Real Madrid will be looking to continue their recent resurgence when they travel to El Madrigal to play Villarreal on Saturday afternoon.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men endured a torrid start to the La Liga season as they narrowly edged out newly-promoted Cordoba on the opening weekend before catastrophically letting a two-goal lead slip before being swept aside at Real Sociedad as well as coming out second best in the Madrid derby to Atletico.
A 5-1 romp over Swiss side FC Basel in the first game of the defence of their UEFA Champions League crown stopped the rot. Deportivo La Coruna conceded eight times to a rampant Real last weekend, before they recovered from a slow start to put another five past Elche on Tuesday.
Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to full fitness from the injury that dogged him towards the end of last season and at the World Cup and has been pivotal in Los Blancos’ rejuvenation with seven goals in the last two matches.
Real will fancy chances
Real will fancy their chances here. Despite drawing on their last two visits to El Madrigal, they have won nine of the last 12 meetings between the sides and lost just twice in all 28 contests.
Both of those did come on this ground, though, and the hosts only lost four times here in La Liga last year on their way to finishing sixth. Some say they overachieved last season in qualifying for the Europa League on their return to the Spanish top flight, but they have started this one well again and their only defeat was narrow at the hands of Barcelona.
It took a late goal from substitute Sandro Ramirez to eventually sink the Yellow Submarine in that one, but they showed great character last time out on home turf. Rayo Vallecano were the visitors and took a 2-0 lead after 29 minutes, but Javier Espinosa and Mateo Musacchio drew the hosts level before a late Luciano Vietto double sealed all three points.
They didn’t do too badly in their first game back on the continent either. After falling behind at German side Borussia Monchengladbach, they battled for a hard-fought draw as Ikechukwu Uche came off the bench to equalise almost immediately.
This is usually a contest where goals are guaranteed as there have only ever been three goalless draws. The two teams both looking to make domestic strides this campaign - Real hoping for a better title challenge and Villarreal looking to establish themselves back amongst the elite.