After securing a memorable comeback win over Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, Real Madrid will travel to Son Moix on Monday to face RCD Mallorca, hoping to maintain their excellent form in La Liga.
Los Blancos currently have a healthy eight-point lead at the top of the league table, with very little signs of a potential late surge from second-placed Sevilla.
But there should be no room for complacency for Carlo Ancelotti’s men, up against a Mallorca side coming on the back of four successive defeats. Real Madrid had thumped Mallorca 6-1 in the reverse fixture and the Whites will be confident of their chances of repeating the feat.
Given the gruelling midweek action against PSG, Carlo Ancelotti must be careful of potential fatigue issues arising in the team. It won’t be surprising to see the Italian ringing in a couple of changes, as he keeps one eye on the gargantuan El Clasico next weekend.
Thibaut Courtois has been a mainstay in between the Real Madrid goal and has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in Europe. He remains a guaranteed starter this weekend, hoping to earn his 12th clean sheet in La Liga this season.
Dani Carvajal remains another guaranteed starter at right-back. Since his return to full fitness, the experienced Spaniard has offered stability and balance to the Real Madrid backline, though there has been a hint of inconsistency in his performances.
In central defence, Ancelotti has no reason to tinker with his tried and tested combination of David Alaba and Eder Militao. The two have developed an excellent partnership, which could go a long way in helping Los Blancos secure another win against Mallorca.
A change could be in order at left-back, as Ferland Mendy returns to contention after serving a suspension in the midweek affair against PSG. His return could be significant for Ancelotti, especially with Marcelo picking up a knock earlier this month.
Moving into midfield, Ancelotti might look to ring in the changes, in light of Casemiro’s return after serving suspension in the UCL.
The Brazilian is set to assume his duties in defensive midfield. His ability to mop up loose balls while simultaneously making driving runs forward could be essential in helping Real Madrid stay on top against Mallorca.
Alongside Casemiro, Ancelotti could provide a breather to Luka Modric. Given Eduardo Camavinga’s excellent performance against PSG, the youngster is best placed to replace the Croat in central midfield.
Casemiro and Camavinga are likely to form Real Madrid’s midfield trifecta alongside Federico Valverde. While Toni Kroos is usually a guaranteed option, the German’s recent battle with a hamstring issue could see him being rested ahead of El Clasico next weekend.
Ancelotti is unlikely to ring in the changes in the attacking unit, considering how well the front three of Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio have fared lately.
The combination of Benzema and Vinicius, in particular, could prove to be deadly for a Mallorca side that currently have the second-worst defensive record in La Liga.
Asensio’s place in the side can be argued, as Rodrygo Goes is also pushing for a start. In fact, the Brazilian might just get the nod to feature alongside Benzema and Vinicius to form the front three for Los Blancos on Monday.
Toni Kroos could be involved in action at some point, especially if Real Madrid fail to take control of the game and dominate Mallorca.
Ancelotti has some useful options in the attack as well, with both Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard hoping to be involved. Gareth Bale is another option, who can add experience and dynamism in the final third.
Three talking points ahead of RCD Mallorca vs Real Madrid
Real Madrid have seldom struggled against RCD Mallorca in recent years. The men in white have scored a whopping 15 goals in their last four games against the Palma-based side and their last loss versus them came back in 2019.
If this season’s numbers are anything to go by, however, it would be wrong to overlook Javier Aguirre’s side. Mallorca have won seven of their nineteen La Liga games so far and sit in tenth place with 25 points.
While they have not scored a lot this campaign, they have conceded the fourth-least goals in the Spanish top flight and have an excellent defensive record.
Real Madrid play Mallorca before Barcelona’s game on Sunday and have a chance to reduce the deficit at the top of the table to two points temporarily if they can win at Son Moix.
Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Mallorca vs Real Madrid.
1. Tchouameni time again?
Aurelien Tchouameni spent close to a month on the sidelines after hobbling off injured in Real Madrid’s clash against Villarreal last month.
In the defensive midfielder’s absence, Carlo Ancelotti was forced to patch the void with unconventional options including Dani Ceballos, Eduardo Camavinga and Toni Kroos as the pivot.
The Frenchman finally made his awaited comeback to the squad in the team’s game against Valencia midweek. As he was returning from a relatively long time on the sidelines, Ancelotti preferred to have him start on the bench.
Tchouameni eventually entered the field in the 66th minute of the game when Toni Kroos asked to be substituted out for precaution. In his 24 minutes on the field, the youngster was almost flawless with 97% passes completed and 100% accurate long balls.
As Los Blancos gear up to play their second game in three days, the time could be right to re-incorporate the 23-year-old into the starting lineup. After all, Tchouameni has been one of Real Madrid’s most consistent players this season and it is glaringly clear that they have missed him in recent weeks.
2. Two more casualties
The men in white produced 90 minutes of high-quality football against Los Che on Thursday and reduced the gap with Barcelona to a mere five points. However, the cost of the win was far more than what the manager would have liked to pay.
In return for the three points, Real Madrid saw Karim Benzema and Eder Militao leave the field with injuries to rub salt into Ancelotti’s fresh wounds.
The captain is expected to miss the next two games at least, leaving his team once again without a central striker. In Benzema’s absence, Ancelotti will have to put on his thinking hat and field a forward line that not only creates threats but also has the cutting edge to convert them.
Militao is also unavailable for Sunday’s game. With the Brazilian centre-back ruled out, Real Madrid will likely field a combination of Antonio Rudiger and Nacho Fernandez against Mallorca. After all, David Alaba is also returning fresh from injury and might not be fit to start the game.
3. Can Camavinga convince again?
It is almost criminal that a club of Real Madrid’s stature do not have a natural backup for the left-back position.
Ferland Mendy has been Ancelotti’s most preferred position in the player throughout the season. David Alaba was seen as a possible backup option, and though the Austrian International is capable of playing that role, he does not fancy the left-back position anymore.
When Mendy limped off injured in Real Madrid’s game against Atletico Madrid, Eduardo Camavinga thus emerged as a surprise option to fill his shoes. The youngster started the next two games at left-back and did a reasonable job, even earning praise from the manager.
With Tchouameni back running for the Merengues, the left-back role is the only available vacancy for the French International to claim a starting spot.
With Alaba returning, if Camavinga wishes for continuity as a starter, he must produce another exceptional display on Sunday and stake claim as the left-back until Mendy returns.