In the early kick-off of week 26 of Spanish La Liga, we have an interesting match between the inform Real Madrid and struggling Espanyol. Los Blancos will be visiting the Catalan side as the two teams seem to be in vastly different path regarding their form and their destiny seem to be heading in two different directions.The two teams have already met this season with Los Blancos taking the win with the help of Isco double.
For Los Blancos, this will be the second last game before the hotly anticipated second leg clash against PSG. Hence, for Real Madrid, every match leading up to it will be nothing more than a warm-up. It’s only the time for experimenting players making the case for their name to be included in the starting XI.
For Espanyol, the visit from Los Blancos could not have come at a worse time than this.Recently, they have had a horrible run of form. In the last 5 games, they have lost one and have played four draws. They weren’t able to get a win to save their lives and will be hoping for a better performance in this match.
— RCD Espanyol (@RCDEspanyol) February 26, 2018
However, based on a current form of the visiting side, they can pray to stop humiliation in front of their own fans.Another point of interest will be Espanyol goalkeeper Diego Lopez who used to be between the sticks for the visitors and left under unpleasant circumstances.
Real Madrid have been on a wonderful run of form. Their defense has been a concern but their attack will definitely bring a smile to Zidane’s face and ease some of his worries. Their star man, Cristiano Ronaldo, is at peak this season bagging a lot of goals recently. Real Madrid have always been a team whose attacking prowess covered the defensive shortcomings so a dry up of the goals had been a major issue for them.
Find out what #Zidane said in his pre-match press conference!
— Real Madrid C.F.🇺🇸🇬🇧 (@realmadriden) February 26, 2018
Fans will be keeping a keen eye on Gareth Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo as they suspect that the team playing the upcoming matches will be the same team that takes the field in the second leg of the UCL.
Espanyol have to secure their place in the top flight in next season avoiding relegation. They are near the bottom of the table, well above the relegation places. But they are going nowhere based on their current form and don’t look to be in anything close to the form they need to be in to take even a point, let alone three from the defending champions.
Espanyol have a full set of the squad available for this clash. Midfielder Marc Roca set to come back from a bout of flu.
Los Blancos, on the other hand, continue to miss center back Vallejo, who was their cover in the defensive area. More concerning, however, is the injury to star midfielder Toni Kroos, who is a vital cog in their machine. Even worse is the fact that two other vital parts of their starting XI are missing, namely left-back Marcelo and star midfielder Luka Modric; both due to muscle injuries. Their bright young star Asensio is expected to come back after missing a game after removal of his wisdom tooth.
Players To Watch
Many had written him off after a horrible start to the season but as they say, history repeats itself. Ronaldo has managed to age like fine wine and has slowly drifted towards the center of the pitch as his pace declines with age.
Ronaldo has found his scoring boots again and has started finding the net with the same frequency that was expected of a player of his caliber. Look forward to him getting on the scoresheet to silence his critics as has become custom.
Isco, the diminutive magician, has slowly worked his way up the ranks and is banging on the door for a place in the starting XI. He has become one of the elite midfielders in the world with regular comparisons being done to Iniesta. He will be looking to have a good game and impress Zidane enough to have a starting role against PSG.
Espanyol vs Real Madrid Line Up ( Predicted XI)
Espanyol Line Up (4-4-2)
Def: Martin(LB) Lopez(LCB) Hermoso(RCB) Sanchez(RB)
Mid: Piatti(LM) C.Sanchez(LCM) Darder(RCM) Jurado(RM)
Real Madrid Line Up (4-3-3)
GK: Keylor Navas
Def: Marcelo(LB) Ramos(CB) Varane(CB) Nacho(RB)
Mid: Casemiro(CDM) Isco(CAM) Ceballos(CM)
Espanyol vs Real Madrid Prediction
Based on the current form of both the teams, we’ll go with an easy 3-0 win for Real Madrid.