Real Madrid will host Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon with the full knowledge that even a single point from the game would be enough to see them crowned as the new La Liga champions. Madrid will be hoping to reclaim the league title from Atletico Madrid with 4 matches to spare. Meanwhile, Espanyol are 13th in the Spanish top flight with 39 points.
Without any shred of doubt, Real Madrid have been the best team in La Liga this season. They have won 24 of their matches while drawing six and losing three games respectively. With 78 points, they are comfortably on top of the league table and have a 15-point lead over arch-rivals Barcelona in second place.
There were a few nervy gasps and jitters when Real Madrid got demolished 0-4 at the hands of Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu. While many people expected a turning of the tables, Real Madrid have bounced back strongly following the international break and are unbeaten since then. As a result, even a draw against Barcelona-based side Espanyol will be enough to see them being crowned as La Liga champions for the 35th time in their history. No club in Spain has won as many domestic titles as the site from the capital.
It will also allow Los Blancos to enter the final four matches of their league campaign against Atletico Madrid, Levante, Cadiz and Real Betis, with no significant pressure on them. This will help them to turn their focus towards the all-important Champions League.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side have work to do in the second leg of the semi-final of the Champions League. They lost the first leg against Manchester City 4-3 at the Etihad Stadium in England. However, in all honesty, Real Madrid could have been easily blown away by a bigger distance in the first half. They managed to remain alive in the tie, thanks to yet another brilliant performance from star striker Karim Benzema, who netted a brace.
The 13-time Champions League winners will back themselves to succeed when the second leg of the last four clash takes place at the Santiago Bernabeu next Wednesday. After all, Real Madrid have scripted dramatic turnarounds against PSG and Chelsea in the previous rounds before but they cannot afford to take the Premier League leaders lightly.
Therefore, it will be interesting to see whether Carlo Ancelotti takes the approach of rotating players to keep them fresh and improve their morale. Real Madrid are almost sure to win La Liga regardless of what happens against Espanyol this weekend.
They will also fancy their chances of winning the title in front of their own supporters at home where they both the best home record in Spain, stop flight this season having picked up 37 points from 16 matches. For now, the bigger focus remains on Manchester City in the Champions League.
Catalan side Espanyol will be hoping to rain in on Real Madrid’s parade this weekend. However, they are themselves arriving into this clash following a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Rayo Vallecano a week before.
They are 13th in the league table with 39 points from their 33 games so far. However, Espanyol are nine points clear of the relegation zone, which has given them enough insurance to assure them a spot in La Liga for next season, regardless of how the remainder of their league campaign pans out.
The side from Barcelona won the Segunda Division last season to secure their return back to the top flight in Spain. And they should be looking upwards rather than downwards. Espanyol are just three points behind Valencia in 10th place. While dreams of playing in Europe are expected to take some time before being realized, it has been a season of general improvement for Espanyol following their promotion.
With that being said, the White and Blues have struggled on the road this season. They’ve picked up just eight points from their 16 games, which is the third-worst record in the league this season, and have won only once away from home.
The last time these two sides met each other was back in October 2021. On that occasion, Espanyol ended up beating Real Madrid 2-1. However, they also suffered a 2-0 defeat on their last visit to the Santiago Bernabeu in December 2019. Espanyol have a poor record against Real Madrid and will be the underdogs heading into the Spanish capital this Saturday.
RMA vs ESP, La Liga 2021/22
Date: 30th April, 2022
Time: 7:45 PM IST
Venue: Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
RMA vs ESP FORM GUIDE:
Real Madrid La Liga form:
Real Madrid form (all competitions):
Espanyol La Liga form:
Espanyol form (all competitions):
RMA vs ESP HEAD-TO-HEAD:
Real Madrid wins: 23
Espanyol wins: 2
RMA vs ESP TEAM NEWS:
Real Madrid Team News: The league leaders will continue to miss the services of Eden Hazard. Hazard’s blockbuster move from Chelsea to Real Madrid hasn’t worked out at all and he has spent most of his career with Real Madrid on the sidelines. Luka Jovic and Mariano Diaz are expected to miss out once again while midfielder Dani Ceballos has recovered from illness and came off the bench to feature against Manchester City in the previous game.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid will be hoping that Marcelo is fit enough to start this weekend as they have a minor injury crisis in defence. Both David Alaba and Ferland Mendy aren’t expected to return to fitness in time to start here while Dani Carvajal is also expected to be rested. Casemiro has also endured an injury and it remains to be seen whether he is given the medical green light for this match.
Both Nacho and Eder Militao are suspended for this fixture against Espanyol which means that Jesus Vallejo could receive a rare start alongside Rafa Marin at the heart of the Madrid defense.
Veteran midfielder Luka Modric who continues to age like fine wine could also end up being rested with the focus on the second leg against Manchester City. As a result, Eduardo Camavinga could start in the engine room.
French star Karim Benzema has been on a dreamy run of form this season. He has scored several late and crucial match-winning goals for Real Madrid. He has reached the mark of 25 league goals in Spain for the first time in his career and has also assisted 11 goals to his teammates. Benzema has also found the back of the net on 12 occasions in the Champions League. Rodrygo will be hoping to partner Benzema and Vinicius in attack after scoring in consecutive games.
Espanyol Team News: Espanyol, meanwhile, will miss out on the services of defender Keidi Bare who has been ruled out with a knee injury. Besides that, the visitors from Barcelona are in excellent shape and have plenty of fresh legs in their arsenal heading into this important contest.
Head coach Vicente Moreno is unlikely to make too many changes to his starting XI against Real Madrid. Raul de Tomas is a splendid catalyst in attack and he’s expected to spearhead the frontline alongside the likes of Javi Puado and Tonny Vilhena.
Manu Morlanes could return to central midfield in the absence of Keidi Bare. Aleix Vidal and Adria Pedrosa might continue in the full-back roles for Espanyol.
Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Vazquez, Vallejo, Marin, Marcelo; Valverde, Camavinga, Kroos; Asensio, Rodrygo, Vinicius
Espanyol possible starting lineup:
D Lopez; Vidal, Calero, Cabrera, Pedrosa; Herrera, Morlanes, Darder; Puado, De Tomas, Vilhena
RMA vs ESP Predictions:
Given Real Madrid’s outstanding form and resilience, which has been visible in their previous games, especially in the Champions League, they are the favourites to pick up another three points and confirm their La Liga victory. Espanyol might be the fresher of the two sides heading into this game and had also gotten the better of Real Madrid in the last meeting between the two sides.
However, Ancelotti’s men have more than enough tools at their disposal and a win here will also boost their confidence ahead of the return leg of the Champions League semi-finals against Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu.