RCD MALLORCA

V

REAL MADRID

Iberostar Estadi, Palma de Mallorca

Sunday, October 28, 20:30 GMT

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The midweek trip to Signal Iduna Park did not turn out to be any different than Madrid’s usual overtures on  German soil.  Yet another defeat only extended the record of having managed only one victory in twenty four away attempts. Jose Mourinho would expect his men to bounce back straight away in so far as the scene on the domestic front is concerned, Madrid have no option but to keep on pursuing the league leaders with the tenacity that was witnessed the other way round last season. A tough trip to Rayo Vallecano for Barcelona, Madrid’s local rivals, could mean they have a chance of closing in on the gap, granted they pick up the three points.

Real Mallorca on the other hand would look to recover from a spell of three consecutive defeats.  To put it in perspective Los Bermellones could not have had a worse time to play Spanish champions but would take heart from the fact that they have won last six of their seven games at the Iberostar Stadium and that Madrid haven’t been at their strongest away from home this season.

Team News And Tactical Brief

RCD Mallorca

Manager Joaquín Caparrós has an injury headache up his sleeve with influential captain Jose Nunes and left back Antonio Lopez out due to knee injuries. Plugging holes in the defense could become a whole new ball game for Mallorca especially with an attacking quartet of the prowess of Real Madrid’s. Also missing are defensive midfielders Javi Marquez and Joao Victor, due to ankle and knee injuries respectively. The manager will however welcome winger Emilio Nsue back from suspension.

Andreu Fontas, on loan from Barcelona, is in contention to start the game. He could however feature in defensive midfield role pertaining to Mallorca’s preferred formation of 4-4-2 and his relative comfort on the ball for a defender. Another La Masia graduate, Giovani Dos Santos could start the game instead of Víctor Casadesús after his impressive display in the away defeat at Seville, and partner Israeli striker Tomer Hemed who has been in splendid form, netting six goals so far. Defensive absentees would mean a start for Pedro Geromel even after his not very impressive display at Seville. Pedro Bigas might start in defence as well, despite his recent starts coming in from midfield.

RCD Mallorca Probable Line-Up (4-4-2): Aouate; Navarro, Geromel, Conceica, Bigas; Pereira, Pina, Fontas, Nsue; Hemed, Dos Santos

Real Madrid

Real Madrid will look to bounce back from the midweek defeat to Borussia Dortmund straight away. The problems in the defence department are only likely to continue for the foreseeable future, which could finally mean a start for Castilla Graduate Nacho Fernandez, after makeshift left-back Michael Essien failed to live up to the billing. The defence would comprise of Raphael Varane, who was impressive in the game against Dortmund, partnering Pepe in the center of defence and Sergio Ramos on the right.

In the midfield area, Real have suffered as a result of the inconsistent form of Sami Khedira. He was forced off the field due to injury and Dortmund gradually grew into the game thereafter. Michael Essien would be expected to start in a defensive midfield role, but Mourinho might just opt for Luka Modric in that role alongside Xabi Alonso. Mesut Ozil would be expected to start behind Gonzalo Higuain, with the wide men being Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria. Madrid’s wide men would look to drop deep at times to counter the four man midfield of Mallorca, while at the same time looking to stretch the inconsistent defenders out wide.  A lot might depend on their exploiting a relatively makeshift back four.

Real Madrid Probable Line-up (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Ramos, Varane, Pepe, Nacho; Alonso, Modric; Ozil, Di Maria, Ronaldo; Higuain

Key Facts

  1.  Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first hat-trick in Madrid colours against Mallorca at the Iberostar Stadium.
  2.  Özil, Di María, Khedira and Carvalho, along with manager Jose Mourinho made their debuts for Real Madrid against Mallorca at the Iberostar Stadium.
  3. Real Madrid are undefeated in 29 of their last 31 matches in La Liga.
  4. Real Madrid have scored at least 2 goals in their last 4 matches in La Liga.

Courtesy:  www.whoscored.com

Player To Watch Out For

Cristiano Ronaldo has almost been carrying Madrid on is shoulders this season, with the usual consistent performers like Casillas, Ozil and Ramos letting their standards slip at times. He scored Madrid’s goal away at Dortmund, a delightful lob and is the highest scorer in the top 5 leagues across Europe. Expect him to bang in a goal or two, as the team around him looks to find the form and consistency of last season.

Prediction

RCD Mallorca 1-2 Real Madrid

With key defenders missing, Real Mallorca are likely to face a stiff challenge in the face of an attacking quartet, and although they are likely to score a goal considering Madrid’s unusually fragile defence, Real Madrid with their quality are likely to prevail.

Blast From The Past

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET-QGJGj-HU&w=640&h=360]