Real Madrid vs Mallorca: Match preview

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Real Madrid return to action after the holidays and will take on Mallorca in their first match of the year. Los Blancos sit at the top of the table and, with multiple players returning from injuries, they would look to begin their year with a victory.

Match details

Date: Wednesday, 3rd January 2024

Competition: La Liga

Matchday: 19

Time: 20:15 CEST

Venue: Santiago Bernabeu

Match preview

A 10-man Real Madrid secured a crucial 0-1 victory against Alaves after a stoppage-time header by Lucas Vazquez in their last La Liga match before the Christmas break. They now take on 14th-place Mallorca at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The victory took the Merengues to the top of the table, as they have the same number of points as Girona, but a superior goal difference than the Catalan club.

Meanwhile, Mallorca secured just their 3rd victory of the season with a 3-2 scoreline against Osasuna at home before the break. Offensively, they have been poor this season, scoring just 17 goals – just a few more than Alavés (14), Càdiz (14), Las Palmas (15), and Rayo Vallecano (16).

Defensively, Mallorca have been decent, conceding 22 goals. It would not be a surprise if they keep a low block against Real Madrid, considering they do have the attributes to do so.

The Merengues also do seem to struggle against such sides and were on the verge of dropping points against Aláves but were bailed out with a stoppage-time winner.

Carlo Ancelotti, in the pre-match press conference, has already named Andriy Lunin as the starting goalkeeper: “Kepa has flu and has not trained in the last few days, and therefore Lunin starts,” he said.

Furthermore, the Italian manager has also reaffirmed that the club will not go for any center-back in the ongoing winter transfer window. “I repeat again, we will not sign a center-back,” he mentioned at the press conference.

According to MARCA, Aurèlien Tchouaméni has given his approval to Ancelotti to play as the center-back and help the club during the injury crisis. Expectedly, Tchouameni will start alongside Rüdiger in defence.

Dani Carvajal returns from injury and would slot straight into the lineup. Ferland Mendy did not train with the team due to a minor discomfort, hence Fran García will take his place as the left-back.

The midfield of Toni Kroos, Luka Modrić, and Fede Valverde are expected to keep their place in the lineup, with the Uruguayan being the engine of the midfield.

Madridistas may also get a first look at Arda Güler on the field in this match. He has been named in the matchday squad and Carlo has indicated that he may get his first minutes off the bench.

The Englishman, Jude Bellingham will undoubtedly start as the number 10 and would look to continue his stellar form this season. Although he had a quiet game against Aláves, Jude would look to have his name on the scoresheet again, as he has done 17 times already this season.

Vinícius Júnior has had an early recovery and looks 100% fit to start this match. His expected return was the Spanish Super Cup, but it will come earlier as the Brazilian would likely start upfront along with his fellow countryman, Rodrygo.

Real Madrid would like to pick up from where they left off before the break and entertain the Bernabeu crowd and fans around the world. The men in white would look to ensure a comfortable victory and maintain their position as the league leaders.

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