La Liga is back, and we’re expecting it to be a super exciting season. Real Madrid are coming off the back of a Champions League win and the squad has improved since then too. That said, so has the squad of Barcelona, the main title rivals, although, they need to get through their issues regarding player registration and any unsettled players in the changing room.
Real Madrid have made a good start to the season, having won their European Super Cup fixture. There is every chance that the Champions League standings will be playing a part in their thinking when it comes to the fixture on 28th August, as the Champions League season will be very close to getting underway (the fixtures haven’t been finalized as the qualification rounds are still in progress).
Plenty of cards in a feisty affair
Espanyol have shown, at times, that they are not afraid to take a few yellow cards. This has been revealed in fixtures against teams that are lower down in the standings than Real Madrid. So, the fact that Madrid are likely to dominate possession so heavily throughout the game means that it is likely that Espanyol will not be afraid to make some heavy tackles in order to try to stem the flow.
Madrid aren’t afraid of a few cards either. Players like Casemiro and Rudiger will be among the favorites to get a yellow card in the Madrid lineup, as they can certainly be fiery.
Real may not keep a clean sheet
Real will be favorites in the game, but the defensive capabilities have not been amazing so far, and they conceded in the first game of the season when Almeria gave them a shock in the first 10 minutes. They won the game, as was expected from last season’s European champions, but their defense is still subject to some criticism.
Madrid will be looking to score goals, no doubt, and if they concede in the process, this is something they won’t worry too much about with the incredible attacking talent that they have on offer.
The squad might be rotated
Real will potentially have one eye on some of the bigger games to come, and they should definitely beat Espanyol if you look at the two teams on paper.
This could provide the chance for Ancelotti to rest some of his players ahead of a long and potentially grueling season. The European competition starts in September, and this means that Madrid will want their big guns to be firing. The fact that there are more substitutions allowed this season means that even if players like Benzema start, don’t be surprised if they are dragged off early to try to save their legs somewhat.
Madrid will want to do enough to win the game, preferably nice and early, which will allow them to make some changes and get some of their substitutes on. This season will be a squad game, with the fixtures coming thick and fast for Madrid, so they simply must come up with a way to use the whole squad and keep everyone fresh, and that’s assuming that they don’t get injuries.
Games like this could be the perfect chance to see players like Eden Hazard, who has been on the fringes for a while now.
Real Madrid to dominate possession
Espanyol don’t keep the ball very well in a lot of situations, and they won’t be doing so against Madrid. Expect them to play a direct game when they do get the ball and to take pretty much any opportunity to waste some time too.
Madrid will keep the ball for large spells of the game, so don’t be surprised if they end up with 70% possession stats, or even higher, as they look to nullify the threat of Espanyol.
Ultimately, a Real win
It’s hard to look beyond Real Madrid managing to win this game, this could be a case of “famous last words” but all of the money at the bookmakers will be making Real the strong favorites for the game, and this is probably justified. Madrid is one of the very best teams in the world and they should win this game with ease. Espanyol have some threats on the counter-attack but we don’t foresee them causing too many problems. Even if they manage to score, the recent Almeria game proved that Madrid are capable of a comeback.