Real Madrid will be looking to reclaim the top spot in the La Liga standings when they host RCD Mallorca at the Santiago Bernabeu this midweek.

Real Madrid will be aiming to continue their unbeaten start to the 2021/22 La Liga campaign when they lock horns with RCD Mallorca on Wednesday night at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Kicking off a new era under Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid have made a solid, if not spectacular start to the season. Four wins in five La Liga matches so far (D1), with the latest coming against Valencia at the weekend, puts them in second place, just a point below reigning champions Atletico Madrid, who have played a game more. A victory this midweek would see Los Blancos reestablish themselves as the leaders with a two-point advantage.

Mallorca, meanwhile, have made a fairly decent start to the campaign themselves upon earning promotion, having lost just one of their five league outings thus far, winning and drawing two each. Luis Garcia’s side managed to hold Villarreal to a goalless draw in their most recent outing are currently tenth in the table. Another positive result on Wednesday would help them move higher up and continue the positive vibes around the team.

The last time these two sides met was in June last year, towards the backend of the 2019/20 season, with Real Madrid beating Mallorca 2-0 courtesy of goals from Vinicius Junior and Sergio Ramos. Ahead of their latest encounter this week, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both sets of squads.

Team News & Tactics

Real Madrid

Real Madrid continue to be plagued by a host of injury issues as Toni Kroos, Marcelo, Ferland Mendy, Dani Ceballos, Dani Carvajal and Gareth Bale all remain unavailable for Carlo Ancelotti’s side. With games coming thick and fast, the Merengues’ boss could decide to make a few changes to the lineup for Wednesday’s clash.

There is no looking past Thibaut Courtois between the sticks while the rest of the team lines up in a 4-3-3 formation in front of him. With Carvajal and Mendy unavailable, Lucas Vazquez and Miguel Gutierrez become pretty much automatic picks in the full-back slots while Eder Militao and David Alaba should line up as the two centre-halves, with Nacho missing out of the starting XI.

Casemiro and Luka Modric could both be given some rest by Ancelotti, as new signing Eduardo Camavinga gears up for his first start for Real Madrid alongside Federico Valverde and Isco, who is being linked with a January exit.

There could be one change in attack as Eden Hazard, who has intermittent fitness issues, might not be forced to start two games in the space of three days. In his stead, Rodrygo Goes ought to get the nod, lining up on the right flank while Vinicius Junior, who has been in red hot form, should hold on to his spot on the left. Karim Benzema is the undisputed starter in the No. 9 role.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Courtois; Vazquez, Militao, Alaba, Gutierrez; Camavinga, Valverde, Isco; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius

Mallorca

Like Real Madrid, Mallorca too have a plethora of fitness problems to deal with ahead of their trip to the capital. Luis Garcia will be without as many as six players for the Real Madrid clash as Antonio Sanchez, Antonio Raillo, Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta, Pablo Maffeo, Franco Russo and Aleksander Sedlar are all out with injuries.

The visitors will line up in a 4-4-2 formation, with the focus being on defensive shape and solidity so as to frustrate their opponents. 36-year-old captain Manolo Reina will be manning the goal and could be in for a busy outing at the Bernabeu. Joan Sastre and Jaume Costa ought to be the two full-backs on the right and left sides, respectively, with Martin Valjent and Brian Olivan pairing up at the centre.

Iddrisu Baba and Rodrigo Battaglia should line up in the centre of the park, with their primary objective being to sit deep and shield the defence while launching quick out-balls to the wingers, who ought to be, Real Madrid loanee Takefusa Kubo and Amath Ndiaye, who will look to hit the hosts at pace and catch them cold on the break.

Dani Rodriguez, who has scored and assisted a goal so far this season, will be one of the two forwards, with him being most likely partnered by Villarreal loanee Fer Nino.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Reina; Sastre, Valjent, Olivan, Costa; Kubo, Battaglia, Baba, Ndiaye; Rodriguez, Nino

Key Stats

  • Real Madrid have won their last five home games against Mallorca in La Liga, scoring 14 goals and conceding just three.
  • After going four league visits to Real Madrid without losing between 2000 and 2004, Mallorca have since lost nine of their last ten away games against the Merengues in La Liga (W1).
  • Real Madrid have not lost any of their last 23 La Liga games (W17 D6).
  • Mallorca have lost more games against Real Madrid than against any other opponent in their La Liga history (37).
  • Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema has been directly involved in at least one goal in each of his first five La Liga games of a season (six goals and five assists) for the first time in his career.

Player to Watch

Eduardo Camavinga

Having sealed a deadline day move to Real Madrid from Rennes, the teenage midfield prodigy has already made quite an impact in a short time, even though he is yet to start a game. Camavinga marked his first appearance for Real Madrid with a goal against Celta Vigo, which was followed by a match-clinching assist in the win over Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League.

An all-round midfielder, Camavinga has done more than enough to earn a starting berth against Mallorca this midweek. And, with the likes of Modric, Casemiro likely to be given a breather, the onus will be on him to make the most of his opportunity and help Real Madrid to a victory, furthering his chances of more regular involvement under Ancelotti.

Prediction

Real Madrid 2-0 Mallorca

Mallorca have made a solid start to life back in La Liga and showed that they can be a hard team to get past in the draw against Villarreal over the weekend. However, Real Madrid, despite not playing the most attractive brand of football, have shown great determination and resolve to get the desired results, despite the injury woes.

Throw in the flying form that both Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior are in, and Mallorca’s poor record against Real Madrid, anything other than a win for Los Blancos will be a surprise result on Wednesday.

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