Real Madrid are looking to close the gap in the La Liga title race to six points when they take on Espanyol in Saturday’s early kick off at the Santiago Bernabeu.
With Barcelona not taking on Athletic Club until Sunday, Carlo Ancelotti’s have the chance to close in on their El Clasico rivals. However, the Blaugrana’s city rivals will be hoping to stop them doing so.
With their Champions League last 16 second leg against Liverpool on the horizon, Carlo Ancelotti could make sweeping changes for Los Blancos, but the Italian is not expected to do so, although Karim Benzema will need to be replaced in attack. Sport expect Federico Valverde to move forward with Luka Modric to start, while Marca believe that Marco Asensio will return to the starting eleven.
Toni Kroos is expected to be on the bench for Real Madrid, with Dani Ceballos in contention to start, having done so scarcely in the last few weeks.
Espanyol travel to the Spanish capital on fairly good form, although they did lose to Real Valladolid in their previous match. Diego Martinez will hope that his forward duo of Martin Braithwaite and Joselu can get the better of Thibaut Courtois, who has conceded just once in his last six La Liga games.
Real Madrid will certainly have an eye of Wednesday’s match against Liverpool, but victory against Espanyol is essential as they look to stay in the La Liga title race.