Villarreal’s was a game between the wars, after the euphoria of the Cup qualification at the Camp Nou and before the rush of adrenaline to face the challenge of a Champions League quarterfinal tie compressed into seven days. A match that resulted in the first defeat that Real Madrid suffers at the Bernabéu in this League and something to correct for Chelsea’s visit: Madrid made more concessions in defense than usual . The importance of the weekly meetings and the process in which the league commitments have become have given rise to Ancelotti to try variants in his team. Against Villarreal, as he had already done against Valladolid, the Italian coach left behind the usual 4-3-3 to try a 4-2-3-1 with four attack players . The formula worked well against the Blanquivioletas, who left the Bernabéu thrashed, but not against the Yellow Submarine , in a game where the team suffered in defense: Madrid received 17 shots against, 8 of them on goal . The first of these data is his third worst record of the season. Only Barça in October and Athletic in January, in two league games, finished off more against Madrid, who once again entrusted themselves to their savior. Courtois had his busiest day of the season, with eight shots between the three sticks (the same as Celtic’s visit to the Bernabéu) and his five saves were insufficient to stop the groguet team .
Ancelotti explained his approach to the match and justified his choice in the eleven: “ Sometimes we want to have an open match. Today [por el sábado] it was much more complicated than, for example, against Valladolid. If I put four forwards it is because I think, and sometimes I am wrong, that balance is not the most important thing , ”he commented after the game in the press room. His reading was correct: between the two teams they added 35 shots , the fifth highest number of Madrid’s 46 games this season, but in none of those games was the distribution of chances so balanced. Villarreal was, in addition to the victory, the third visitor to take possession from Madrid at the Bernabéu this season(51% in favor of Villarreal), after Betis and Barcelona.