Real Mallorca v RCD Espanyol
La Liga, Jornada #1
Sunday 28th August 2011, 5pm kick off BST
All of the attention focused in Catalonia usually belongs to FC Barcelona, but it would be doing Espanyol a disservice to believe they are just ‘the other team’ in Catalonia. With the likes of Luís García, Juan Albín, Carlos Kameni and former Mallorca right-back Felipe Mattioni – Espanyol must be respected.
Despite the strength in players in which Espanyol have, they tend to be rather unpredictable. Despite a poor away record in the early stages of last season, they came away from the Iberostar Estadi with a 1-0 win after a controversial penalty was converted by captain Luís García. But in the reverse back in El Prat de Llobregat, Mallorca overturned a 1-0 deficit to beat Espanyol 2-1 with goals from Nsue and Webó.
The squad announcement sees a first senior appearance for the talented Yeray Gómez, who is expected to warm the bench on Sunday with the absence of former-Hércules goalkeeper Juan Calatayud. They are also, ofcourse, without captain José Nunes who has now had an operation on his cruciate ligament tear in his left knee. The latest reports expect Nunes to only be out for three months, however.
There will also be no João Victor. There have been no reports stating the Brazilian midfielder is injured, but he has been left out of the squad. Aki Ienaga also misses out for an unknown reason.
‘Tomorrow there will be many new players. Half of the lineup will be new players. The first game will be important for them to get to know each other and themselves,’ Laudrup told the club’s official website. ‘But there are points at stake. What have to get some points on the board and it should start tomorrow considering it is a home game and we need to start strong.’
With that in mind, the 4-4-2 that lined up against Napoli is likely to be axed in favour of the more defensive 4-2-3-1 in the hope of getting points on the table early. Chico will replace the injured Nunes in central defence.
The midfield has a little bit more unpredictability to it. And it will mainly depend upon whether Laudrup will trust Hemed up front. If he doesn’t, Nsue or Alfaro could be given the role and either Castro could occupy a wing or Pina will come into central midfield for Tejera to take the wingers role. It’s a fresh dilemma for Laudrup. He has options.
The only thing not up for questioning is whether Jonathan de Guzmán will start. Despite the rumours and talks about Villarreal, he still played against Napoli. Laudrup has said all the talk has not affected the player. ‘He has trained every day, despite the rumours, of which he has contributed, with no problems at all.’ The Dane went onto say, ‘but [despite everything that has happened] I maintain that I believe he will be with us all season. I have no problems selecting him as a starter tomorrow.’
Zuiverloon – Ramis – Chico – Cáceres
Martí – Tejera
Nsue – de Guzmán – Alfaro
Goalkeepers: Aouate, Yeray.
Defenders: Zuiverloon, Cendrós, Ramis, Chico, Martí Crespí, Cáceres, Kevin.
Midfielders: Pina, Martí, Tejera, Nsue, Alfaro, de Guzmán, Castro.
Strikers: Víctor, Hemed.