Well it’s another week gone by in La Liga and we’re still discussing how Real Madrid need to win in order to maintain a top 4 spot. Returning to the Bernabeu on Saturday, they sit just one point better than last week after drawing with Celta Vigo. They’ll take on 6th place Villarreal, who sit just 4 points behind Real. Los Blancos also have Sevilla nipping at their heels, who could tie if they defeat Alaves on Sunday and Real manages to lose to Villarreal.
Now is the time for a win, as if they haven’t needed wins all season, with an opponent so close in the table. A loss would be absolutely devastating to an already disappointed Real squad. They sit 5 points behind Valencia for 3rd and 7 behind Atletico for 2nd, a loss would surely put them farther back if these two clubs win out this weekend.
Now is also the time for Cristiano Ronaldo to show up again. He’s played rather poorly thus far, at least in Liga, and needs to help his team, especially with some key injuries still.
Speaking of injuries, there’s still two key figures missing for the Villarreal match. Sergio Ramos will miss La Liga action for the second week in a row after suffering a muscle strain he sustained in training prior to the Vigo trip.
Benzema is still out as well, who also missed the Vigo match, after injuring himself in Clasico several weeks back.
Marcos Llorente is also out after injuring his shoulder against Numancia earlier this week.
Real’s squad for the match has been announced and it looks relatively similar to last weekend’s. Carvajal is the one noticeable change to the roster, as he was serving a suspension last weekend, but will return for Saturday’s match. Based on this, you’ll likely see this starting XI:
Navas, Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Isco, Bale, Ronaldo
You’ll likely see Kovacic, Vasquez, and Asensio come off the bench as substitutes.
Villarreal’s starting-XI should look similar to the one they started against Deportivo last weekend.
Barbosa, Costa, Gonzalez, Bonera, Mario; Hernandez, Castillejo, Trigueros, Raba; Bacca, Unal
3-1 Real Madrid-Villarreal
Needless to say, this is a must-win match for Real yet again. They can’t bottle a lead if they get one and they certainly cannot afford to give up more than one goal. Real should, and is, the overwhelming favorite for this match, but the record shows that this doesn’t mean much.
It would certainly be great if Gareth Bale continues his fantastic form as well. He had 2 goals last weekend against Celta Vigo that should’ve made the difference, but did not. Real’s big players, like Ronaldo, must put their best effort forth if they hope to salvage a sinking season. The stars must align at the Santiago Bernabeu and Real must finally get a win again to stay in contention for the top 4.
HOW TO WATCH, STREAM LA LIGA
Time: 16:15 CET, 10:15am EST, 07:15 am Pacific.
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain.
Available Streaming: BeIN Sports (USA), Fubo.TV (EVERY Real Madrid game with a high-quality and legal stream, click here to sign up and benefit from a summer discount for new members and Managing Madrid readers).