Preview: Espanyol vs. Real Madrid

Preview: Espanyol vs. Real Madrid

Real Madrid will be bidding to make it three straight wins at the start of the 2022-23 La Liga campaign when they head to RCDE Stadium on Sunday evening to take on Espanyol.

Los Blancos have beaten Almeria and Celta Vigo in their first two games of the season, while Espanyol have picked up only a point from their two fixtures with Celta and Rayo Vallecano.

Espanyol were incredibly relegated from Spain’s top flight in 2019-20, but they returned to the top level at the first time of asking by winning the Segunda Division, and the Catalan outfit finished 14th in La Liga last term.

The White and Blues were only four points outside of the relegation zone in 2021-22, though, and there is no question that the supporters will be demanding an improvement this term.

Now under the management of former Osasuna and Granada head coach Diego Martinez, Espanyol started their La Liga season with a 2-2 draw at Celta, but they could not build on the welcome point away from home, suffering a 2-0 home defeat to Rayo Vallecano last time out.

Espanyol have a tough run of matches to come, facing Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla, Real Sociedad and Valencia in their next five, and it will be interesting to see where they are in the table heading into the September international break.

The four-time Copa del Rey winners beat Real Madrid 2-1 in the corresponding match last term, but they suffered a 4-0 defeat when they travelled to Bernabeu in April.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, enjoyed an excellent 2021-22 campaign, winning La Liga, the Champions League and the Spanish Super Cup, and the challenge is for them to back it up this season.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side were given a tough examination by newly-promoted Almeria on the opening weekend of the new La Liga campaign but managed to run out 2-1 winners.

The reigning champions were excellent at Celta last weekend, meanwhile, recording a 4-1 victory, with Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Vinicius Junior and Federico Valverde on the scoresheet, and the two wins have left them in second position in the table behind Villarreal.

Real Madrid will be aware of the challenge facing them this term in the shape of Barcelona, who have had a spectacular summer transfer window, but Ancelotti’s team are not believed to be planning anything dramatic late in the market despite allowing Casemiro to move to Manchester United.

Los Blancos will take on Espanyol and Real Betis in their next two league matches before the start of their Champions League campaign, with the holders drawn in Group F alongside RB Leipzig, Celtic and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Espanyol La Liga form:
Real Madrid La Liga form:
Real Madrid form (all competitions):

We say: Espanyol 1-2 Real Madrid
Espanyol are capable of making this a very tough match for Real Madrid, and they beat the champions 2-1 in the reverse game last term. The Catalan side are yet to get going this season, though, and we are expecting Ancelotti’s team to collect all three points courtesy of a narrow win.

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