Real Madrid will welcome Espanyol to Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon knowing that a point would be enough to win the La Liga title with four matches to spare.
Los Blancos will enter the contest off the back of a 4-3 defeat to Manchester City in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final in Manchester, while Espanyol, who are 13th in Spain’s top flight on 39 points, suffered a 1-0 loss to Rayo Vallecano in the league last time out.
Real Madrid have been, by a distance, the best team in La Liga this season, winning 24, drawing six and losing three of their 33 matches to collect 78 points, which has left them 15 points ahead of second-placed Barcelona.
As a result, a point against Espanyol on Sunday would be enough for them to be confirmed as Spanish champions for the 35th time in their history and allow them to enter their final four league games of the season against Atletico Madrid, Levante, Cadiz and Real Betis under no pressure.
Los Blancos have work to do in the Champions League semi-finals, though, following their 4-3 defeat to Man City in the first leg on Tuesday night; in truth, the La Liga outfit could have been blown away in the first half, but they managed to stay in the clash, with Karim Benzema netting twice during another brilliant performance.
The second leg of the last-four clash takes place at Bernabeu next Wednesday, so it will be fascinating to see how head coach Carlo Ancelotti approaches this match, with the Italian looking to balance keeping his players fresh with potentially suffering a morale-damaging result.
Real Madrid will win La Liga regardless of what happens against Espanyol this weekend, but they will fancy their chances of getting the job done in front of their own supporters, with the capital giants boasting the best home record in Spain’s top flight this term, picking up 37 points from 16 matches, while the league leaders are currently on a run of four straight league victories.
Espanyol will be hoping to spoil the party this weekend, but the Catalan outfit will enter the match off the back of a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Rayo Vallecano on April 21.
A total of 39 points from 33 matches has left Vicente Moreno’s side in 13th position in the table, nine points clear of the relegation zone, so they are going to be a top-flight side again next term unless something incredible happens in the final weeks of the campaign.
Espanyol won last season’s Segunda Division to secure an immediate return to this level, and they should be looking up the division rather than down, sitting just three points behind 10th-placed Valencia.
The White and Blues have struggled away from home this season, though, picking up just eight points from 16 matches, which is the third-worst record in the division, while they have won just once on their travels.
Espanyol actually beat Real Madrid 2-1 when the two teams locked horns for the reverse match back in October, but they suffered a 2-0 defeat on their last visit to Bernabeu in December 2019 and will certainly be the underdogs heading into this weekend’s clash in the capital.
Real Madrid La Liga form:
Real Madrid form (all competitions):
Espanyol La Liga form:
We say: Real Madrid 2-1 Espanyol
Espanyol will be taking on far from a full-strength Real Madrid, which should hand them confidence heading into the contest, but the Catalan outfit have been so disappointing away from home this season, and we are backing Los Blancos to win the title with a narrow win rather than a single point.