Real Madrid vs RCD Mallorca: La Liga Preview and Prediction
The tight race for the 2019-20 La Liga title continues as Real Madrid play host to RCD Mallorca at Estadio Alfredo di Stefano – Los Blancos’ temporary home as Estadio Santiago Bernabeu is undergoing extensive renovation.
FC Barcelona’s 1-0 win over Athletic Club, thanks to an Ivan Rakitic goal, has resulted in the Catalan side leading the table. Real Madrid will be looking to reclaim top spot by defeating RCD Mallorca tonight.
FC Barcelona have amassed 68 points from 31 games. Real Madrid are just three points behind with a game in hand – the one they play tonight.
Zinedine Zidane’s men are still the only La Liga side to boast of a 100 percent win record since La Liga’s resumption on June 11. Los Blancos have defeated SD Eibar, Valencia and Real Sociedad since play resumed.
In their last game, Zidane’s men eked out a 2-1 win over Real Sociedad at Reale Arena. The game was not without controversy as the home side had two goals disallowed due to some baffling refereeing decisions.
Vicente Moreno’s RCD Mallorca have been in the pits since play resumed, still looking for a win.
Los Bermellones were mauled 0-4 by FC Barcelona in their first game since league resumption.
They then fell 0-1 to Villarreal but played out a 1-1 draw against fellow relegation battlers, CD Leganes, in their last outing.
Moreno is treading tough waters as RCD Mallorca currently occupy 18th place. They are only three points below safety and a shock win tonight could help them stay in La Liga for the 2020-21 season.
Head to Head
Real Madrid are the overwhelming favorites for this game despite falling in the reverse fixture this season.
RCD Mallorca clawed out a 1-0 win over 10-man Real Madrid at Estadi de San Moix earlier this season. Los Bermellones got off to a quick start thanks to a seventh minute goal from Lago Junior. They then sat back and defended the narrow lead. Alvaro Odriozola picked up his second yellow in the 74th minute and killed any remaining chances of Zidane’s men making a comeback.
That result, however, is an aberration in the pair’s track record.
Mallorca are facing Real Madrid in the league for the first time since 2013. Barring the previous encounter, Real Madrid have won five of the pair’s last six meetings in the league, scoring 17 goals and conceding five.
Defensive midfielder Casemiro will be sitting out of this game as he has accumulated too many yellow cards.
Real Madrid club captain Sergio Ramos hobbled off in the 60th minute over Real Sociedad after taking a knock on his knee. He is fit to play but might be rested. Eder Militao is likely to play instead of him.
Luka Jovic and Lucas Vazquez are sidelined for this game due to long term injuries. Nacho Fernandez is set to return at the end of this month after recuperating from a hamstring injury.
RCD Mallorca also have a host of injury troubles. Leonardo Koutris suffered ACL damage and is out for the remainder of the season. There are doubts regarding Lumor Agbenyenu and Ki Sung-Yeung as well.
They will, however, be boosted by Antonio Raillo’s return now that he has served his suspension.
Eden Hazard vs Martin Valjent
It is no secret that Belgian superstar Eden Hazard has struggled in the 2019-20 season. Injuries have limited his playing time and he has lacked match fitness.
The former Chelsea man, however, has been playing much better since La Liga’s resumption. His creativity is shining through as he has provided an assist for two games running now.
Hazard’s link-up play with an in-form Karim Benzema is sure to cause Martin Valjent trouble at the back.
RCD Mallorca have had the worst defense in the league this season and Valjent would be praying for a miracle to stop a rampaging Real Madrid attacking line tonight.
Raphael Varane vs Ante Budimir
RCD Mallorca pose very little threat to Real Madrid. Most of it comes from Croatian forward Ante Budimir who has scored nine goals in this La Liga campaign.
Standing at 6’3”, Budimir’s aerial prowess can cause issues for Zidane’s defense but Raphael Varane should, ideally, take care of the Croat.
The French defender is as elite as they come at his position. He has marshalled the stingiest defense (21 goals conceded) in La Liga this season and you can expect him to help Real Madrid keep a clean sheet again.
Barring any major surprises, Real Madrid should walk out as comfortable winners in this game.
Los Blancos trump Mallorca in every department and are also in stupendous form. The only thing that can work against them is the pressure of a tight race for the league title.
Karim Benzema and Hazard will be the primary offensive threats for Zidane’s men. It will, however, be interesting to see how they cope in Casemiro’s absence. The home side’s defense is unlikely to be troubled by Mallorca’s attackers and a clean sheet is very much a possibility.
Predicted scoreline: Real Madrid 2-0 RCD Mallorca