Real Madrid are back in LaLiga action on Sunday when they travel to the RCDE Stadium in Catalunya to take on Espanyol for the second and final time this season. Real won the first matchup at the Bernabéu back in September, a 1-0 win in which Marco Asensio scored the lone goal.
Real are trying to battle back in the league, they’ve won their last two matches over Betis and Sevilla. They’re still 10 points trailing Barcelona and are still tied for 3rd with Sevilla. Espanyol are currently 13th in the league and have lost their last two LaLiga fixtures.
While things certainly haven’t changed standings-wise, they are trending better with their play. Things are certainly starting to get a bit better around Real Madrid right now.
Real Madrid are getting better on the injury side of things as well. Bale and Asensio returned to training with the squad on Friday. We saw Kroos and Llorente come on as substitutes against Girona on Thursday. Vallejo and Navas remain the only two out now for the club.
Espanyol will be without Oscar Duarte, David Lopez, and Naldo who have all been recently injured.
Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Vazquez, Vinicius, Benzema
With Llorente back, Solari has a decision to make between him and Casemiro. Casemiro will likely get the edge since he has played well and Llorente did not look great coming on as a sub against Girona. Kroos was the other injury coming back against Girona, he will likely be ready to start on Sunday.
Bale and Asensio returned to training as mentioned before, but Solari will likely sub them on rather than start just a preventative measure. Even if Asensio is ready, Vinicius has earned his spotting spot with the way he’s been playing.
Diego Lopez; Rosales, Lluis Lopez, Hermoso, Vila; Sanchez, Roca, Granero; Melendo, Puado, Baptistao
Real Madrid-Espanyol 2-1
Even though Real have been playing better, they have struggled on the road. That being said, they should be able to get the job done against Espanyol. With many of the starters now back, it should help the club quite a bit.
Real need to capture all points if they wish to try and mount some sort of comeback in the league. Right now, just staying in a top 4 spot is about as good as it gets barring a miraculous climb back. They at least have done very well in the Copa del Rey and are still in the Champions League. And, of course, they have been better in LaLiga these past couple of weeks.