Real Madrid will play their first La Liga game of 2023 at the El Madrigal on Saturday (January 7) against Villarreal, hoping to keep the heat on leaders Barcelona. With 38 points from 15 games, the reigning champions are behind the Blaugrana on goal difference, with the latter’s 1-1 draw with Espanyol allowing Los Blancos to close the gap.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side started the New Year with a 1-0 defeat of Cacereno in the Round of 32 of the Copa Del Rey, courtesy of Rodrygo’s 69th-minute winner. It was their third straight win across competitions and would them in good stead ahead of a daunting clash with a bogey team.
Villarreal, meanwhile, are slowly adjusting to life without Unai Emery, who left the club for Aston Villa in October. Following his departure, the Yellow Submarine faltered, failing to win four games across competitions. However, five wins from their last five games have restored a semblance of normalcy.
Three of them came in the Copa Del Rey, including in their latest outing on Tuesday — a 5-1 demolition of Cartagena in the third round.
Villarreal have been a thorn in Real Madrid’s flesh in recent years, holding them to several draws. The hosts are also riding a five-game winning streak.
Los Blancos run the risk of dropping points against the Yellow Submarine again, and a high-scoring draw could ensue.
Prediction: Villarreal 2-2 Real Madrid
This match will start from 8:45 pm
This match will take place on 7 January, 2023
Villarreal will be missing Giovani Lo Celso on Saturday afternoon due to a hamstring problem, while Francis Coquelin is also a major doubt for the home side here.
There will be changes to the side that started in the Copa del Rey on Tuesday, with Juan Foyth, Etienne Capoue, Samuel Chukwueze, Dani Parejo, Pau Torres, Alberto Moreno and Yeremi Pino all set to return.
However, there will be no Geronimo Rulli, who is on the verge of making the move to Ajax.
As a result, Pepe Reina is set to feature between the sticks for just the second time in La Liga this season.
As for Real Madrid, Mariano Diaz is again absent with an ankle issue, while Dani Carvajal is also out due to a minor issue, so Lucas Vazquez is in line to start at right-back, with Alvaro Odriozola also out of the squad.
There had been some fears over Thibaut Courtois’s availability, but the Belgium international is fit to start in goal for the Spanish and European champions.
Reina; Femenia, Foyth, P Torres, Moreno; Capoue, Parejo; Chukwueze, Baena, Pino; Danjuma
Courtois; Vazquez, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Modric, Tchouameni, Kroos; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius
Tip 1 – Result: Draw
Tip 2 – Goals over/under 2.5: Over 2.5
Tip 3 – Both teams to score: Yes
Our analysis of all available data, including recent performances and player stats, suggests the most likely outcome of this match is a Real Madrid win with a probability of 49.72%. A win for Villarreal has a probability of 26.36% and a draw has a probability of 23.9%.
The most likely scoreline for a Real Madrid win is 1-2 with a probability of 9.58%. The next most likely scorelines for that outcome are 0-1 (9.54%) and 0-2 (8.14%). The likeliest Villarreal win is 2-1 (6.62%), while for a drawn scoreline it is 1-1 (11.23%).
Villarreal vs Real Madrid a great match to watch, Villarreal Will Win.