Real Madrid go into the penultimate match of the LaLiga season against Villarreal at the Di Stefano on Thursday. Real have a chance to clinch the title with a win against El Submarino Amarillo. A draw would also suffice if Barcelona drop points against Osasuna.
Real look to continue their win streak since the restart. Villarreal are in good form themselves, having won six of their nine matches since the season’s resumption and taking points in seven of them. They currently sit fifth in the league table.
These two clubs met all the way back in September at La Cerámica in a 2-2 draw. They’ve come a long way since then with both clubs being in the top five.
Given with what’s at stake for Real on Thursday, and even with one match left, this is easily the most important match of the season. Real will be looking to wrap up the title at their temporary home.
Real Madrid will still be without Marcelo due to injury. James is being left out of the squad. Luka Jović, meanwhile, is back in the squad after testing negative in three coronavirus tests. Nacho is also back in the squad after injury.
Villarreal will be without forward Carlos Bacca and defender Ramiro Funes Mori due to injuries. They will also be without goalkeeper Mariano Barbosa due to injury.
Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Asensio, Hazard, Benzema
It’s become a real guessing game for who Zidane starts up top with the only sure starter being Karim Benzema lately. Eden Hazard did not feature against Granada; if he is fully healthy he will likely start in place of Isco who started on the left side Monday.
Asensio could be given a chance on the right after Fede Valverde started there against Granada. It’ll be interesting to see what curveballs Zidane throws against Villarreal in this important match.
Asenjo; Peña, Albiol, Torres, Moreno; Chukuwueze, Anguissa, Iborra, Cazorla; Moreno, Alcácer
Real Madrid—Villarreal 2-1
This will be a tough matchup for Real Madrid in attempting to clinch the Spanish title on Thursday. Villarreal is always a big opponent and they are playing good football. Real will also be up against every Madridista’s favorite referee, Alejandro Hernández Hernández.
The last 20-30 minutes of the Granada match were high-stress, but Courtois and the impeccable defense pulled through. Los Blancos will want to tighten things up and not put so much pressure on the defense for such an extended period of time.
Villarreal are coming off a loss to Sociedad that they will be looking to redeem. They are nine points trailing Getafe, so top four is mathematically impossible. This will be a big match for Santi Cazorla, who may be nearing the end of his Villarreal career with rumors of him moving to Qatar next season.
This will likely be one of the most nerve-wracking matches this season given the stakes. It will be a nail biter until the final whistle blows no matter what the outcome is. But, these are matches that show why we love football as Real look to hopefully clinch their 34th league title and their first since the 2016-17 season.