We talked about looking for revenge after José Mourinho's antics in the primera vuelta. In case you forgot, the Portuguese playboy (alliteration!) celebrated in front our bench, Rubén Cani justifiably threw a water bottle in his direction, and the match came unhinged.
Yet again, fatigue was a factor in our 4-2 defeat at the Bernabéu, and the loss clearly delineated the big two from Liga Justa. Cristiano Ronaldo is looking for his 7th hat trick of the season and the all-time Pichichi mark, with Marca giving him an extra goal for good measure. To earn a result, we will need a much better defensive performance from Mario than in recent weeks.
On the flip side, this is a day for celebration. After a moment of silence for the victims of the Lorca earthquake, Villarreal will look for only its 3rd win in 24 tries against Real Madrid. The wins came in 2006-07 (1-0), courtesy of a Marquitos strike (where is that potential?) and in 2008-09 (3-2), thanks to a memorable Capdevila tally.
Manager Juan Carlos Garrido is aiming for 3rd place in La Liga next season. He also expects Sr. Roig to make some significant investments in squad depth, on the heels of an austere summer 2010. But for now, the task at hand.
My expected starting XI:
Mario - Musacchio - Marchena - Capdevila
Borja - Senna - Bruno - Cazorla
Ruben - Rossi
Prediction: We will be caught out on the counterattack. Ronaldo is hungry for goals, even at the expense of his teammates, so some theatrics are in store. I'd like to see this XI function as a unit; the result makes no difference. I'll say 3-2 to Madrid, with a goal and applause for Rossi. Endavant Villarreal!