MX23RW : Saturday, January 19 23:20:50
Jan 3, 2019 at 8.30pm UK at ​Estadio de la Cerámica (Villarreal)
Attendance: 19,903
Villarreal
2-2
Real Madrid
Cazorla (4', 82')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Benzema (7'), Varane (20')

How Real Madrid could line up against Villarreal

Sports Mole takes a look at how Real Madrid could line up in Thursday's La Liga clash with Villarreal.

Villarreal and Real Madrid will lock horns at the Estadio de la Ceramica on Thursday night in the first La Liga game of 2019.

The contest was initially due to take place before the winter break in Spain, but Real's involvement in the Club World Cup meant that it had to be rescheduled before La Liga officially starts again this weekend.

Los Blancos will enter the match in fourth position in La Liga, eight points off leaders Barcelona with a game in hand.

The European champions have already suffered five league defeats this season but have been victorious in five of their last six in Spain's top flight, while they have not conceded in their last three.

Here, Sports Mole looks at how Madrid could line up against a Villarreal team who are currently in the relegation zone following a poor first half to the 2018-19 campaign.


POSS RM XI vs. VIL

Out: Mariano Diaz (back)
Doubtful: Marco Asensio (thigh), Nacho (knee)

Mariano Diaz will definitely miss the match with a back problem. A thigh injury is expected to rule Marco Asensio out, meanwhile, which harms Santiago Solari's options in the final third of the field.

Casemiro returned from an ankle problem during the Club World Cup, but Marcos Llorente's excellent form in the middle of the park should see the Spaniard continue alongside Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.

Lucas Vazquez is expected to keep his spot in the final third after showing some impressive form in recent weeks, meanwhile, with the Spaniard seemingly ahead of the likes of Isco.

Solari will be looking for more from Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale in the second half of the 2018-19 campaign as the pair have just 10 La Liga goals between them this season.

Madrid will be able to send their first-choice back four onto the field against Villarreal, with Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Marcelo all fit and available.

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Gareth Bale after scoring for Real Madrid against Kashima Antlers in FIFA Club World Cup on December 19, 2018.
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona19134253203343
2Atletico MadridAtletico20118130131741
3Real Madrid2011363024636
4Sevilla209653122933
5AlavesAlaves209562223-132
6Getafe208752516931
7Valencia2051141918126
8Real Betis197572223-126
9Real Sociedad197482322125
10GironaGirona195952123-224
11Espanyol197392127-624
12Levante196583035-523
13Athletic Bilbao1941052025-522
14EibarEibar195772128-722
15Leganes195771721-422
16Real Valladolid195771721-422
17Celta Vigo205693234-221
18Rayo Vallecano1954102234-1219
19Villarreal193882025-517
20Huesca2025131739-2211

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