Real Madrid 0-0 Villarreal. An uneventful game. The reaction to the game is below. Up next: player ratings, press conference best bits and the podcast.
With nearly every result in La Liga ending in Real Madrid’s favour, this home match against the always challenging Villarreal was now all the more important. Barcelona mustered a 0-0 draw, whilst Atlético Madrid lost 1-0 to Alavés. The team selected to do the business involved a few switch arounds, as Fede Valverde appeared to be deployed as a right-back. Nacho Fernández started on the left ahead of Miguel Gutiérrez, with Marco Asensio operating as that offensive midfielder position Carlo Ancelotti has envisioned him in. Eduardo Camavinga returned to the bench alongside three Castilla players including Antonio Blanco. Eden Hazard was the biggest name to join them. Karim Benzema captained the team once more.
Frustration was rife throughout the first half for Madrid. The system appeared to break down, with multiple miscommunications and poor positioning leading to Villarreal creating a number of chances. Thibaut Courtois was required in order to bail out the lackadaisical outfield players, and the visitors actually ended up dominating the possession statistics. Justifiably so as well, as the visitors were by far the better side for the majority of the half. Vinícius Júnior picked up yet another reckless booking, highlighting an area that needs some serious attention and work in quick time. Madrid did have the odd chance through long ranged strikes, but managed next to nothing on target. They may have considered themselves lucky to go into the break goalless.
Obvious, but you're not getting production from the wing backs. Nacho and Fede pinned deep, no overloads. More onus on Rodrygo and Vinny to break lines without much help. They, along with Modric, have done OK in that regard given the circumstances.— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) September 25, 2021
Militao good coverage today.
Eduardo Camavinga was brought straight on at half-time in an attempt to install some much needed balance in the midfield in place of Rodrygo Goes. The first real chance the hosts had came as Éder Militão headed a Marco Asensio cross wide from a very good position. Karim Benzema did the same one minute later, but the game had began to turn for Real Madrid. Pau Torres tried to cease this progress, but he was unable to stretch far enough to tap the ball into an open net. Eden Hazard and Isco were introduced, but the chances had completely dried up at this point as Villarreal began to sit back and settle on the idea of a draw. Isco asked the biggest question of the goalkeeper but his shot was palmed away. Nacho made a really important challenge at the other end to stop a one on one situation, but that would be the last of the little action on show. The final score was 0-0, and the draw was enough to keep Real Madrid at the top of La Liga - although Sevilla are looming just behind with a game in hand. Happy with this result, Madridistas? Watch out for the post game coverage on your way, including the post game podcast!