A big match awaited Madrid on Saturday, away to Unai Emery’s Villarreal. Both sides had their chances to score, but it was Madrid who will feel it is two points missed. From an xG perspective, Real Madrid produced a 2.11 xG while Villarreal only mustered 0.46. There were multiple heart in mouth moments for Los Blancos, with Marcelo continually being exploited by Samu Chukwueze in the first half. The true man of the match was Villarreal goalkeeper, Geronimo Rulli, who prevented two great Bale opportunities from going in and saved a 1 v 1 against Vinicius Junior. Luka Jovic’s luck ran out long ago, with the Serbian hitting the cross bar in the 90th minute. Carlo Ancelotti will have to settle at the point and now move the team’s focus to PSG. Full match player ratings below:
Thibaut Courtois—7.5: Only had 2 saves to make, but did brilliantly to come out and deny Pervis Estupinian on a 1 v 1 opportunity late in the second half. Dealt well with a terrible mis-clearance from Marcelo which nearly resulted in an own goal.
Dani Carvajal—6: Won nearly all his 50/50 duels (6 out of 7) and finished the match with a backline high of 5 completed tackles. Offensively was poor — too many crosses out of bounds or to a space with no target.
Eder Militao—9: An astounding 11 clearances in this game (nearly 4x anyone else on the pitch). Bodied Danjuma in a critical 1 v 1 defensive play inside the box. Coming into form ahead of the PSG match.
David Alaba—7: Had the difficulty of defending on the same side as Marcelo and got caught diving in on Chukwueze on a few occasions. Otherwise, was foot perfect, and came to the rescue by putting his body on the line to make a number of blocks on Villarreal shots.
Marcelo—2: Dribbled past 4 times by Chukwueze in the first half alone. Marcelo was a clear liability yet played 82 minutes. The shape and the team improved in the second half, which denied space to Chukwueze to take Marcelo on 1 v 1.
Casemiro—8: Earned a team high of 6 completed tackles and was crucial in breaking up play and denying Villarreal on the counter. Was a crucial piece of Madrid’s defending today along with Eder Militao.
Fede Valverde—6.5: Could not replicate his performance from last week. It wasn’t a poor performance, but there were moments when Fede got on the ball where he could have pushed on and carried the ball forward more — taking advantage of his ability to carry the ball and progress play over large stretches of the pitch in a short time frame.
Toni Kroos—7: Managed 3 key passes, completed 14 of 16 long balls, and won all of his aerial duels. Had more control of the game in the second half, but it was not enough to secure the 3 points.
Vinicius Junior—8: Villarreal took turns trying to physically man-handle Vinicius, but it still could not stop the Brazilian. 3 key passes, 2 completed dribbles, and was fouled a team high of 5 times. Did have a 1 v 1 opportunity against Rulli which may keep him up tonight — a left footed shot inside that failed to get past the goalkeeper.
Marco Asensio—6: Was lucky not to see red in the first half. Managed one good shooting opportunity cutting in from the right on his left foot, but could not replicate his goal from last weekend.
Gareth Bale—6.5: Played as a striker and had a very quiet first half, but still found himself in goal-scoring positions. Missed a 1 v 1 in the first half, and then later in the match, missed two good opportunities when played through on goal. Bale himself, amassed an xG of 0.89 out of Real Madrid’s total of 2.12. He got in the right spots and made runs off the backline, just couldn’t find the back of the net.
Luka Jovic—5: Was completely anonymous until the 90th minute where Jovic was played through with space to attack goal. Rulli came off his line to try and deny Jovic a straight shot on goal, but the Serbian pulled off a gorgeous chip over the keeper but was denied by the crossbar. He did everything right, but the ball just needed to drop an inch lower. Luke Jovic remains cursed. He may not have the mentality for Real Madrid, but the talent is there. If it can ever be found and utilized in this current Real Madrid team and current Real Madrid system is another question, but he has the talent to play for the club.
Eden Hazard—6.5: Only had a few minutes to make an impact and was fairly quiet while on the pitch, but did set up the play to free Jovic for the chip.
Rodrygo Goes—5: Ancelotti was likely looking for a spark and some natural width on the right with the Asensio substitution, but Rodrygo failed to get into the match.
Nacho—N/A: Replaced Marcelo late in the match.