Carlo Ancelotti will look to beat last season’s Jose Mourinho’s points as Real Madrid host Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Italian has earned 84 points so far in his first year in La Liga, only one less than Mourinho’s 85 in 2013. A victory would see Los Blancos closing a notable league with 87 points.
Los Merengues manager will probably rest his usual defence, since Pepe, Sergio Ramos and Daniel Carvajal are suffering from physical problems. Fabio Coentrao could also sit on the bench to arrive in better shape for the Champions League final. Thus, Alvaro Arbeloa, Nacho, Raphael Varane and Marcelo could form an unusual defensive line.
Cristiano Ronaldo is also a doubt following a harmstring problem. Thus, despite needing one more goal to overtake Luis Suarez in the race for the European Golden Shoe, the Portuguese is expected to rest, as well as Angel di Maria.
Sami Khedira could return to the starting eleven, and will have a chance to prove Ancelotti that he is ready to replace Xabi Alonso in the battle for La Decima against Atletico Madrid.
Los Merengues have taken just two points from their last three league fixtures, meaning they have gone more than two Liga games without winning for the first time since May 2009.
Yet, Espanyol seem like a pleasant rival to break the bad run, as they haven’t won at the Santiago Bernabeu since 1996. In fact, they have only earned two points in their last ten visits to Los Blancos ground.
Real Madrid: Casillas; Arbeloa, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo; Khedira, Alonso, Illarramendi; Bale, Morata, Isco.
Espanyol: Casilla; J. Lopez, Colotto, Moreno, Fuentes; D. Lopez, Sanchez; Stuani, Pizzi, Simao; Garcia.