A lot is on the line when Real Madrid welcomes Villarreal to the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano on July 16, 2020.
The Los Blancos will be crowned as the champions of Spain if they beat Villarreal or if Barcelona draws or loses its next assignment. On the other hand, Villarreal can clinch a Europa League slot if they can salvage a point and get help from the teams beneath them in the table.
Entering matchday 37, Real Madrid sits on top of the La Liga standings with a total of 83 points, four points ahead of rivals Barcelona. On the other hand, Villarreal is 5th in the La Liga table with 57 points. They are three points ahead of Getafe and Real Sociedad in the team standings.
Given Real Madrid’s head to head advantage over Barcelona, the capital giants need only two more points to secure the La Liga title and that means they can finish the season with draws against Villarreal and Leganes to be crowned as the Spanish champions but they will not take any chances given that Barca can still theoretically catch up, but with the help of other teams which is unlikely.
Ferland Mendy and Karim Benzema scored the goals in their last match against Granada as Zidane’s boys continued their march to their second La Liga title since 2012. What is interesting here though is that Madrid has won just once in their last five league matches against Villarreal and they played to a draw in their meeting last September.
Karim Benzema leads Real Madrid with a total of 19 goals scored this season. Sergio Ramos is the second top scorer with a total of 10 goals on the year while Casemiro has netted four times this term. Benzema also leads the team with eight assists while Luka Modric has six assists and three goals scored. Toni Kroos has also contributed four goals and five assists for the Los Blancos.
Real Madrid is the #1 defensive team in Spain as they lead the league in goals conceded with just a total of 22 this season. They are also the second-best scoring team in the league with a total of 66 goals scored and are the second-best passing team in the La Liga with a total of 48 assists this year. Real Madrid’s goal difference of 44 is the best overall in the league this season.
Odds from BetOnline as of 07/15/2020
Villarreal was in poor form before the pandemic struck but the Yellow Submarine has been in good form since the restart despite losing to Barcelona and Real Sociedad in two of their last three matches. They can no longer finish inside the Top 4 with fourth-place Sevilla nine points ahead with only three matches left to play but they are in control of 5th place and a return to the Europa League is in sight.
With a record of 17-6-13 and 57 points, they are three points up on sixth place Getafe and seventh-seeded Real Sociedad. If this team finishes in 5th place, that would be a huge accomplishment already as this team placed only 14th in the previous season. Even if they drop this match against Real Madrid, a home fixture against Eibar this weekend is something to look forward to.
Gerard Moreno leads the team with a total of 16 goals scored on the year. Santi Carzola has scored 11 goals while Karl Toko Ekambi has found the back of the net six times. Carzola leads the team with a total of 8 assists this term while Moreno has five assists as well. Manu Trigueroshas four assists and two goals scored.
Villarreal is the 3rd best scoring team in La Liga with a total of 58 goals scored. They are 10th in the league in defense with a total of 47 goals conceded this season. They are tied for 4th in assists with a total of 35 on the year. Villarreal’s goal difference of +11 is 5th overall in Spain.
The Los Blancos have the second-best home record in Spain with their unbeaten 14-4-0 mark and have earned a total of 46 points from their home matches. On the other hand, Villarreal has a road record of 9-1-8 with 28 points and they are the fourth-best away club in the Spanish La Liga. Real Madrid has dominated the head to head matchup between these two teams with a record of 24-13-4 advantage in a total of 41 matches played. However, these teams played to a 2-2 draw in their reverse fixture last September 2019.
Real Madrid will play Villarreal without defenders Nacho and Marcelo who is still injured. Meanwhile, Luka Jovic will be forced to sit out this contest due to self-isolation after coming into contact with a friend who recently tested positive for the coronavirus. Otherwise, Zidane has a healthy squad to choose from.
We expect Eden Hazard and Marcelo Asensio to feature in this contest and they could replace Isco and Federico Valverde in Real Madrid’s starting Xi. Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Casemiro should start in the midfield in a 4-3-3 formation. Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes are also options for Zidane’s final third.
On the other hand, Ramiro Funes Mori and Carlos Bacca will not see action for Villarreal due to injury while Mariano Barbosa is suspended. However, Gerardo Moreno and Vicente Iborra are both available after serving one-game suspensions. Paco Alcacer is also ready to play after recovering from his injury. The changes that could happen for Villarreal include Mario Gaspar and Samuel Chukwueze possibly making it to the starting unit.
Villarreal will be boosted by key players returning from injury and they are definitely capable of giving Real Madrid a good fight here. However, Zidane’s men have been in fine form as of late and with the title in their grasp, I don’t think they will waste any time securing it with one match to spare.
Prediction: Real Madrid (-222)
Odds from BetOnline as of 07/15/2020
These teams are the #2 and #3 scoring sides in the league this season and they are playing very well since the restart. These teams have combined to score a total of 31 goals in their last 10 head to head meetings and they have combined to score 13 goals in their last three head to head encounters. I like these teams to score over 2.5 goals.
Prediction: Over 2.5 Goals (-175) at Bet365 as of 07/15/2020