The game started quite slowly, as always. It was really cold tonight at the Bernabéu, but Gareth Bale pressed Villarreal's defense on the 6th minute and flicked the ball over Sergio Asenjo. It only took six minutes for Gareth Bale to score his ninth Liga BBVA goal and put Real Madrid ahead on the scoreboard. It was a big mistake by Dorado, who simply let Bale get the ball and face Villarreal's keeper.
Later, the Welsh attacker crossed the ball from the right wing, but Karim Benzema couldn't connect the header as Musacchio pushed him. Referee González González could've called for a penalty-kick, but let play on instead. It was encouraging to see Bale finding that kind of solution on the right wing though.
Marcelo left the game injured on the 17th minute. Coentrao completed a brilliant performance against Atlético de Madrid and it seemes that he might be needed in the future if Marcelo's injury is serious enough. It all appeared to be a back problem though, so it should not take him long to recover.
Illarramendi had a couple of dangerous turnovers that led to a Villarreal counterattack. He was being brilliant defensively, but he struggled a bit with his passes.
Gareth Bale continued with his encouraging signs on that right wing when he assisted Benzema with his right foot on the 24th minute. It was a brilliant cross to Benzema, who only had to push the ball in. Apparently, Bale has found his rhythm on that right wing, but it could also be due to Costa's poor performance.
The team were in total control of the game since Benzema's goal. Di María, Modric and Illarramendi had an easy time at dictating the tempo, so Villarreal never enjoyed the ball or dangerous chances. Gio Dos Santos was completely invisible as Pepe and Ramos dominated the game.
Still, Villarreal cut the lead thanks to a great goal by Mario. Coentrao was caught a bit out of position and the Villarreal defender delivered a shot which smply could not be stopped by Diego López. This Villarreal goal was a punishment for the team, because los blancos simply didn't want to do much in this game after they scored the second goal.
The first half concluded with that narrow 2-1 lead that needed to be increased during the second half in order to ensure the three points.
Fàbio Coentrao did not play during the second half, continuing with the left-back curse. Álvaro Arbeloa spent the whole half time warming up and replaced him on that left side of the defense as soon as the second half started.
Again, the team needed to wake up a bit after probably taking those three points for granted.Especially Luka Modric, who completed a sub par game for the first time of the season. Ángel Di María wasn't inspired either and turned the ball over too much even when there was no need to risk the ball.
Dani Carvajal could've put the nail on Villarreal's coffin with an assist to Karim Benzema on the 55th minute but he decided to go for the shot instead. It was not easy to score from that spot with his right foot, so his shot obviously went wide. A couple of minutes later, Benzema was fouled inside the box -once again- but the referee decided not to call it.
It's true that Villarreal didn't have a good scoring chance during the first 15 minutes of the second half, but Real Madrid couldn't find the way to increase the 2-1 lead until Jesé scored another wonderful golazo off a good combination with Ángel Di María. This Big Flow kid is for real. Gio Dos Santos left his mark on this game shortly after with an outstanding free-kick goal to cut Real's lead to 3-2.
Carlo Ancelotti then introduced Xabi Alonso, because the three points were not in the pocket just yet with more than 20 minutes to play. Two questionable non-calls and also a pair of Villarreal golazos prevented Real Madrid from enjoying an easy finish for this Liga BBVA game.
But Karim Benzema had something to say. He scored his second goal and Real's fourth off a quick counterattack driven by Sergio Ramos and Jesé on the 30th minute. With 15 minutes to play and Villarreal two goals away from the scoring the equalizer, Real were finally in total control of the game.
Even Luka Modric started playing a lot better and managed to round-up a decent performance after his mediocre first half.
The match ended quite calmly as Ancelotti's men secured the fourth goal and Villarreal probably thought they already did enough by scoring two goals at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Bad news are that Coentrao and Marcelo had to leave the game. Let's wait to see what they have.
Real Madrid will now visit the Vicente Calderón to get the best out of the 3-0 lead in that Copa del Rey Semifinal. If everything goes as expected, it should not be hard to get the ticket to the Final, where another Clásico will be played...