LaLiga Santander leaders Real Madrid are set to host reigning Europa League champions Villarreal at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday night.
Los Blancos have dropped just two points so far this season and, since their 3-3 draw with Levante back in August, they have gone on a five-game winning run in all competitions.
Carlo Ancelotti will not have Dani Ceballos, Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy at his disposal, while Marcelo and Toni Kroos are expected to be sidelined through injuries, too.
After being rested in Wednesday’s game against Real Mallorca, Luka Modric and Casemiro are expected to return to the starting line-up, where they could feature alongside either Fede Valverde or Marco Asensio, who netted a hat-trick in midweek.
Meanwhile, Villarreal star Gerard Moreno, back-up forward Dani Raba and winger Samu Chukwueze are all expected to be sidelined for Unai Emery’s side.
Villarreal registered their first win of the LaLiga Santander season against Elche on Wednesday, following four draws in their first four matches this season.
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.
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.