Reigning champions Real Madrid travel to Catalonia to take on RCD Espanyol, in match day 26 of the La Liga.
Real Madrid are in superb form, having lost only 1 of their last 10 games across all competitions, while Espanyol have won only 9 games this entire season. The Catalan side are currently placed 15th on the table, with 28 points to their name while Real Madrid are at third place.
Espanyol are a mere 9 points away from the drop zone, while Real Madrid have a 2 points lead over fourth placed Valencia CF. In their first meeting this season, Real Madrid triumphed over Quique Sanchez Flores’ men at the Santiago Bernabeu with a comfortable 2-0 scoreline.
Tactics & Team News
Quique Sanchez Flores’ men have no major injuries in their squad and the former Real Madrid fullback will have a full strength squad to choose from. He is expected to set his team up in the same 4-2-3-1 formation that helped them hold Barcelona to a 1-1 draw.
There aren’t expected to be any changes to the side that started in their 0-0 draw against Deportivo de La Coruna. Diego Lopez is expected to start in goal, with Aaron Caricol, David Lopez, Oscar Duarte and Victor Sanchez making up the defence.
Esteban Granero and Carlos Sanchez will likely act as defensive midfielders, with Sergi Darder taking up a more central attacking role. Pablo Piatti and Leo Baptistao are expected to start on the wings, with Gerard Moreno leading the line for the Catalans.
Probable Starting XI(4-2-3-1): Diego Lopez; Victor Sanchez, Oscar Duarte, David Lopez, Aaron Caricol; Carlos Sanchez, Esteban Granero; Leo Baptistao, Sergi Darder, Pablo Piatti; Gerard Moreno
Jesus Vallejo, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Marcelo are still continuing their recovery process, so are unlikely to feature tonight. We can expect a similar side to the one that started against Deportivo Alaves last week, with only a minor change in defence.
Sergio Ramos will likely return to the center alongside Raphael Varane, with Theo Hernandez and Dani Carvajal retaining their places at left and right back respectively. Nacho Fernandez, who started last week, is also an option to feature either left or right back.
Mateo Kovacic and Casemiro will likely start once again in central midfield, with Marco Asensio coming in on the left wing and Gareth Bale setting up shop on the right. Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema are expected to once again lead the line for Los Blancos, together.
Probable Starting XI(4-4-2): Keylor Navas; Dani Carvajal. Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Theo Hernadez; Gareth Bale, Casemiro, Mateo Kovacic, Marco Asensio; Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo
- Real Madrid have won their last 11 matches against Espanyol in all competitions.
- Real Madrid have kept a clean sheet in 8 of their last 10 away matches against Espanyol in all competitions.
- Real Madrid have scored a minimum of 2 goals in their last 8 matches against Espanyol in all competitions.
- Espanyol have won only won 30 of their 83 home matches against Real Madrid in the La Liga.
- Espanyol have only won 6 of their 25 La Liga games this season.
Player To Watch
Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo
After a slow start to life in the La Liga this season, the Portuguese superstar has finally found his form and along with it, that characteristic Ronaldo swagger. In the past 6 league games, he’s found the net 10 times, assisting twice. His tally currently stands at 28 goals in 31 games across all competitions, and it will be interesting to see whether he can build on his tally of 15 goals and 10 assists in 16 games against Espanyol.
Espanyol 0-3 Real Madrid
Real Madrid, after half a season of mediocrity, have seemed to have found their form. Since their loss to CD Leganes just over a month ago, they have been in superb form, scoring 26 goals in their last 7 matches. Formation tweaks have also helped Zinedine Zidane bring the best out of his men.
They are still very much in danger of losing out their third place spot to Valencia, and that will only motivate them to perform better. Their Catalan opponents haven’t been in the best form off late, with their last victory coming well 7 games ago.
The support of their home fans will undoubtedly help them, but will take a miracle to beat a Real Madrid side who are currently buzzing with newfound confidence. We expect Los Blancos to take no prisoners and comfortably beat Espanyol at the RCDE Stadium tonight.