It is often said that 7 days is a long time in politics, never more so in these times of Brexit. Two weeks have proved to be a very long time in football for RCD Mallorca, who prepare for their game at Son Moix against Real Zaragoza on Monday night.
Following RCD Mallorca’s disappointment against ten men Vs Elche, their play off hopes seemed to be in tatters. However, the following two game weeks were a thing of perfection and saw the Vermillion pick up all six points against promotion rivals whilst other sides dropped points, catapulting them back into the play offs.
Even the most optimistic of RCD Mallorca fans would not have predicted victory away from home against UD Las Palmas, previously unbeaten this season in the Canaries. Six points and defeats for their rivals has seen RCD Mallorca return to the much coveted play off places.
With more away games remaining than home, the challenge still remains a tough one to cement their place in the play offs for RCD Mallorca. They will be hoping that their home form stays steady and that they can continue their attacking play shown in Las Palmas, adding more points here and there between now and June.
Monday night football makes its way to Son Moix for the first time this season and there is a fan protest expected with supporter’s groups urging fans not to enter their seats before the 5th minute. President of the RFEF, Luis Rubiales,has already tweeted that Monday football will not go ahead next season as «the fans are more important than money». Nothing has been formally confirmed as yet by the league.
With RCD Mallorca on a roll of positive results and an occasional bad habit of conceding early goals, supporters will be hoping that their protest doesn’t negatively impact upon the team. With crowds at Son Moix lower than expected this season and more likely to stay away due to the schedule on Monday, it is uncertain how clear it will be that there is a protest taking place and how many fans will have just voted with their feet.
Unlike in the UK, midweek games are alien to Spanish football outside of Europe and the Copa Del Rey. This popular uprising against Monday games is understandable and as an English football fan I can attest to the fact that the universal hatred of midweek football is not a phenomenon unique to Spain.
Monday’s game will be anything but a dead rubber for Real Zaragoza. They are 7 points above safety as it stands but it is the turn of 4th bottom Extremadura to take an automatic 3 points for their game this weekend against the expelled Reus. If they fail to take anything from Son Moix then their advantage will be cut to only 4 points by midnight Monday.
Real Zaragoza have recently gone to top two sides Granada and Osasuna and lost only one nil, demonstrating that they can have a resilient streak where necessary. RCD Mallorca have, in the past, struggled to win against stubborn sides who get men behind the ball, as seen in the draw with CD Elche, and an early goal will change the complexion of the game.
Vermillion fans will sit and watch as the weekend’s results unfold, hoping and praying for poor results for their promotion rivals. With only Cadiz looking to have a straight forward home victory on the cards, it seems that there will be plenty of dropped points this weekend. It is for RCD Mallorca to capitalise on that and close the round of fixtures positively.
Having managed to break their duck with their first away win of 2019, Mallorca must ensure that they back it up with a victory at Son Moix. Nothing less will do.
Real Mallorca Team News
Vicente Moreno has a whole host of riches to choose from for Monday’s game, but again must make some difficult decisions. Will he decide to bring the lively Aridai Cabrera back into the side for Leo Suarez? Has Baba done enough to keep his central midfield spot ahead of Marc Pedraza? I fully expect that Aridai and Baba will make the starting line up.
Real Zaragoza Team News
Top scorer with 8 goals, Alvaro Vasquez , has missed the last two games after sustaining a small leg break. He returned to training with the squad this week and the extra couple of days to the Monday kick off may be just what he needs in order to return to the line up. Simone Grippo has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and will be out for at least 6 months.
Captain Alberto Zapater has missed training this week with pain and discomfort through tendinitis. Despite missing training, it is likely that the midfielder will take his place and play through the pain. Centre forward, Miguel Linares, has also missed training but is expected to be available for selection.
RCD Mallorca go into the game unbeaten in 5 games and starting to gather some positive momentum behind their push for the top six. They remain unbeaten at Son Moix since the beginning of December vs Malaga. The Vermillion have lost only twice at Son Moix all season and dropped a solitary 12 points at home to date (2 defeats and 3 draws).
Real Zaragoza continue their patchy form, winning last time out against Elche, 1-0 at home. Their away record reads won 4, drawn 4, lost 7, showing that they can get a result on the road. Real Zaragoza have recently gone to top two sides Granada and Osasuna and lost only one nil, demonstrating that they do have a resilient streak.
Real Zaragoza will show their resilient side, getting players behind the ball in numbers, a tactic that RCD Mallorca often struggle to break down. I expect that, eventually, RCD Mallorca will break Real Zaragoza down, the game won by a solitary goal.
RCD Mallorca 1 – 0 Real Zaragoza
CD Tenerife (a)
Predicted – Win
Result- 2-2 Draw
Elche CF (h)
Predicted – 2-1 Win
Result – 1-1 Draw
Real Oviedo (h)
Predicted – 1-1 Draw
Result – 1-0
UD Las Palmas (a)