Real Madrid Los Blancos want to respond after Valladolid draw
It hasn’t been an easy summer for Real Madrid. From their underwhelming pre-season, which was highlighted by the 7-3 defeat to Atletico Madrid in New Jersey, to their unusual activity in the transfer market, spending heavily but not on starting level players, to the doubts that they’ve come into the new season with, things have not been ideal.
Los Blancos kicked off the new season with a 3-1 win against Celta Vigo at Balaidos, but then they stumbled at home to Real Valladolid, drawing 1-1. What is clear is that the memories from the dismal 2018/19 campaign are still there in the minds of the supporters.
As such, Madrid are coming into Sunday night’s game at the Estadio de la Ceramica with the knowledge that they need to secure all three points. Their last two campaigns in LaLiga Santander have been dreadful, and they will have their work cut out to keep the pace with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the top.
The absence of Eden Hazard for the match, one of Madrid‘s nine players to have picked up an injury this summer, leads to a starting line-up that was tested out a little in pre-season: Luka Jovic partnering Karim Benzema in attack, which will once again penalise Vinicius Junior, as has been the case since Zinedine Zidane‘s return. Luka Modric, meanwhile, is set to return after his suspension, while Gareth Bale will retain his place in the XI.
Villarreal, for their part, are seeking their first win of the season. They opened their season with an incredible 4-4 draw at home to Granada before losing 2-1 away to Levante, so securing a victory before the international break would do their confidence some good. The Yellow Submarine may have started the campaign badly, but the group are confident that they will be able to quickly turn things around. That is why they don’t fear Madrid and they hope to tighten up in the back and frustrate Los Blancos, who usually suffer when they come to La Ceramica. In fact, of the last seven trips Madrid have made to Villarreal, five have ended in a draw.
However, as easy as it is to say, Villarreal making their defence more impenetrable is not going to be an easy task. They have conceded six goals in two games, which has come following a summer in which they have looked to address their woes at the back: Alberto Moreno came in, along with Ruben Pena, Raul Albiol and Pau Torres, with the latter returning from a successful loan spell at Malaga. Andres Fernandez is now the No.1 ahead of Sergio Asenjo, too. Javi Calleja will be unable to select Alberto Moreno for a while, though, as the left-back will be out injured for the next two months.
In attack, it remains to be seen whether Javi Ontiveros or Moi Gomez will be the No.10 in the three behind Gerard Moreno, with Karl Toko Ekambi and Samu Chukwueze on the wings. Calleja will be hoping that the speed of Ekambi and Chukwueze will cause problems for the Madrid defence.