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Espanyol: Scouting Report of Real Madrid's La Liga Opponent

Looking at Real Madrid's weekend opponents Espanyol in depth

Real Sociedad de Futbol v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

After a last gasp thrilling 2-1 win at home to Sporting CP on Tuesday in the Champions League, Real Madrid travel to Barcelona to face RCD Espanyol looking to maintain the perfect start to the season.

Here's a look at how the second Catalan club has been doing so far:

League Performance

Usually a comfortable mid-table side, and having finished the 2015-16 season in 13th place (a step back from their top 10 finish the season before), the visit to the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat is a common fixture in recent years.

Last season, our two games against Espanyol yielded a 12-0 advantage in Madrid's favour, split equally between the two games. Ronaldo scored 5 in the away fixture (Karim Benzema scoring the other goal), while also netting a home hattrick, with Benzema, Rodriguez and a late own goal accounting for the other 3.

This season, Espanyol have started the new campaign quite slowly, with only two draws and a loss from their opening three matches, currently sitting in 15th on 2pts. Currently the league's 5th top scorers on 7 goals, it appears Espanyol's real issues lie in defence rather than in attack, having shipped 6 goals against Seville in the opening round of the season and sitting last on goals conceded at 9; no doubt music to Madrid's often lethal striking force.

Their last result was a 1-1 draw away at Real Sociedad, a match they drew from a winning position, with Pablo Piatti scoring for the visitors.

Ones to watch

This match marks the home coming for once controversial Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez(#13), who polarised fan opinions during the late Mourinho years and Ancelotti's first year in charge by taking then club captain Iker Casillas's place in goal. Signed from Milan on deadline day, he played in last weekend's draw and would be expected to start.

Striker Moreno(#7) and midfielder Piatti(#19) have started the season quite brightly for Espanyol, with 3 goals and 2 goals and 3 assists thus far. Expect any danger to come through these two.

Last season's club top scorer Felipe Caicedo(#10) can also be a threat, with 10 goals scored last season, though he has only played 20 minutes so far this season in the 2-2 draw at Malaga, failing to find the net.

Possible line-up

Extras to note

  1. Real Madrid are on a 15 league winning streak, equalling the best in the club's history, and 1 behind Barcelona's (and La Liga's) 16 consecutive win record. Just leaving this out there....
  2. Espanyol have been in the lead in each of their three fixtures so far this season, losing it on all three occasions.
  3. Our own rising star Marco Asensio had his "breakthrough" season on loan at Espanyol last year, scoring 4 goals with 10 assists in 33 starts and catching Zidane's eye in the process. Asensio finished the season Espanyol's top assister and 4th top scorer in the process.
  4. Espanyol's last win against Madrid came all the way back in the 2007/08 campaign (2-1), while the last draw came in a 1-1 back in the 2012/13 season
  5. Espanyol have a new manager this season, who may be familiar to followers of the Barclays Premier League - ex Watford manager and once Real Madrid defender Quique Sanchez Flores.

Many, specially our friends over in Barcelona, feel the fixture is often a light paced stroll for Madrid, with Espanyol not putting up too much of a fight to get at their bigger brother Barcelona. Whether you agree or not, what are your score predictions for our first trip to Barcelona for the season?

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