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Oct 3, 2021 at 3.15pm UK
Real MadridReal Madrid
de Tomas (17'), Vidal (60')
Embarba (11'), Gil (79')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Benzema (71')
Camavinga (29')

Preview: Espanyol vs. Real Madrid - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Espanyol vs. Real Madrid - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's La Liga clash between Espanyol and Real Madrid, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Real Madrid will be looking to bounce back from their surprise 2-1 home loss to Sheriff Tiraspol in the Champions League when they continue their La Liga campaign away to Espanyol on Sunday afternoon.

Los Blancos were shocked by their Moldovan opponents at the Bernabeu on Tuesday, while Espanyol will also enter the match off the back of a defeat, having lost 2-0 to Sevilla in the league last weekend.

Match preview

Espanyol were relegated from La Liga at the end of 2019-20, as they picked up just 25 points from 38 matches during a disastrous campaign, but the club secured an immediate return by winning last season's Segunda Division, and they will now be looking to consolidate at this level once again.

A record of one win, three draws and three defeats from seven La Liga matches this season has seen the Catalan outfit collect six points, which has left them in 14th position in the table.

Espanyol's first win of the campaign came at home to Alaves on September 22, with Raul de Tomas finding the back of the net from the penalty spot in the 54th minute of the contest.

However, Vicente Moreno's side could not build on the victory, as they lost 2-0 at Sevilla last Saturday, and the White and Blues now have another tough fixture before the international break.

Espanyol have lost 13 of their last 14 La Liga matches against Real Madrid, but they did record a 1-0 victory over the capital giants on home soil during the 2017-18 campaign.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, will enter the match off the back of a 2-1 home loss to Sheriff in the Champions League on Tuesday night; Carlo Ancelotti's side recovered from a first-half setback to level the scores in the 65th minute, but Sebastien Thill struck an 89th-minute winner for the tournament debutants.

The result will go down as one of the biggest shocks in the history of the Champions League, but Los Blancos did win away to Inter Milan in their section opener, while a positive start to their La Liga campaign has left them top of the table, having picked up 17 points from seven matches.

Real Madrid were held to a goalless draw by Villarreal at the Bernabeu last weekend but have been strong on their travels this term, beating Alaves, Real Betis and Valencia, in addition to drawing with Levante, during an unbeaten start, which has helped them to the summit.

Ancelotti's team have a busy end to October, as they will take on Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona, Osasuna and Elche in the league, in addition to facing Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, and it will be fascinating to see what the Whites can achieve this term.

Real Madrid might be able to open up a healthy gap over champions Atletico Madrid this weekend, as Diego Simeone's side host Barcelona, but second-placed Real Sociedad and third-placed Sevilla are currently the closest challengers to the 34-time La Liga champions in the table.

Espanyol La Liga form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L

Real Madrid La Liga form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

Real Madrid form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L

Team News

Espanyol will be without the services of Miguel Llambrich and Javier Puado this weekend through injury, while Oier Olazabal, Fernando Calero and Yangel Herrera remain doubts for the home side.

Head coach Moreno is expected to make changes to the team that started against Sevilla, with Aleix Vidal potentially moving into an advanced area alongside De Tomas and Adri Embarba.

David Lopez and Manu Morlanes are also pushing to be involved in the middle of the park, meaning that Wu Lei and Fran Merida could drop out for the Catalan side.

As for Real Madrid, Dani Ceballos, Gareth Bale, Marcelo, Ferland Mendy and Dani Carvajal will all be unavailable for selection this weekend through injury, while Marco Asensio, Isco and Mariano Diaz have also been left out of the squad.

Ancelotti is expected to make changes from the side that started against Sheriff, with Rodrygo, Toni Kroos and Lucas Vazquez all in line for starting roles on Sunday.

Federico Valverde could just get the nod over Luka Modric in the middle, while Vazquez's potential introduction might see Nacho switch across to the left-back position.

Eden Hazard found it difficult to make his mark against Sheriff, and the Belgium international is unlikely to keep hold of his starting spot for Sunday's La Liga contest.

Espanyol possible starting lineup:
Diego Lopez; Gil, Cabrera, Gomez, Pedrosa; David Lopez, Darder, Morlanes; Vidal, De Tomas, Embarba

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Vazquez, Militao, Alaba, Nacho; Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos; Vinicius, Benzema, Rodrygo

We say: Espanyol 1-2 Real Madrid

Espanyol would surely rather that Real Madrid triumphed against Sheriff, as there could be a strong reaction from Los Blancos this weekend. We are expecting a close match, as Espanyol have a lot of talent, but Ancelotti's side should do enough to put another three points on the board.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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