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Villarreal CF-Real Madrid GAMETHREAD

Here we go, guys....commentary is most welcome, let's all enjoy the match!

David Ramos

Villarreal-Real Madrid. Don't need to say much else! But there is also the promised debut of Gareth Bale for Madrid, and Gabriel Paulista for us--neither is expected to start, but should play some today. And the return of Diego López to El Madrigal. As I noted in the podcast, it's really been a long time since this fixture had this sort of excitement around it.

In 2010-11, the first match was a classic (Madrid winning 4-2 at home in a wild one), but the match at El Madrigal was right at the end of the season and meaningless for both sides. Madrid won 3-1, for the record.

In 2011-12, we drew 1-1 in Lotina's first match in charge, but even then, while there was some excitement around the ground, the general feeling of concern and despair around the team never really lifted.

I suppose you have to go back to the 2009-2010 season--though Villarreal had not started the season terribly well--when (also in Jornada 4), Villarreal played host to the merengues and lost 2-0. Cristiano Ronaldo scored in the first minute, Gonalo Rodriguez picked up his second yellow and was sent off in the first half, and Kaka scored a late penalty.

Our last victory at home against Madrid came the previous May, 3-2 courtesy of a late Capdevila goal. The only players who played then who will be in the teams today are Casillas, Ramos; Diego López; Bruno and Cani.