Friday, August 7, 2020

Prediction: Real Madrid vs Villereal

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions, La Liga 16 Jul 2020

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Verdict: Real Madrid win and both teams to score

Best Odds: 7/4

Bookmaker: Unibet

Within touching distance of lifting the La Liga title since 2017, Real Madrid will welcome Villereal to the capital on Thursday night.

Real Madrid

Starting with the hosts, avoiding a late scare away at Granada in midweek and picking up what should be a crucial 2-1 win on their travels, Real Madrid know that three points on Thursday will be enough to see them lift the La Liga title. With Barcelona continuing to slip up since making a return from football’s enforced break, Los Blancos have only gone from strength to strength. Remarkably enjoying a nine-match winning run since returning last month, Zinedine Zidane’s men have continued to gain plenty of plaudits for their displays at the back throughout the second half of the campaign. While they may have been breached by a plucky Granada on Monday night, that was the only goal that the Spanish giants have conceded in any of their last six appearances. Looking to lift their first domestic crown since 2017 this week, French marksman Karim Benzema will be looking to end his own campaign on a high. Sat only behind Lionel Messi in the race for the Golden Boot, the 32-year-old has bagged back-to-back strikes and has recorded 19 La Liga goals this season.

Team News

Still suffering with injury issues, Madrid have confirmed that they will once again be without both Marcelo and Nacho on Thursday night.

Villereal

As for the visitors, while Villereal might have been disappointed to have seen a struggling Real Sociedad snatch a 2-1 win at the Estadio de la Cerámica earlier in the week, the Yellow Submarine have impressed throughout the second half of the campaign. Looking to ruin Los Blancos’ party and also move one step closer to securing a European return this summer, Javier Calleja’s men have lost just a pair of their last nine La Liga contests and hold a three-point buffer from slipping out of the top-six. While the midweek guests might be continuing to show some issues on home soil, Villereal have gained a reputation for their recent displays on the road. Including a thumping 3-1 win away at Europa League outfit Getafe earlier in the month, Calleja’s side have won each of their last four La Liga matchups on the road and hold the fourth-best away day record in Spain’s top-tier. Really bouncing back after what was a nightmare campaign last year, Villereal should take some solace from an eye-catching record against Los Blancos. The Yellow Submarine have lost just one of their previous five meetings against the league leaders and have lost just once in Madrid since 2016.

Team News

Along with Mariano Barbosa missing out due to suspension, Villereal will be without Ramiro Funes Mori and Carlos Bacca who are both dealing with injury issues.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Including a 2-2 draw earlier in the season, three of the last four meetings between Madrid and Villarreal have ended in a stalemate.
  • Los Blancos have won their last nine La Liga matchups on the bounce since returning from the break.
  • Villarreal have won their last four La Liga matchups on the spin and hold the fourth-best away day record in the division.
  • Thursday’s hosts have conceded just a single goal in their last six contests on the bounce.
  • Madrid striker Karim Benzema has bagged back-to-back strikes and has 19 La Liga goals this season.

Conclusion

While Madrid will rightfully be confident of lifting their first La Liga title since 2017 in midweek, there is no doubt that Villarreal will put up a tough test and look to keep up their European ambitions. With the two sides having a history for producing lively contests, Thursday’s meeting in the capital could produce a string of chances. Although we do expect a high-flying Los Blancos to come out on top, don’t be surprised to see the Yellow Submarine leave with what could be a consolation strike in Madrid.

Verdict: Real Madrid win and both teams to score

Best Odds: 7/4

Bookmaker: Unibet

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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