After a week when a friend of mine in Scotland went on a blind date – he was told beforehand “I’d better warn you, she’s expecting a baby;” he felt a right numpty sitting in the Jaggy Thistle Bar wearing just a nappy and sucking a dummy – Real Mallorca head to southern Spain this weekend when they play Cadiz in their Nuevo Mirandilla stadium.
Kick off is 2 pm Sunday. The Andalucian side are third bottom of La Liga and have yet to win at home this season, most of their eight points coming from away games. They drew 3-3 against Villareal on Tuesday night with Anthony Lozano, the Honduras international, scoring a hat trick. Cadiz are coached by Alvaro Cervera who played for Real Mallorca for several seasons in the 1980s.
Today’s headline is all about our next four opponents, Cadiz (A), Elche (H), Rayo Vallecano (A) (they haven’t lost at home so far this season) and Getafe (H). With eight games left to play in the first half of the season, the so-called Mallorca league begins.
All the teams mentioned, like us, will probably be in a relegation dogfight come next May and these four teams are direct rivals. That also means coach Luis Garcia Plaza may well be forced to try different tactics as it’s time for his team to roll up their sleeves and prepare for a “slog-fest” against the unfashionable sides in La Primera.
In the last 12 days, Mallorca have been put to the test against superior opposition and in grounds where they inevitably choke.
In the three games just played, Real Sociedad 1-0, Valencia 2-2 and Sevilla 1-1, we should have got more than the two points out of a possible nine on offer.
The Palma side have won only one of their last eight games, against Levante at home, which doesn’t look good on paper but we’ve competed well against all these sides giving a good account of ourselves despite what the final score indicated. Our best performance was last Wednesday night in a thrilling game in the Son Moix against Sevilla, a team who are in the Champions League and at the moment are surely the fourth best team in La Liga after Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona. We had Sevilla on the ropes for long periods but worryingly didn’t manage to knock them out.
Injury time has turned into a nightmare for Real Mallorca.
Against Valencia we conceded in the 93rd and 97th minutes in a game that was shattering for us fans when we were two goals up before extra time. On Wednesday night Sevilla scored in the 94th minute with a goal that VAR disallowed.
As we reach match day 12 in La Liga Santander 2021/22, we have already played nearly all the historic/powerful first division teams, Betis, At. Bilbao, Villareal, Real Madrid, Real Sociedad, Valencia and Sevilla, of those who are theoretically going to be at the top only Atletico Madrid and a struggling Barcelona are to play Real Mallorca.
In reality the islanders have been excellent so far but the next four games could define our season as we play direct enemies. I think we can get 10 points from these four fixtures if we continue to play as we have done against the so-called “greats.”
I don’t see many changes for Sunday’s game from the side that gave Sevilla a big fright on Wednesday, although we welcome back from suspension Kang-In Lee and Battaglia. The only player we haven’t seen much of is 20 year-old American striker Matthew Hoppe who arrived from German side Schalke 04 in the Summer.
I keep reading rave reviews about the American international and last November he scored a hat trick in 21 minutes on his debut for Schalke.
He attracted the attention of Arsenal and Everton but he decided to come here after Mallorca paid just under 4 million euros for his services.
Apart from a few minutes against Betis and Real Madrid we haven’t seen anything of this guy who American soccer pundits have described as a player who “checks all the boxes and has been successful at every level he’s played.” Surely Hoppe, who’s the first American to play for Real Mallorca and is a proven goalscorer, should be given a chance to show what he can do – our goal tally is hardly pulling up any trees at the moment.
Like them or loathe them, Spanish referees are never far from controversy. There are 20 different referees in La Liga with 20 different criteria and there’s not one professional team that doesn’t complain about them week in week out.
But the Spanish “arbitros” for all their shenanigans are well paid professionals, the highest paid in the world, earning 250,000 euros a year! They used to earn 180,000 until they got a massive pay rise two seasons ago.
Even their assistants, linesmen/women, and fourth officials can trouser 70,000 euros a year while VAR referees sitting in Madrid enjoy a basic salary of 85,000 euros. So every time a referee has a bad game, he still gets 6K euros with his assistants getting 3K. Nice work if you can get it, even with all the abuse you get from fans.
AND FINALLY, at last a printable joke!! A husband calls his wife and says “Remember 30 years ago when we were really broke and we went window shopping and we saw that diamond necklace worth over £200,000?”
Intrigued, his wife answers “Yes, I remember that necklace, you promised me that one day when you were rich enough you would buy me that necklace.” The husband carries on “Do you remember the location of the jewellery shop?” Excited, the wife replies “Yes I do, Babe, I remember exactly where it is.”
“Good,” the husband continues, “because I’ve been on the lash all afternoon with some mates in a pub that’s just next door to that jewellery shop and I need you to come and pick me up because I’m too p****d to drive!!”