Real Madrid will be desperate to get back to winning ways when they travel to Mallorca on Sunday night (8.30pm GMT).
Real’s away loss to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League really shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise. The team are stretched for numbers in defence and are looking noticeably short of confidence in attack.
Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao’s absence through injury forced Michael Essien to take up the left-back spot. Sergio Ramos, meanwhile, went back to his old position of right-back, paving the way for Raphael Varane to play consecutive games alongside Pepe at the centre of defence.
But further problems have arisen for Jose Mourinho’s team. Sami Khedira limped off in the first half against Dortmund with a hamstring injury, forcing Luka Modric on to take up the deep midfield role alongside Xabi Alonso.
Not only is the full-back crisis affecting the defence, but the team are now unable to call upon a natural defensive midfielder to sit next to Alonso. Luka Modric is a comfortable candidate to fill the void, but he and the rest of the team will be tested against good attacking teams, as they were when Robert Lewandowski and Marcel Schmelzer grabbed the goals for Dortmund on Wednesday night.
But in truth, much of the team are looking uncertain of themselves. Pepe was at fault for some notably sloppy play in defence which led to Lewandowski scoring the opening goal. And neither of the two strikers in the Real team have scored since the match against Ajax at the beginning of the month.
It’s worth pointing out that Gonzalo Higuain did get the opening goal against Celta Vigo last week, but that was a freak goal that deflected off the Celta defender. It was hardly something of his own making.
Mezut Ozil looks nowhere on course to reach the phenomenal numbers of last season. The German international so far has five assists in all competitions for Real Madrid and zero goals. In comparison, last season he recorded 14 goals an 27 assists in all competitions. So much of the forwards’ success at Real went through him. Ozil is, however, performing well for Germany, scoring and creating. He has five goals in World Cup qualifying so far for Joachim Low’s side. But his confidence is down, and there’s really no surprise considering he’s been subbed off at half time against Deportivo and Sevilla this season.
The form of Kaka and presence of Modric means Ozil appears to be walking a fine line with Mourinho. There’s obvious friction between the two, just like here has been with the manager and Sergio Ramos, but Mourinho will simply look to the obvious reasoning of needing to force a rise from his squad.
In Real’s last four games in all competitions, Cristiano Ronaldo has been their only goal scorer, besides of course that clearly unintentional goal from Higuain last week. It is, however, a massive plus for the Portuguese forward, who has scored in every game since the loss at Sevilla in the middle of September, totalling 12 goals and two hat tricks.
We’re likely to see the same defensive selection for this game in the weekend. Essien will be chosen for the left-back position, but it will have an obvious affect of how well Ronaldo performs. He’ll be unable to attack in the same manner as when Marcelo is in the side, and Essien’s lack of mobility means there is unlikely to be much in the tank for counter attacks from the on-loan Chelsea player.
Even with a defence that looks strong on paper, I believe Mallorca will cause Real Madrid a number of problems. Mallorca have been on a disappointing run of form recently, losing their last three games. However, Joaquin Caparros’ side have done reasonably well this season, picking up points against Valencia and Malaga. Tomer Hemed, their top scorer with six, is sure to be a handful for the Real Madrid defence. Giovani Dos Santos also played well during the team’s loss to Sevilla last week, assisting in both of Mallorca’s goals.
Mallorca v Real Madrid Betting Tips Verdict
The recent form of the home side shouldn’t predetermine the outcome of this game, especially since Real are not at their best either. Mallorca can be a difficult place to go to and alongside their lack of significant preparation following the trip to Germany in midweek, it’s difficult to see Real coming away with all three points.
- As mentioned, Tomer Hemed is in excellent form for Mallorca, having also scored five for his country during the recent international break. Back him to score at anytime @ 7/2 with SkyBet.
- Cristiano Ronaldo’s scoring form is also outstanding. Back him to score at anytime as well @ 1/2 with SkyBet.
- Real Madrid are biggest at 2/5 (Bet365, Blue Square, Ladbrokes) to win this while Mallorca are 8/1 (BetVictor, Stan James). But I’m keen on the draw for this match and advise at bet @ 15/4 (almost 4/1) with SkyBet. There is plenty of evidence to suggest this could be one of the upsets of Real Madrid’s season.