Real Madrid vs. Villarreal: Team News, Preview, Live Stream, TV Info

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IJanuary 12, 2018

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Francisco Seco/Associated Press

Real Madrid continue their La Liga campaign on Saturday afternoon, with Villarreal the visitors to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Zinedine Zidane's side were held by Celta Vigo last time out in the league and are now 16 points behind leaders Barcelona, although they have played a game less then their rivals.

Villarreal, meanwhile, head to the Spanish capital knowing a victory will move them to within a point of Los Blancos.

     

Date: Saturday, January 13

Time: 3:15 p.m. (GMT)/10:15 p.m. (ET)

TV Info: beIN Sport (U.S.)

Live Stream: fuboTVbeIN Connect (U.S.)

      

Team News

Real Madrid are still without captain Sergio Ramos, who has suffered a setback in his recovery from a calf injury, per Reuters.

Karim Benzema is also sidelined with a hip problem and is not expected back until later in January, per Marca's Pablo Polo

Villarreal will be without defender Victor Ruiz due to suspension and remain without long-term absentees Bruno Soriano, Roberto Soriano, Nicolas Sansone, Andres Fernandez and Ruben Semedo.

The visitors will also have to make do without top scorer Cedric Bakambu, who is heading to China, so will look to Carlos Bacca for goals against Madrid.

     

Preview

VIGO, SPAIN - JANUARY 07:  Zinedine Zidane the manager of Real Madrid looks on prior to the La Liga match between Celta de Vigo and Real Madrid at Estadio de Balaidos on January 7, 2018 in Vigo, Spain.  (Photo by fotopress/Getty Images)
fotopress/Getty Images

Zidane is coming under scrutiny due to Real Madrid's disappointing defence of the La Liga title, in which they are so far behind rivals Barcelona.

Real look a shadow of the side that retained the UEFA Champions League trophy in June, with key players Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema out of form while Gareth Bale has struggled with injury.

The club also appears to have lost some strength in depth after Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez moved on in the summer.

However, Zidane has said he does not plan to strengthen in the January transfer window and he trusts his current squad, per beIN Sports

Madrid have been boosted by the return to fitness of Bale, who started and scored twice in the draw against Celta. 

ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan said the Wales international looks in good shape after a lengthy spell out:

After the game, Zidane also said the team held a meeting to talk about their situation, per Corrigan.

It's therefore possible the manager may look to make changes for the Villarreal clash, but improvements will be needed after Madrid looked so jaded against Celta.

Villarreal were also held last time out in the league, when they conceded an 86th-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Deportivo La Coruna.

It was only their fourth league draw of the season and leaves them in sixth place in the table ahead of this weekend's round of fixtures.

The Yellow Submarine will also be weakened by the loss of top scorer Bakambu, who is set to join Chinese Super League side Beijing Guoan, per European football writer Andy Brassell:

However, the club have moved quickly to replace Bakambu with forward Roger Martinez, per Marca's M. A. Rodriguez.

The Colombia international was named on the bench for the Copa del Rey clash against Leganes on Wednesday but could feature at some point against Real Madrid.

Villarreal have the players to cause the hosts problems, but Zidane will demand a response from his side after a difficult spell. And with Bale back and in form, Real may just have the extra firepower to secure all three points.

Related

    Ozil Snubs Germany Boss; Arsenal Ban Him 🚷

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Ozil Snubs Germany Boss; Arsenal Ban Him 🚷

    Gill Clark
    via Bleacher Report

    Man Utd Will Want at Least £200M for Pogba

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Man Utd Will Want at Least £200M for Pogba

    Matt Jones
    via Bleacher Report

    Pep Hypes 'Next Decade' of Foden at Man City

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Pep Hypes 'Next Decade' of Foden at Man City

    Matt Jones
    via Bleacher Report

    Icardi 'Happy' to Score First League Goal of the Season

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Icardi 'Happy' to Score First League Goal of the Season

    Sempreinter
    via Sempreinter