Real Madrid vs RCD Espanyol: Preview, Team News, Probable Lineups and Prediction
It's not often that RCD Espanyol have the chance to draw level on points with Real Madrid at the end of September, but that is where we find ourselves, as sixth-placed Real Madrid take on their 13th placed visitors.
Real Madrid have yet to win at home this season, which has seen them already fall of La Liga pacesetters, Barcelona, at the top, behind by 7 points.
Real Madrid vs RCD Espanyol: Manager Talk
Zinedine Zidane: "We will see tomorrow [how Gareth Bale is]. It is a strain, so nothing too significant. But, as always, when a player has even a small problem then we don't want to risk it. We want to keep doing what we've been doing and to win well. If you play well and start the match well then you'll have a good chance of winning. We can change all of [the talk about poor home form] tomorrow. We don't live in the past and what has happened has happened. Now we have a game to change this."
"I am happy that he [Marco Asensio] has renewed. He trains with Cristiano [Ronaldo] every day and he is learning from him. It [Ronaldo's contract] is a club issue and I'm not getting involved in it."
Quique Sanchez Flores: "This is the kind of game where you can never become complacent. You cannot sleep or close your eyes for even a second. It is an encounter which demands so much attention"Everybody is strong and sees this as an opportunity, not because of Real Madrid's form, but because of our own form. It is a good stadium to try to demonstrate that we are competitive."
Real Madrid vs RCD Espanyol: Kickoff Information
Date: 01 October CET / 02 October IST
Kickoff: 8:45 PM CET / 12:15 AM IST
Venue: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
Real Madrid vs RCD Espanyol: Team News
Real Madrid: Zinedine Zidane has to make do without Karim Benzema, Marcelo, Mateo Kovacic, Theo Hernandez and Jesus Vallejo due to injury. Gareth Bale is a doubt and may not be risked ahead of the international break where he will surely feature for Wales, with qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup on the line.
RCD Espanyol: Quique Sanchez Flores has confirmed that first-teamers Pablo Piatti and Victor Sanchez are out with muscular injuries, while Hernan Perez was not amongst the 18 man squad that travelled. Oscar Duarte remains out injured with a long-term injury, although Javi Fuego is back from sickness and can feature alongside Sergi Darder in midfield.
Real Madrid vs RCD Espanyol Probable Lineups
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Keylor Navas (GK); Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Nacho; Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Dani Ceballos; Lucas Vazquez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Marco Asensio.
RCD Espanyol (4-4-2): Pau Lopez (GK); Marc Navarro, Mario Hermoso, David Lopez, Aaron Martin; Jose Jurado, Sergi Darder, Javi Fuego, Oscar Melendo; Gerard Moreno, Leo Baptistao
Real Madrid vs RCD Espanyol: Form Guide
Last 6 matches (all competitions, most recent first)
Real Madrid: W-W-L-W-W-D
RCD Espanyol: W-D-W-L-L-D
Real Madrid vs RCD Espanyol: Head to Head (H2H) (Last 10 games)
Real Madrid wins: 10
RCD Espanyol wins: 0
Real Madrid vs RCD Espanyol: Key Players
Real Madrid: Can there be anyone else apart from Cristiano Ronaldo? The Portuguese star has not yet found the net in La Liga, and if that continues for the next 90 minutes, it will be his worst ever start for Real Madrid. With Gareth Bale a doubt as well, things will revolve around Ronaldo and he simply has to deliver - a situation in which he thrives.
RCD Espanyol: Gerard Moreno has been in fairly decent goalscoring form, and has formed a promising partnership with Leo Baptistao. Quique Sanchez Flores will be counting on the pair to feed off scraps as they sit deep, but make one count and Espanyol could walk away with a shock result.
Los Blancos' poor start to the season under Zinedine Zidane has not gone unnoticed by the Spanish press, although there seems to be plenty of calm within the Madrid squad. That confidence shone through in midweek, with Real Madrid beating Borussia Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion for the first time in their history. However, Madrid have yet to win at the Bernabeu this season, and Espanyol have pulled off some impressive draws this season. It might not be the most comfortable of games, but Madrid might finally pull through.
Predicted Score: Real Madrid 1-0 RCD Espanyol