After adding two consecutive draws against Atlético and Betis that have put the League even more uphill, Real Madrid is entering the right field for ambushes against Espanyol. The parakeet team, which has already managed to score points this season at the Metropolitano and at the Camp Nou, visits the Santiago Bernabéu at an awkward time and with the whites pending the two transcendental duels that they will have to play next week, on Wednesday against Liverpool in the round of 16 second leg of the Champions League and on Sunday against Barça in a Camp Nou that can issue a definitive verdict on the domestic championship. Avoiding falling into the aperitif trap will therefore be the first task that Carlo Ancelotti’s team will need to diligently solve.
Real Madrid played fifteen games in the six previous seasons within that time slot that some open with vermouth and most close with dessert. To that record we must add two more in the current campaign, in both cases with Mallorca as a rival. The balance, with ten victories, a tie and six defeats, offers sufficient reasons to activate the alert in the local side.
Barcelona, Girona, Eibar, Levante, Getafe or the aforementioned Mallorca can attest first-hand to the complications that Real Madrid has experienced when it comes to acclimatizing to an unusual schedule for the greats of Spanish football that forces them to modify routines, alters rhythms and accompanied the notable setbacks of the whites in the near past.
It was suffered firsthand by Zinedine Zidane, who missed the League train after succumbing against Barça on a sunny midday on Christmas Eve 2017. Also Santiago Solari, who saw how the four-win streak with which took over from Julen Lopetegui in 2018 was cut short by a thunderous defeat in Ipurua that Isco definitively sentenced. And Ancelotti himself has suffered from it both last year, when Getafe choked his team in the first match after eating the grapes, and in the current one, stopped dead by Mallorca in Son Moix a little over a year ago. month.
Benzema stops again
With these precedents, Real Madrid is presented to another lawsuit in which they will have to find a life without Benzema. It will be the thirteenth clash that the Lyon player has lost due to injury so far this year and, although his teammates have not managed too badly in the previous twelve -eight wins, one draw and three defeats-, the loss of ‘9’ It takes on more entity coming from three appointments in which the whites have gotten wet with gunpowder.
«He has had a blow to the ankle and it has swollen. He has tried to recover, but has not been able to because he has not trained with the team. He will be available for Wednesday’s game”, tried to reassure Ancelotti, who acknowledged the impact that the drop in performance of the current Ballon d’Or is having on Real Madrid’s competitive capacity. “He is a player who has scored many goals and the fact that he has not yet reached this level has affected us a bit,” the coach summed up.
Ancelotti confirmed that Rodrygo will return to acting as an emergency center forward, with Álvaro in the reserve. The good news for Real Madrid is the return of Modric, who missed last week’s match against Betis. The Croatian will have a place in the eleven, from which Kroos could leave to take oxygen for the Champions League. Mendy and Alaba are still low, although the Frenchman points to Liverpool.
For their part, Espanyol only has the absences of Pedrosa and Keidi Bare, after Brian Oliván and Puado finally entered the squad despite arriving between cotton wool. The full-back suffered a trauma to his left leg against Valladolid and the attacker is suffering from the flu that jeopardizes his presence in an eleven in which Óscar Gil aims to once again be Vinicius’s dance partner, author in Cornellà of the goal that opened the match marker of a match in which the parrots had options until the end. “We had good phases,” recalled a Diego Martínez this Friday who said he did not sign the tie, even though the Catalan team has not scored at the Bernabéu for ten years.
Real Madrid: Courtois, Carvajal, Militao, Rüdiger, Camavinga, Tchouaméni, Modric, Ceballos, Valverde, Rodrygo and Vinicius.
Spanish: Pacheco, Óscar Gil, Sergi Gómez, César Montes, Pierre-Gabriel, Aleix Vidal, Vini Souza, Darder, Denis Suárez, Braithwaite and Joselu.
Referee: Figueroa Vázquez (Andalusian Committee).
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
TV: Movistar LaLiga.