La Liga Match Preview: Real Madrid vs Espanyol

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.

In 28 head-to-head encounters between the two sides, Real Madrid hold the clear advantage. They have won 23 games. Espanyol have won two games, while the other three have ended in draws. Real Madrid have been propelled throughout this season by the attacking prowess of Karim Benzema. The France international has 36 goal contributions in the league this season.

Real Madrid boss Ancelotti has big decisions to make this weekend in terms of rotation, with the Spanish giants welcoming Man City to Bernabeu for the second leg of their European Cup semi-final next week.

Los Blancos will be hoping that both David Alaba and Casemiro can start the second leg following their injury problems, so it would be a huge surprise to see either this weekend, while Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy are also likely to be rested.

Real Madrid’s possible starting lineup:

Courtois; Vazquez, Vallejo, Marin, Marcelo; Valverde, Camavinga, Kroos; Asensio, Rodrygo, Vinicius

Espanyol’s possible starting lineup:

D Lopez; Vidal, Calero, Cabrera, Pedrosa; Herrera, Morlanes, Darder; Puado, De Tomas, Vilhena