Real Madrid Starting XI Prediction vs. Espanyol for LaLiga’s Matchday 34

Real Madrid, Gareth Bale (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Gareth Bale (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Andriy Lunin
Real Madrid, Andriy Lunin (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images ) /

Real Madrid were able to stay in the Champions League semifinal with the hope of a second-leg Remontada intact, as they only lost 4-3 to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in the first leg.

With mounting injuries and fitness concerns, Los Merengues are expected to rotate heavily this Saturday afternoon when they face Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu before hosting City in the second leg next week on Wednesday night at the Bernabeu.

While Real Madrid need to recover, they won’t want to underestimate an Espanyol side that defeated them 2-1 earlier this season. But after Barcelona’s loss to Rayo Vallecano this weekend, Real are set to secure the LaLiga title.

Here is a starting lineup prediction for Los Blancos on Saturday afternoon vs. Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu in LaLiga.

GK Andriy Lunin

Thibaut Courtois has never rested in LaLiga this season, but it may be time for Andriy Lunin to finally get an opportunity in goal in the Spanish top flight. Lunin has acquitted himself well this season when called into action, operating in the Copa del Rey. This will be a big opportunity for him, but Madridistas have faith he can perform at a high level.

LB Marcelo

After being the team’s biggest liability these past two seasons, Marcelo has quietly turned things around in 2021/22. Perhaps we need to give Antonio Pintus a great deal of credit here in helping Marcelo carve out a role as a productive backup at left back. Ferland Mendy has been dealing with injury issues this season, so it is best for him to get the rest he needs before facing Riyad Mahrez in the second leg.

CB Rafa Marin

Real Madrid fans have been itching to see Rafa Marin – one of the club’s several highly impressive defensive prospects – get a chance at center back in the first team. Marin will finally get his time to shine this weekend against Espanyol, and he will be going up against a talented front three spearheaded by one of the best strikers in LaLiga, former Madridista Raul de Tomas. In Castilla, Marin is incredible, both on the ball and defensively. He will be watched closely by Madridistas.

CB Jesus Vallejo

At this point, Jesus Vallejo is auditioning for other clubs as a summer transfer. Antonio Rudiger is on his way to Madrid, and Vallejo has no place in the squad. Marin will take his place as a backup to the backups. Vallejo was once a top prospect in his own right and had a great run with Eintracht Frankfurt on loan, but he has fallen off the map in recent years. This is his last hurrah, so to speak.

RB Lucas Vazquez

Dani Carvajal had a couple of rough moments against Manchester City in the first leg, so rest is imperative for the oft-injured veteran. Lucas Vazquez is someone Carlo Ancelotti and Real Madrid can trust in this game against Espanyol.