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Real Madrid-Villarreal PREVIEW

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After the excitement of qualifying for the Europa League Round of 16, and just before we try to overturn a two-goal deficit to Barcelona in the Copa, we get to play in the Bernabeu. Not an easy place to win!

Moi and Gerard, both likely starters tomorrow
Moi and Gerard, both likely starters tomorrow
Maria José Segovia

Galaticos are a tough challenge for a buzzing Villarreal
The leaders are still flying high, and will be even more confident as they now have a four-point advantage over Barca who lost last week to Malaga.  Against Eibar we were hardly at our best but we still won, and after a captivating performance over Red Bull Salzburg which saw us into the last 16 of Europa league we are not going to be short on confidence.


Squads
We are hardly at our strongest with Bruno out and Denis unable to play against his home side.  Rukavina was injured in training, so Mario and Jaume Costa are certain to be the fullbacks, as Bojan Jokic and Adrian Marin are also still on the injured list.   It is times like this it is infuriating that we let Espinosa and Cani go.  Without Denis it will be Campbell or Moi which is hardly what you need against Madrid.

Up front it will probably be Giovani and Gerard, though look for Vietto around the 60-minute mark.  Gio has a goal and two assists in his last two matches, and finally seems to be recovering some form.


Villarreal's 18 for this match:


Goalkeepers Asenjo and Juan Carlos.
Defence: Mario, Jaume Costa, Musacchio, Eric Bailly, Víctor Ruiz and Dorado.
Midfield Pina, Jonathan dos Santos, Trigueros, Sergio Marcos, Campbell and Moi Gómez.
Strikers:  Vietto, Gerard Moreno, Uche and Giovani.


Madrid


There are pros and cons this time around.  Madrid are without Sergio Ramos, James Rodriguez and Sami Khedira who are all out injured.  The bad news is Bale is back, and he has devloped a habit of scoring against us.  Pepe has returned and bolstered their defense as well.


I am going to be the ever optimist and say 2-1 to us. They are without Ramos and I think they struggle at the back without his leadership.

Vamos!

(Allen says: Robin, optimist hardly describes you.  We've never won in the Bernabeu, and without Chery and given the need to make rotations this week, I think we'll work hard but in the end it'll be 3-1 to Madrid, with the third goal arriving pretty late to settle the nerves of the home fans.  But I'd be delighted to be proven wrong!!)