Real Madrid v Espanyol preview

Real Madrid will seek to pick up from where they left off against Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday night when Espanyol visit the Bernabeu on Saturday.

Los Blancos were imperious when defeating the Italians 3-0 in midweek but dropped points against Athletic Bilbao last time out in La Liga.

Espanyol are sitting pretty in fourth ahead of their trip to the capital and got the better of their more illustrious rivals the last time they met. However, that is their only win over Real in the last 21 meetings, while their last win at the Bernabeu came 22 years ago.

Bernabeu a house of horrors for Espanyol

Given the head-to-head record and the gulf in class between the two teams, it is no surprise Real start as 1.20 favourites for the points, with Espanyol 16.25 to end their long wait for a win in Madrid.

While a famous victory might well be beyond them, just one goal would count as a success given how poorly they have performed in recent games at the Bernabeu, Real winning the last four matches to nil.

A continuation of that pattern with Real to win to zero is priced at 2.05 and that looks a good price given they have only conceded once at home in the last four in all competitions. Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane form a domineering central defensive partnership with Casemiro or the improving Dani Ceballos providing the midfield screen.

At the other end, they don’t appear to be missing Cristiano Ronaldo yet. Julen Lopetegui’s side have been free-scoring, notching 11 in their first four matches in La Liga, while Gareth Bale is relishing his new role as the team’s talisman.

The Wales international has scored 10 in his last 11 appearances at the Bernabeu and is 1.54 to net anytime on Saturday.

Top spot on offer to Real

Last week’s 1-1 draw at Bilbao was the first time Real have dropped points this season but they were back to their best with their demolition job of Roma in Europe.

The Champions League does seem to bring the best out of Los Blancos and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they had more trouble overcoming Espanyol.

Should they pick up the three points then they will go top of the table with rivals Barcelona not playing until Sunday.

Travel sickness still hurting Periquitos

Espanyol have made a decent start to life under new coach Rubi, winning two of their first four matches. Both those triumphs have come at the RCDE Stadium though, taking just one point on their travels.

Their inability to perform on the road last season was their Achilles heel and they have now won just four of the last 19 away matches in La Liga.

Despite a change in manager during the summer, Espanyol continue to look fairly resolute at the back and have conceded less than two goals in 17 of their last 19 league matches. Under 2.5 total goals is priced at 2.85 and that appeals given the history of the two sides.