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Espanyol vs Real Madrid predictions: Los Blancos a cut above new-look hosts
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Chris Rivers
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It has been a drama-free start to the season for Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid
It has been a drama-free start to the season for Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid

Life on the road seems to suit Real Madrid after opening LaLiga with back-to-back away wins and they are expected to pick up another three points when they travel to Espanyol on Sunday.

With Real's Bernabeu base undergoing construction work, Los Blancos are playing their first three league games away from home but are yet to be adversely affected by the move.

Luka Modric inspired the European champions to a 4-1 win at Celta Vigo in their last outing and a trip to the RCDE Stadium to face a struggling Espanyol side should hold little fear.

It's been a tough start to the season for Espanyol, who have taken one point from their first two matches, stretching their winless run in league competition to nine games in the process.

The Catalans are in need of some inspiration but do not need to look far to find some having recorded a shock 2-1 win over Real the last time they came to town.

Team news

Real boss Carlo Ancelotti can call upon Toni Kroos with the German midfielder having recovered from the illness that kept him out of the win at Celta Vigo.

Rodrygo could also return after missing the first two games with a muscle injury but Nacho, Alvaro Odriozola and Jesus Vallejo have all been ruled out.

Casemiro has now left Los Blancos to join Manchester United and Ancelotti has ruled out signing a replacement before the transfer window closes.

Espanyol will not be able to call upon Sergi Gomez's services after he was sent-off in last weekend's 2-0 defeat to Rayo Vallecano.

Toni Kroos' return to fitness should fill some of the void left by Casemiro's Real Madrid departure
Toni Kroos' return to fitness should fill some of the void left by Casemiro's Real Madrid departure

Pol Lozano, Raul de Tomas and Adria Pedrosa missed the loss to Rayo and their status remains uncertain but this week's new signings Jose Carlos Lazo and Dani Gomez are expected to be involved in some capacity.

The stats

Real Madrid's 2-1 defeat at Espanyol last season was their second loss in the last four visits. However, Los Blancos still hold a dominant head-to-head record, winning 16 of the previous 18 meetings between the teams.

The reigning Spanish champions have opened their season with wins at Almeria and Celta Vigo, making it seven wins from their last nine LaLiga away games.

However, they have only kept two clean sheets during that run, conceding in each of their last seven away games, while they've secured just one shutout from their last four visits to the RCDE Stadium.

Espanyol are winless in four at home after defeat to Rayo Vallecano but had a strong record on home soil last year, taking 33 of their 42 points in front of their supporters.

Only Getafe (six) have conceded more goals than Espanyol (four) across the opening two games of the season and the Parakeets' defence will be wary of facing Karim Benzema, who has netted in four of his last five games against the Catalans.

Prediction

There's been little in Espanyol's first two performances to suggest that they can repeat last year's famous win.

Head coach Diego Martinez has overseen a huge summer overhaul of the squad. With 16 players leaving and nine arriving, and it could take time for the new-look team to gel.

In contrast, Real have a very settled side, one that's allowed them to ease into the season with two trouble-free wins.

Sunday's game is a great opportunity to maintain their 100% start but with Casemiro gone, they do look a little more vulnerable and Espanyol are capable of grabbing a consolation.

Tags

LaLigaReal MadridEspanyol
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