Real Madrid will be bidding to make it three straight wins at the start of the 2022-23 La Liga campaign when they head to RCDE Stadium on Sunday evening to take on Espanyol.
Los Blancos have beaten Almeria and Celta Vigo in their first two games of the season, while Espanyol have picked up only a point from their two fixtures with Celta and Rayo Vallecano.
Details of the match
Espanyol were incredibly relegated from Spain’s top flight in 2019-20, but they returned to the top level at the first time of asking by winning the Segunda Division, and the Catalan outfit finished 14th in La Liga last term.
The White and Blues were only four points outside of the relegation zone in 2021-22, though, and there is no question that the supporters will be demanding an improvement this term.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, enjoyed an excellent 2021-22 campaign, winning La Liga, the Champions League and the Spanish Super Cup, and the challenge is for them to back it up this season.
Carlo Ancelotti‘s side were given a tough examination by newly-promoted Almeria on the opening weekend of the new La Liga campaign but managed to run out 2-1 winners.
The reigning champions were excellent at Celta last weekend, meanwhile, recording a 4-1 victory, with Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Vinicius Junior and Federico Valverde on the scoresheet, and the two wins have left them in second position in the table behind Villarreal.
Espanyol are sweating on the fitness of three players ahead of this match, with Pol Lozano, Raul de Tomas and Adria Pedrosa all doubts for the home side this weekend. The Catalan outfit will also definitely be without the services of Sergi Gomez, who was shown a red card in his side’s 2-0 home defeat to Rayo last time out.
Gomez’s absence will open the door for Fernando Calero to come into the back four, but there are not expected to be any changes elsewhere, with Ruben Sanchez again likely to join Joselu and Nico Melamed in the final third.
As for Real Madrid, Toni Kroos and Rodrygo were unavailable against Celta last time out due to illness and injury respectively, but the pair should be back for this match.
Espanyol possible starting lineup:
Lecomte; Gil, Calero, Cabrera, Olivan; Darder, Exposito, Souza; R Sanchez, Joselu, Melamed
Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Kroos, Tchouameni, Modric; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius
Espanyol vs Real Madrid: prediction
We say: Espanyol 1-2 Real Madrid
Espanyol are capable of making this a very tough match for Real Madrid, and they beat the champions 2-1 in the reverse game last term. The Catalan side are yet to get going this season, though, and we are expecting Ancelotti’s team to collect all three points courtesy of a narrow win.
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