Real Madrid - Villarreal preview: Los Blancos look to put pressure on rivals
Photo Credit: VAVEL Spain

Real Madrid are now firmly back in the title race after Barcelona’s slip-up to Valencia this past weekend. Now, Los Blancos have the chance to go top, pending other results, but need to take care of their home fixture against fourth-placed Villarreal.

Recent history

The last few matches that these two have played have seen the Yellow Submarines knick four out of a possible six points over Real Madrid. Back in December, Villarreal defeated Madrid by a 1-0 margin, thanks to a Roberto Soldado strike inside ten minutes.

Their last meeting in the Bernabeu, saw them share the spoils as Gerard Moreno leveled the match just 12 minutes after a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty. Madrid’s last win came back in September 2014 at the Camp El Madrigal thanks to goals by Luka Modric and Ronaldo.

Real’s scintillating form

Los Blancos have taken advantage of Barcelona’s struggles to put them only a point behind the Blaugrana with five matches to go. Madrid has reeled off five consecutive league wins, including a 4-0 drubbing of Sevilla and a 2-1 win at the Camp Nou, in a massive El Clasico tie that looks to have turned the tides on the season.

Their last dropped points came at the hands of Malaga, drawing 1-1 and also lost 2-0 on the road at VFL Wolfsburg in the UEFA Champions League. However, a Ronaldo hat-trick secured yet another Champions League semifinal appearance for Zinedine Zidane’s side where they’ll face Manchester City.

Champions League football the goal for Villarreal

The Yellow Submarines are currently sitting in the final Champions League spot in La Liga, six points ahead of fifth-placed Athletic Bilbao. However, their league form has been average lately, especially since they are still in the Europa League, so picking up at least a point from this pivotal match will be key.

They’ve picked up eight points from their last five games, including draws against Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. Their last game was a 2-1 loss to Rayo Vallecano. However, their European silverware aspirations are still alive after defeating Sparta Prague in the Europa League quarterfinals. They will meet Liverpool in the semifinals for a spot in the Wembley final.

CaptioVillarreal's forward Adrian celebrates after scoting with teammates during the Spanish league football match CF Rayo Vallecano - Villarreal CF at the Vallecas stadium in Madrid on April 17, 2016. CURTO DE LA TORRE/AFP/Getty Images)

Injury News

Real Madrid: Gareth Bale will miss this match due to a minor leg injury he picked up this past weekend. Zidane hopes that the Welsh winger will be available for this weekend’s tie against Rayo Vallecano. Dani Carvajal is also a doubt with a leg injury as well

Villarreal: Tomas Pina is questionable with a knee injury.