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Real Madrid vs Villarreal, La Liga: Match review

Real Madrid played without intensity and only got a draw.

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

This was Real Madrid's first test to see whether Ancelotti's team had recovered from their recent slump or not,

Real Madrid played the first 45 minutes without intensity. Villarreal played better and could have scored the opening goal, but Casillas and Carvajal were between the sticks to save the deal. Real had a whole week to prepare this match and Villarreal made rotations to keep their players fresh after Thursday's Europe League match. However, Ancelotti's men could not take advantage of this and had no offensive gameplan whatsoever. Marcelino let Real Madrid play through the flanks and all Los Blancos tried to do was crossing the ball.

Luckily enough, Villarreal defender Bailly was naive enough to grab Cristiano Ronaldo inside his own box. The referee pointed to the spot and Real Madrid took the lead after the Portuguese star converted the chance. That goal fired his team up and Villarreal were forced to change their strategy to at least go after the draw. That opened up a lot of space for Real's attackers, who played much more comfortably during the last 45 minutes.

Marcelo's form should be noted. Real Madrid rely too much on his playmaking abilities to create chances, and he's delivering what's expected of a left back. His offensive contribution could be bigger, but considering that he also needs to take care of his defensive duties, Marcelo is playing one of his finest seasons as a Real Madrid player.

With 25 minutes left, Villarreal managed to score the equalizer after Varane proved his main weakness as a defender once again: he's soft. The French completed a dominant aerial performance, but his defensive play on Villarreal's goal cannot be accepted. Varane needs to improve that part of his game if he wants to become a regular any time soon.

Real Madrid needed to score one goal, so Ancelotti put Jesé in the game to try to shake things up. Bale moved to the left wing with that substitution, but that also kept Isco away from Villarreal's box. To make things worse, Ancelotti decided to take Isco out of the game and sub Illarramendi in. The Bernabéu did not understand this decision and the Italian coach was whistled quite loudly.

Real Madrid just simply did not know what to do with the ball, but Jesé had a good scoring chance after Asenjo failed to catch a cross from the left wing. The canterano missed and showed a worrying lack of confidence. That was Real Madrid's last scoring opportunity apart from a good header by Cristiano Ronaldo well in injury time.

Los Blancos will now travel to Bilbao two points ahead of FC Barcelona in the table. Overall, a frustrating draw for Real Madrid, but the team did only try hard during the last 10 minutes of the game.

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