Real Madrid

Real Madrid predicted lineup vs Villarreal - La Liga

Grey Whitebloom
Carlo Ancelotti has never lost in five appearances against Villarreal
Carlo Ancelotti has never lost in five appearances against Villarreal / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Real Madrid travel to Villarreal's Estadio de la Ceramica from atop La Liga's table on Saturday afternoon.

Carlo Ancelotti has remained unflinchingly faithful to an XI that emerged as Real Madrid's first-choice in October. Yet, injuries have finally penetrated more than one member of a lineup that frequently picked itself.

Here's the tweaked set up Ancelotti may be forced to deploy.

Real Madrid predicted lineup vs Villarreal - La Liga

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Thibaut Courtois (GK) - Madrid's and Belgium's number one has never faced a club more times without losing than his 11 games unbeaten against Villarreal (W6 D5).

Dani Carvajal (RB) - Madrid's newly injury-prone fullback made a winning return against Granada last weekend after five games on the sidelines.

Eder Militao (CB) - Hardly the most adventurous centre back, Militao has contributed to two goals in his last two La Liga games, as many as in his previous 49 in the competition.

David Alaba (CB) - Across his sixty matches at Bayern Munich, Ancelotti deliberately rested Alaba (rather than losing him to injury) just twice. That figure has not increased this term.

Marcelo (LB) - Despite his status as club captain, Marcelo is emphatically a stand-in while Ferland Mendy recovers from injury.

2. Midfielders

Luka Modric (CM) - The ultimate defier of Father Time, Modric is enjoying one of the best seasons of his storied career during a campaign in which Ancelotti has already described him as 'spectacular' and 'extraordinary' in the same breath.

Casemiro (CM) - Having sat out Madrid's victory over Granada last weekend, the volante - a Brazilian term for defensive midfielder, literally 'steering wheel' - is expected to have recovered from his bout of gastroenteritis.

Toni Kroos (CM) - No player in Spain's top flight with more than a smattering of minutes averages more passes into the final third than Madrid's ultimate source of ball progression (and only Thiago Alcantara can better him in Europe).

3. Forwards

Marco Asensio (RW) - Behind the otherworldly scoring campaigns enjoyed by Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior, Marco Asensio is the only other Madrid man with more than two La Liga goals this term (six).

Luka Jovic (ST) - Overlooked in favour of Isco for that central striker role in the absence of Benzema last weekend, the scarcely used forward may be given a rare start after replacing the midfielder before Madrid finally broke the deadlock against Granada.

Vinicius Junior (LW) - This season alone, the 21-year-old has treble the number of La Liga goals (12) Eden Hazard can boast (four) since the Belgian joined the club in 2019.

You can read 90min's preview of Villarreal vs Real Madrid here.