After three back-to-back home games that included a lethargic 0-0 draw against Villarreal and an embarrassing 1-2 loss to FC Sheriff, Real Madrid will finally be in action on the road against Espanyol. The Catalan side hosts Los Blancos for the eighth Matchday of the League in a game where Real Madrid will be expected to put the last month’s woes behind and start off with a good victory.
Espanyol has only won one out of their seven games so far in the league. They have had the same number of losses and draws, three each. Facing a side like that is always tricky. The test is always psychological and Espanyol is credited to steal points at the very end and be party spoilers. As such, here are the keys for Los Blancos to see them through with a victory and say goodbye to the bad patch of form they have been in for the last two games at home.
Former Madrid-man Raul de Tomas, who found his way back to Spain in January 2020, has been flying high for the Catalans so far in the league. He already has a team-high two goals and an assist. Per WhoScored, he also has two MOTM performances under his belt. Espanyol has only scored four goals so far and de Tomas has been involved in three of them, which is a high rate of goal involvements.
Raul’s game down the flanks is very strong. He has been the side’s main man forward in charge of both finishing and creative duties. His cutbacks and crosses have been world-class, he almost always finds a teammate in the box. Espanyol was using a two-striker system with de Tomas and one of Wu Lei or Landry Dimata joining him on the right. However, in the recent games, de Tomas has been the sole striker upfront with wing-backs and central midfielders combining with him in the attack.
The new setup has brought goals for their side, which otherwise were non-existent in their play. However, the setup does compromise a stable midfield shape and can lead to space opening up for their opponents. The key must be to stop de Tomas in his tracks and win the ball to lead counters. The Espanyol defense has opened up quite a bit in recent matches and Real Madrid’s new style of play can cause them trouble.