Over the last few years a trip to Villarreal and the Estadio de la Cerámica have meant dropped points. Carlo Ancelotti recognized the threat of the yellow submarine and played his strongest line-up, with the exception of Carvajal who was injured. Instead of Lucas Vazquez plugging that hole, Eder Militao was asked to play right back and Toni Rudiger entered the line-up as Alaba’s partner at center back. The strong line-up was not enough and ultimately Madrid lost the match, potentially giving up more ground to rivals Barcelona.
Full match ratings below:
Thibaut Courtois—8.5: Superb kick save on Yeremy Pino after the Spanish winger broke free in the box. Actually made the save on Pino’s goal, but it was deflected in by the retreating Mendy. Made 3 saves total, all from inside the box.
Eder Militao—6: Most effective he has been in the attacking third while playing the right back position since joining Real Madrid. Combined with Modric and Benzema via quick one-two interchanges that broke Villarreal lines. Found himself through 1 on 1 with Reina after a Benzema combination, but fluffed the chance.
Toni Rudiger—5: Rough start to the match with three poor mishaps or giveaways within the opening two minutes. Improved as the game wore-on and never lacked intensity. Resolute in his 1 v 1 defense and physical menace, always putting a body on a Villarreal player.
David Alaba—4: Had a tough time deciding how best to defend Gerard Moreno’s movement. Often opted to step out and break the defensive shape in attempt to apply pressure and hope his teammates collapsed behind him. Gave away a penalty after slipping inside the box and Foyth passed the ball against his hand.
Ferland Mendy—3: Awful giveaway right at the start of the second half which Villarreal capitalized on and punished the Frenchman by opening the scoring.
Tchouameni—5: Played a lovely flick pass over the top to Vinicius that deflected off of Foyth’s hand and led to a penalty. Otherwise was very quiet and failed to make an impact defensively.
Toni Kroos—6: Looked more like a double-pivot with Tchouameni as Kroos was very deep to pick up the ball and stayed in that position after Madrid pushed forward. Nearly scored from a set-piece in the second half. Played some lovely diagonal passes to Lucas Vazquez and Eder Militao.
Luka Modric—6: The one man in the opening 45 minutes that was able to slow down play and give control to Real Madrid.
Fede Valverde—4: Very quiet game where he was forced to play mostly as a wing back in the first half due to Villarreal’s on-ball dominance. Did manage one dangerous cross that Benzema latched on to and fed Vini for a 1 v 1.
Vinicius Junior—5.5: Missed a big chance in the first half after he was slipped through by a Benzema delicate header. His pressing angles in the second half, when Madrid were chasing the game, were ineffectual and hurt the team — making it easy for Villarreal to play through Madrid’s lines. Tried to make things happen in the final third, but it never came together for him.
Karim Benzema—6: Quietly getting back to his best passing game. A number of one touch passes that opened up the field and freed guys like Militao and Vinicius. Scored the penalty kick after missing a big chance in a play that prefaced the penalty.
Lucas Vazquez—6: Consistent outlet on the right wing as Madrid chased the game.
Rodrygo Goes—6: Played as a #10, so the team would have a creative outlet in the middle but did not see enough of the ball. Connected with a Valverde cross which he re-directed past Reina, but nobody was there to finish.
Eduardo Camavinga—6: Managed 1 key pass, but had a few poor dribbling decisions and some reckless challenges.
Marco Asensio—N/A: Late substitution with no real impact.