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Villarreal vs Real Madrid, La Liga 2018: Match Preview, Injuries/Suspensions, Potential XIs, Prediction

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The final match of the 2017/18 La Liga campaign.

Real Madrid v Villarreal - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Match Preview

The final match of the La Liga season is upon us. After playing their final home match of the season last weekend, they make their final road trip in La Liga to take on Villarreal. Villarreal sit currently in 5th with 60 points on the season. They are coming off a 4-2 win over Deportivo last Saturday.

Real Madrid still remain in 3rd, still only 3 points separating them from Atlético in 2nd. With a Real win and an Atlético loss on Sunday against Eibar, Los Blancos would take the 2nd spot with the tiebreaker. Because they drew in both Madrid Derbies this season, it would be based on goal differential in which Real has a higher differential. But, with a Champions League for next season spot already secured, I doubt their really worried about where they actually finish after Sunday. Real are coming off a 6-0 thrashing off Celta Vigo last weekend at the Bernabéu.

The last match these two clubs faced off in was back in January. It was a 1-0 Real Madrid loss at the Bernabéu, with Pablo Fornals scoring late in the 87th minute.

This is the very last match Real will play before taking part in next Saturday’s Champions League Final against Liverpool. All sights are set on Kyiv, but first Real must make the trip to Villarreal and wrap up the La Liga season.

Injuries/Suspensions

Some absolutely uplifting news, both Cristiano Ronaldo and Dani Carvajal are back in training and will be ready for the Champions League Final. It is still unclear whether or not they will take part in any form against Villarreal, but surely will against Liverpool.

Villarreal are without Bruno Soriano and Ramiro Guerra.

Potential XIs

Real Madrid

Casilla; Achraf, Vallejo, Nacho, Theo; Llorente, Kovacic, Ceballos; Vasquez, Asensio, Mayoral

With the Champions League Final just about a week away, Zidane is not going to want to risk any of his starters in an otherwise meaningless match against Villarreal. There’s only a few questions about who Zidane is going to feature on Saturday, one of those being how he incorporates, if at all, Carvajal and Ronaldo. I don’t see either starting or playing most of the match, but it’s possible both get minutes so they don’t go in cold against Liverpool after coming off injuries. Both could certainly come on as substitutes in the second half just to get back in action before playing in the biggest match of the season on the 26th.

The other question is what happens with Gareth Bale. After really impressing last weekend against Celta, he’s made a serious case for starting in the Champions League Final. However, if Bale starts tomorrow, the likelihood of him starting against Liverpool are slim unless he dominates again against Villarreal. If he does start, the change to this predicted lineup would be to sit one of Llorente and Ceballos and swap them for Vasquez. Bale would then start in his usual place on the wing.

Villarreal

Asenjo; Mario, Gonzalez, Ruiz, Costa; Hernandez, Trigueros, Castillejo, Cheryshev, Fornals; Bacca

Prediction

4-3 Real Madrid-Villarreal

With most of the squad resting, Real will be vulnerable and not truly invested in this match. This is a match to get the younger players some more experience and minutes for the final time this season. If Bale does indeed start, Real’s chances will be much greater if he puts a performance on as he did last weekend against Celta. And, of course, if Cristiano does get some minutes he will have an affect on the match somehow.

With this match not meaning too much, it should be fun to watch some of the youngsters get their playtime in and get a better understanding of what they are truly made of. And it’s always fun to see people overreact on social media when some of them don’t perform as expected.

With this being the last La Liga match of the season, I’d like to say it’s been a true honor to preview this club’s matches all season. While this season has had it’s series of ups and downs, the important thing is this team is competing for yet another European championship and will be in the Champions League again next season.

As we bid farewell to the 2017/18 La Liga season, I look forward to next weekend when we will be covering the Champions League Final and the chance for Real Madrid to three-peat and the chance to achieve the Decimotercera.