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Villarreal at Real Madrid: La Liga Preview

A huge league test for Unai Emery’s men before they face Manchester United in the Champions League.

Arnaut Danjuma Groeneveld of Villarreal CF scores a goal... Photo by Xisco Navarro/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

So, what do Villarreal get for finally breaking their draw streak with a win? Quite possibly the toughest week in recent club history. Real Madrid have been absolutely flying offensively under the return of Carlo Ancelotti and then we get to go face Manchester in Old Trafford. Two brutal away days in less than a week.

Our Opponents

Karim Benzema has contributed to more goals in his first six La Liga fixtures this campaign than we ever even saw Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo do through six matches. The craziest thing about this fact is that Benzema probably hasn’t even been their most influential attacker this season, as the speed and off the ball runs of Vinicius Jr have revolutionized his game and made their attack incredibly dangerous. Gone is the defensive conservatism of Zidane’s second reign, what we have here is a swashbuckling side with a ton of talent. They’ve probably been the best team in La Liga to this point by some distance.

Against Mallorca, they ran out 6-1 winners, despite rotating many of their veteran players. They follow their match with us by facing Sherriff, so they don’t have to rest anyone for the Champions League against us. We’ll get both barrels locked and loaded. Marco Asensio got his first career hat trick playing from a central midfielder role, though to be fair we also probably saw Mallorca’s worst performance by some distance in the fixture.

Villarreal

EPM and others have reported that Gerard and Yeremi will be missing from this one, which sucks really badly. Even fully healthy we would be up against it in this one, so now we really have our work cut out for us. The good news is that this Real Madrid team will give you opportunities to score. They are not particularly solid in the back, and as we saw in their Levante match, if you catch them on the right day something can be gained from this one.

I know we just finished complaining about draws, but we’ve only won once ever in the Bernabeu as a club so a point here would be good work. They haven’t beaten us twice in a row since Ancelotti’s double winning campaign of 2014 so maybe we can rob them of a couple points.

Prediction

I’m not convinced enough yet by our defending to think this match is going to go well. 3-1 to Madrid.