Real Madrid are in desperate need of a win when they host Villarreal in La Liga on Saturday after recent results saw them slip 16 points behind leaders Barcelona.
Zinedine Zidane's side are currently fourth in the Primera Division and, while they have a game in hand, they find themselves uncomfortably behind both Valencia and Atletico Madrid too.
Having lost heavily to Barca in the Clasico before the turn of the year, Los Blancos kicked off 2018 with a 3-0 win over Numancia, but they have been held to draws in their subsequent fixtures.
With pressure building on Zidane to deliver, tolerance is wearing thin and they will have to start stringing a run of positive results together sooner rather than later.
|Game||Real Madrid vs Villarreal|
|Date||Saturday, January 13|
|Time||15:15 GMT / 10:15 ET|
|Stream (US only)||fuboTV (7-day free trial)|
TV CHANNEL & LIVE STREAM
The game is not being shown live on television in the United Kingdom, but Goal will be providing updates here .
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial).
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
SQUADS & TEAM NEWS
|Position||Real Madrid players|
|Goalkeepers||Navas, Casilla, Moha|
|Defenders||Theo, Carvajal, Vallejo, Nacho, Varane, Marcelo|
|Midfielders||Kroos, Isco, Casemiro, Modric, Asensio, Kovacic|
|Forwards||Ronaldo, Bale, Lucas, Mayoral|
Madrid named a 19-man squad for the second leg, with the likes of Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale rejoining the group after missing the Copa del Rey clash against Numancia mid-week. Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema are not part of the panel.
Potential Real Madrid starting XI: Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Ronaldo, Bale, Mayoral.
|Defenders||Gaspar, Alvaro, Marin, J. Costa, Rukavina, Bonera, Pau|
|Midfielders||Cheryshev, Fornals, Castillejo, Trigueros, Rodrigo, Ramiro, Raba|
|Forwards||Bacca, Enes Unal|
Victor Ruiz is suspended for the game, while Roberto Soriano, Nicola Sansone, Ruben Semedo, Bruno and Andres Fernandez are all out of contention due to injuries.
Former AC Milan striker Carlos Bacca is expected to lead the attack.
Potential Numancia starting XI: Asenjo; Gaspar, Costa, Marin, Alvaro; Castillejo, Trigueros, Raba, Fornals; Bacca, Unal.
BETTING & MATCH ODDS
Real Madrid are favourites to win at 2/9 according to dabblebet , with Villarreal priced at 10/1. A draw between the teams is considered an 11/2 bet.
Madrid may have booked their place in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals on Wednesday, but the fact that they drew 2-2 with Numancia at home was far from acceptable.
Zidane's men have not been as defensively tight this season and late goals have become a depressingly familiar experience for fans to endure during the current campaign.
However, despite the obvious frailties at the back, as well as the patchy form of stars such as Ronaldo, the Blancos bosshas insisted that thing are not as bad as they seem in the capital.
With Champions League action resuming next month, Zidane and his charges will have to start showing that on the pitch, beginning against Villarreal in front of the home faithful.
Indeed, with a relatively kind run of games to come, failure to do so will surely not be tolerated.