is a team that is once again returning to it’s offensive peaks, and starting to entertain with greater winning margins with each passing game. Tonight, Villarreal stand in their way. Again like last week, the Bernabéu is staged to host this fixture.
What to Expect:
Unai Emery’s Villarreal are quite the timid opposition. Their run in the Europa league last season ended with a triumph no one was surprised by given Emery’s past success in the competition. Domestically, they finished the season on a low.
In fact, losing to Real Madrid at the Alfredo Di Stéfano on the very last day of the season, which saw them miss out on direct European qualification via a top six spot. They’ve started the new season with the same sort of downward momentum, uninspiring football and overall they just give off the impression that their a team that needs steadying up.
El Submarino Amarillo were winless in no less than 13 fixtures (both competitive and otherwise) before last week’s thrashing of Elche, with their last win dating back to the Europa League final. Clearly Emery’s team are struggling to recreate the same sort of meticulous, transitive football that got them so far last campaign.
Villarreal aren’t entirely spineless, they still present heaps of quality and on paper can almost certainly boast an eleven that is capable of challenging Madrid. But it’s clear to see why they can’t be trusted upon to replicate last season’s heroics. Add to that Madrid’s recent form and Los Blancos have got quite the advantage on their hands.
Carlo Ancelotti misses out on having three of his best full-backs at his disposal. Ferland Mendy is yet to recover, Dani Carvajal won’t be returning anytime soon and another knock keeps club captain Marcelo out of action. Anyhow, Miguel Gutiérrez’s heroics from last week were impressive and on the far right, Nacho Fernandez wasn’t bad either.
Toni Kroos returned to training earlier this week, but it was deemed too early for the German to return to action tonight. Instead, Ancelotti’s trust in a new midfield combination of Eduardo Camavinga, Federico Valverde and a rejuvenated Marco Asensio can be looked forward to. Gareth Bale and Ceballos remain on the sidelines.
Nacho — Militão — Alaba — Gutiérrez
Valverde — Modrić — Camavinga — Asensio
Benzema — Vinícius
Foyth — Albiol — Pau — Moreno
Parejo — Capoue — Triguerros
Pino — Alcácer — Danjuma
Player to Watch:
Real Madrid: Karim Benzema. No brainer really. The past week’s performances have finally brought some light onto Benzema’s delightful form this season. He’s been getting into free space, finding unattended flaws and pouncing on any errors more efficiently than he’s ever done. Once again, King Karim is in the form of his life and Emery knows that both Pau Torres and Raúl Albiol will have to be in top form to stop him.
Villarreal: Yéremi Pino. He isn’t Unai Emery’s quickest forward, that would be the injured Samuel Chukwueze, nor is he nearly as clever in front of goal as Paco Alcácer or Gérard Moreno. However, at just 18 years of age Pino possesses the tenacity and aggressiveness of an old fashioned winger, with the skill and panache of a modern wide forward. He’s already scored once and assisted thrice this campaign. Who’s to say that he won’t add to his tally tonight?
Real Madrid 2-0 Villarreal.
Los Blancos have been free scoring and diligently pleasurable to watch so far. However, Villarreal’s unit should be a little tougher to break down than some of the teams that Madrid have faced in recent weeks. Expect the pacesetters to emerge clear cut winners regardless.