Real Madrid will look to win a record-extending 35th La Liga title when they host Villarreal on Saturday at 5pm (UK time).
Zinedine Zidane’s defending champions require current leaders and city rivals Atletico Madrid to slip up while picking up all three points themselves against the Europa League finalists.
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Where to watch Real Madrid vs Villarreal on TV:
- UK: Premier Sports 1
- US: beIN SPORTS
Scoreline prediction: Real Madrid 2-1 Villarreal
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Real Madrid vs Villarreal build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
At one stage during the last gameweek, it seemed Real Madrid were going to do the unthinkable. As they were leading Athletic Bilbao, their rivals for this season’s championship, Atletico, trailed at home, meaning they would be tied going into the final matchday. But as it turns out, the 34-time champions are still two points behind and require victory over Villarreal and Diego Simeone’s men slipping up on the road if they are to successfully defend their crown. Zidane’s side are currently on a nine-game unbeaten run at home, registering 15 goals while conceding just five times (six of those contests ending in success).
It would be understandable if Unai Emery has one eye on the forthcoming Europa League final against Manchester United, meaning there could be substantial changes from his regular starting lineup. They’ll be looking to build on a two-match winning streak which includes a comprehensive 4-0 success over Sevilla last time out. On the road, El Submarino Amarillo have won four of their previous five away games but history is against them as Villarreal have lost 70% of their games at Real Madrid, which is their highest away loss ratio against a single side they have visited at least twice in the Spanish top flight.
- Real Madrid (vs Athletic Bilbao): Courtois; Odriozola, Militão, Fernández, Gutiérrez; Casemiro, Casemiro, Valverde; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinícius Júnior.
- Villarreal (vs Sevilla): Asenjo; Funes Mori, Albiol, Torres, Moreno; Gómez, Parejo, Trigueros, Yeremy; Moreno, Bacca.
Toni Kroos and Raphael Varane are both doubts for Real Madrid while Ferland Mendy, Sergio Ramos, Daniel Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez are ruled out. There are no fewer than three players (Gerónimo Rulli, Mario Gaspar and Etienne Capoue) suspended for Villarreal this weekend. Samuel Chukwueze and Juan Foyth, meanwhile, remain in the physio room.
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Player to watch: Gerard Moreno (Villarreal)
This match could see two of La Liga’s most in-form centre-forwards duel it out. Karim Benzema, fresh after returning from international exile, is two strikes away from equalling his personal best goalscoring record in a single league campaign with Real Madrid and, given their circumstances, he’s expected to start. The same is true of Gerard Moreno, but he could be given the day off in preparation for Villarreal’s aforementioned European final. That said, if the 29-year-old Spanish marksman does start then he’s got the opportunity to create a piece of club history. Moreno is on 23 goals, and only Diego Forlán has registered more in a Spanish top-flight campaign for Villarreal; the former Uruguayan striker managed 25 during the 2004/05 season. It’s also worth noting in 11 previous league meetings against Real — while representing The Yellow Submarine and Espanyol — he’s found the net on five occasions, with one of those efforts coming in this season’s reverse fixture.
La Liga 2020/21 recent form:
- Real Madrid: WWDWD
- Villarreal: WWLWL
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