Real Mallorca – Espanyol: Both teams look to improve after underwhelming seasons

Iberostar Estadi, Palma de Mallorca

Real Mallorca will face Espanyol on the opening day of the delayed La Liga season without club captain Jose Nunes who is out for several months with a knee injury. It is another setback for the club who have had to work to a strict budget this summer in an attempt to improve on last season’s disappointing campaign.

Coach Michael Laudrup is battling to keep hold of highly-rated midfielder Jonathan de Guzman with Villarreal still keen on taking the 23-year-old to El Madrigal. Laudrup himself has received criticism for failing to halt his team’s decline in form in the second half of last season which left them just one point from safety.

Espanyol also finished poorly last season losing four out of their last five games but they still managed to finish 8th and for much of the season looked to be challenging for a European place. The loss of Jose Maria Callejon to Real Madrid and Pablo Daniel Osvaldo to Roma has been a blow for the Blanquiblaus but the €22m recouped will go some way to ease the pain.

Coach Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping to get his hands on some of the much-needed cash to strengthen before the transfer window closes but with some shrewd budget signings already under his belt, he must fancy his chances of coming away with at least a point against the islanders.

Real Mallorca (4-2-3-1): Dudu; Zuiverloon, Marti Crespi, Ramis, Caceres; Mart

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