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Real Madrid vs Espanyol final MATCH Live Football Score 30/04/2022

Real Madrid have been, by a distance, the best team in La Liga this season, winning 24, drawing six and losing three of their 33 matches to collect 78 points, which has left them 15 points ahead of second-placed Barcelona. As a result, a point against Espanyol on Sunday would be enough for them to be confirmed as Spanish champions for the 35th time in their history and allow them to enter their final four league games of the season against Atletico Madrid, Levante, Cadiz and Real Betis under no pressure.

Los Blancos have work to do in the Champions League semi-finals, though, following their 4-3 defeat to Man City in the first leg on Tuesday night; in truth, the La Liga outfit could have been blown away in the first half, but they managed to stay in the clash, with Karim Benzema netting twice during another brilliant performance. The second leg of the last-four clash takes place at Bernabeu next Wednesday, so it will be fascinating to see how head coach Carlo Ancelotti approaches this match, with the Italian looking to balance keeping his players fresh with potentially suffering a morale-damaging result.

Real Madrid will win La Liga regardless of what happens against Espanyol this weekend, but they will fancy their chances of getting the job done in front of their own supporters, with the capital giants boasting the best home record in Spain’s top flight this term, picking up 37 points from 16 matches, while the league leaders are currently on a run of four straight league victories. Espanyol will be hoping to spoil the party this weekend, but the Catalan outfit will enter the match off the back of a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Rayo Vallecano on April 21. A total of 39 points from 33 matches has left Vicente Moreno’s side in 13th position in the table, nine points clear of the relegation zone, so they are going to be a top-flight side again next term unless something incredible happens in the final weeks of the campaign.

Espanyol won last season’s Segunda Division to secure an immediate return to this level, and they should be looking up the division rather than down, sitting just three points behind 10th-placed Valencia. The White and Blues have struggled away from home this season, though, picking up just eight points from 16 matches, which is the third-worst record in the division, while they have won just once on their travels. Espanyol actually beat Real Madrid 2-1 when the two teams locked horns for the reverse match back in October, but they suffered a 2-0 defeat on their last visit to Bernabeu in December 2019 and will certainly be the underdogs heading into this weekend’s clash in the capital.

Real Madrid boss Ancelotti has big decisions to make this weekend in terms of rotation, with the Spanish giants welcoming Man City to Bernabeu for the second leg of their European Cup semi-final next week. Los Blancos will be hoping that both David Alaba and Casemiro can start the second leg following their injury problems, so it would be a huge surprise to see either this weekend, while Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy are also likely to be rested. Nacho and Eder Militao are both suspended, so Jesus Vallejo could feature alongside Rafa Marin in the middle of the defence.

Luka Modric could also drop out of the midfield to allow Eduardo Camavinga to start, but Ancelotti’s biggest call involves Benzema, who has enjoyed a remarkable campaign for the club. The France international has had his injury problems in recent weeks, so it would not be a surprise to see him start on the bench, with Rodrygo, Marco Asensio and Vinicius Junior potentially playing as a front three. Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Mariano Diaz are all likely to miss out once again through injury. Espanyol, meanwhile, will be without Keidi Bare due to a knee injury, but the visitors are otherwise in excellent shape, and they will certainly be the fresher of the two teams heading into the contest.

Head coach Moreno is likely to resist the temptation to shuffle his pack from the defeat to Rayo last time out, with a front three again set to include leading goalscorer Raul de Tomas, in addition to Javi Puado and Tonny Vilhena. Bare’s absence could see Manu Morlanes feature in central midfield, but it might otherwise be the same starting XI from the team’s last game, with Aleix Vidal and Adria Pedrosa continuing in the full-back areas.

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