Real Madrid entertain Villarreal at the Santiago Bernabeu this Sunday, kicking off at 4:30pm local time in Spain. This La Liga match is all about restoring some pride for Los Blancos, with Villarreal hoping to secure their top flight status for another season.
Home Team: Real Madrid
Real Madrid’s season effectively ended when they lost to Barcelona twice in a week in two different competitions, and then to Ajax in the Champions League, way back in March.
Since the return of Zinedine Zidane, they were hoping to retrieve some of their credibility, and show exactly why they have been Champions League winners in four of the last five seasons – however, it has not materialised as the Frenchman had hoped.
Atletico Madrid are virtually uncatchable now in 2nd spot, so Real Madrid will have to accept that 3rd is the best position that they can come in a quite disastrous season for them. In their two recent away matches, they first drew with a competitive Getafe side 0-0, but then lost to bottom of the table Rayo Vallecano in a 1-0 defeat.
Real Madrid have hit too many blanks this season, as they have scored 27 goals less than Barcelona. The club will look to bring in many reinforcements next season, to propel them back to the top once again.
Away Team: Villarreal
Villarreal have had a mediocre season, as they currently sit in 14th position, and still not 100% safe from relegation. They are 5 points from the relegation places, with 9 more points to play for, so they cannot rest too easy just yet.
Villarreal’s campaign started in a slow fashion, but their form in the 2nd half of the campaign has somewhat salvaged their season. They were also in the Europa League until the quarter finals, where they were knocked out by other Spanish team Valencia.
Villarreal are so used to challenging in Europe, and for the top 7 spots in Spain, but manager Javier Calleja will be pleased what he has seen from his side in recent months, and will hope that they can push up further in the league next year.
Villarreal’s away record is identical to their home record, with them picking up 20 points on the road, and at home, but given the competitive nature of La Liga, that away record is particularly impressive, and they’ll hope to cause another upset here.
Head to Head
Real Madrid have seen Villarreal has a bogey club in recent years, as they have not won in the last three meetings, and have only beaten them twice in the last 8 matches. The last two meetings in Villarreal, including the reverse fixture this season, they both ended in compelling 2-2 draw.
In last year’s fixture at the Bernabeu, Villarreal stunned Real Madrid with a 1-0 victory – Pablo Fornals with a late winner. Real Madrid’s last win at home to Villarreal was back in 2016 in a 3-0 routine victory, which is their only win in their last four home matches against Villarreal.
Can Villarreal give Real Madrid another reality check?[geot exclude_country="US" ][/geot]
Predictions and Betting Tips
Real Madrid are favourites at 4/6, with Villarreal at 10/3. For the sides to draw, that is priced at 3/1. Many tipsters would have an eye on an upset here, given Villarreal’s recent record with Real Madrid, so a double chance bet of them drawing or winning at 11/10 is reasonable.
However, I’d still opt for a home win here, and my score line prediction would be a 2-0 home win at 10/1. For me, those odds are generous, and you can boost it with a score cast, by tipping Karim Benzema to score first in a 2-0 result at 30/1. Real Madrid are at 3/1 to win both halves, and at 11/4 to win with a clean sheet, which should both be considered.
Finally, if you are continuously let down by Real Madrid this season, you can back Villarreal to score in both halves at 11/4, or be even more courageous, and back them to be leading on both halves at 6/1.[geot country="US,CA" ]
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