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Preview: Real Madrid vs. Villarreal - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Real Madrid vs. Villarreal - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's La Liga clash between Real Madrid and Villarreal, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Real Madrid will be looking to make it six straight wins in all competitions when they continue their La Liga campaign at home to Villarreal on Saturday night.

Los Blancos are currently top of the table, having picked up 16 points from their opening five matches, while Villarreal sit 11th with seven points to show from their first five league games of the season.

Match preview

Real Madrid's start to the 2021-22 season has been excellent, with the capital giants sitting top of La Liga courtesy of a record of 16 points from five matches, while they opened their Champions League group-stage campaign with a 1-0 victory away to Inter Milan earlier this month.

Carlo Ancelotti's side are actually on a run of five straight victories in all competitions, including their last four in the league, and the capital giants will enter this weekend's contest off the back of a 6-1 victory over Mallorca at the Bernabeu, with Marco Asensio scoring a brilliant hat-trick for the home side.

Real Madrid are only two points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid but sit eight points ahead of Barcelona; the Catalan giants, though, have two matches in hand and have made an unbeaten start to their domestic season despite some disappointing performances.

Los Blancos now have back-to-back home games against Villarreal and Sheriff Tiraspol in the league and Champions League respectively before the October international break, and another European victory next week would place the team in an excellent position to reach the round of 16.

Real Madrid recorded a 2-1 victory over Villarreal in the corresponding match last season, but four of the last seven La Liga meetings between the two sides have finished level.

The visitors will enter the contest off the back of a 4-1 league victory over Elche on Wednesday night, and the success was actually the team's first in Spain's top flight this term.

Indeed, Unai Emery's side had drawn their opening four La Liga fixtures of the campaign against Granada, Espanyol, Atletico and Mallorca before the impressive victory over Elche.

Like Real Madrid, Villarreal are competing in the group stages of the Champions League this season, and Emery's side opened their campaign with a 2-2 draw at home to Atalanta BC on September 14; their next clash in the European Cup will take place at Old Trafford against Manchester United next week.

Villarreal finished seventh in Spain's top flight last term, in addition to winning the Europa League, and there is no question that the squad is strong enough to enjoy another successful campaign.

The Yellow Submarine, as mentioned, have enjoyed some recent success against Real Madrid in terms of draws, but they have not beaten Los Blancos in the league since January 2018.

Real Madrid La Liga form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Real Madrid form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Villarreal La Liga form:
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • W

Villarreal form (all competitions):
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • W

Team News

Real Madrid will again be without the services of Dani Carvajal, Ferland Mendy, Gareth Bale and Dani Ceballos for this weekend's clash, while Toni Kroos and Marcelo are also unlikely to be available.

Asensio's treble against Mallorca should see him earn another start in midfield, but there will be changes from Wednesday's match, with Casemiro and Luka Modric set to return to the starting XI.

Eden Hazard is also in contention to play, having been an unused substitute against Mallorca, but Rodrygo could earn another start alongside Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior in attack.

Real Madrid's injury issues at full-back, meanwhile, should see Miguel Gutierrez continue on the left, with the versatile Nacho operating at right-back.

As for Villarreal, Gerard Moreno, Dani Raba and Samuel Chukwueze all missed out against Elche, and it is unlikely that any of the trio will be available for this contest.

As a result, Paco Alcacer could again lead the line with support from Yeremi Pino and Arnaut Groeneveld, while Manu Trigueros should feature alongside Dani Parejo and Etienne Capoue in midfield.

Alfonso Pedraza had to be substituted at the interval of Wednesday's clash with Elche, though, and his replacement in that match - Pervis Estupinan - could now come in for a start at the Bernabeu.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Nacho, Militao, Alaba, Gutierrez; Asensio, Casemiro, Modric; Vinicius, Benzema, Rodrygo

Villarreal possible starting lineup:
Asenjo; Gaspar, Mandi, P Torres, Estupinan; Parejo, Capoue, Trigueros; Groeneveld, Alcacer, Pino

We say: Real Madrid 2-1 Villarreal

This is a potential banana skin for Real Madrid, with Villarreal certainly capable of picking up a positive result. Ancelotti's side will be full of confidence due to their impressive form, though, and we are backing the capital side to put another important three points on the board here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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