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Real Madrid-Villarreal PREVIEW

Why this match is on a Wednesday (along with Barca-Atleti), only Tebas knows.

A lot of exciting matches in the fifth weekend of La Liga. Barcelona-Atleti, Real Madrid-Villarreal, the Sevilla derby.....what’s that? It’s NOT on a weekend, but on WEEKDAYS, so the fans will have trouble making it? What idiot thought of this? Oh. Step forward, Javier Tebas.

So. Real Madrid-Villarreal. The Yellow Submarine have named a squad of 21 for this one, so have to drop three before game time:

  • Keepers: Asenjo and Andrés Fernández.
  • Defenders: Rukavina, José Ángel, Mario, Víctor Ruiz, Jaume Costa, Bonera, Musacchio and Álvaro.
  • Midfielders: N’Diaye, Bruno, Trigueros, Soriano, Castillejo, Cheryshev, Jonathan dos Santos and Rodri.

Strikers: Pato, Santos Borré and Sansone.

Real Madrid have 19 players named:

Goalkeepers: Casilla, Rubén Yáñez and Craninx.

Defenders: Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo and Danilo.

Midfielders: Kroos, James, Kovacic, Asensio and Isco.

Strikers: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale, Lucas Vázquez and Morata.

Our opponents: This year Real Madrid are trying something new. Instead of being the main spenders in the transfer window, and then spending lots of time trying to figure out which galactico to play they have actually been pretty quiet (passing on Paul Pogba, for example).

Their form has been strange—basically, they have been pretty poor as far as playing great football is concerned, but they have relied on brute force and their superior skill to get results.  They will be trying to win at home in La Liga for the

Villarreal: Having watched the Sociedad match yesterday, I’m amazed (a) we didn’t have three or four goals at the break (b) we won the thing. Seriously, I can tell we have a good idea of how Escribá wants us to play, but with so many changes in the summer, players are still figuring it out.

All-time record: (laughs)...You know we’ve NEVER won in the Bernabeu, right? And only one draw since 2006 (March 2015). Only a result half the time at home (three wins, five draws, eight losses). Last year we lost 3-0, a match that was notable mainly because my niece and nephew were at the match, as was our excellent gamethread man Harry. Oh well.

Prediction: Head: 3-1 Villarreal. Heart: 1-1.   Casemiro and Modric are out so midfield might be more even, but then Bale and Cristiano are back.  Must be nice.

Extra....check in with our sister blog Managing Madrid and see what I told them about this one.  (For what it's worth, they are figuring 1-0, 2-0, that sort of thing).

Trivia: Madrid are trying to set a record with their 17th win in a row in La Liga.  They last lost (at home) on February 27 to Atleti...and oddly enough, they had only drawn to Malaga the match before that.