After a week when on Wednesday in the Saracen’s Head pub in Glasgow, customers were seen running and screaming into the street – no, it wasn’t a fire, somebody had played an Adele track on the juke box! – Real Mallorca have only had three days to lick their wounds (before today’s game in the Son Moix at 18:30 against Getafe) after their embarrassing 3-1 defeat at Rayo Vallecano last Monday night.
That performance was described by under-pressure coach Luis Garcia Plaza as the worst he’d seen in his 18 months in charge.
The local media have had a field day picking the bones out of our display as Mallorca are now only four points away from the relegation zone after 14 games.
The team have only won once in 11 games and we’re “living off” the seven points we put together in the first three games of the season. Our last win was at home to Levante on October 2.
Tonight’s game will see LGP back in his technical area after serving a two-game suspension. There’s no doubt in my mind his return to the “fray” will make all the difference to team morale.
Against Rayo we were like rabbits in the headlights and we didn’t know what hit us.
There was a slight improvement when Amath and Abdon came on and I think both of these players should be given the starting “nod” tonight.
Some good news for Mallorca is that Take Kubo is available for selection after recovering from a knee injury that kept him sidelined for over two months.
On Monday night the only Mallorca player who earned his crust was Kang In Lee and I for one can’t wait to see the South Korean and the Japanese Kubo play together.
We need to compete more because if you don’t in this league, you’re dead!
Too many players on Monday night just didn’t turn up.
Players like Battaglia, Fer Niño and Antonio Sanchez failed to take advantage of their selection opportunities and centre back Russo, after a good start, has seen his form decline. Galarreta is another who’s recently been a shadow of the player he was a month ago. Even goalkeeper/captain Manolo Reina has looked shaky and he could have done better with Rayo’s opener.
Stripped of its leader, Antonio Raillo (who’s now well on the road to a full recovery after ankle surgery and is expected back playing in February), from the first game of the season our defence are beginning to creak.
Even the normally Mr Reliable Martin Valjent is struggling as we have the third worst goals conceded stat in La Liga (22). Only Cadiz (23) and Levante (25) are worse off.
We’ve been unlucky with injuries and suspensions, and we’ve given away more penalties than any other team and have been shown the most yellow and red cards.
In attack we’re averaging a goal a game, lacking that “killer” in the penalty area. Angel Rodriguez has looked a good player but needs to start troubling the net more. Spanish under 21 player Fer Niño blows hot and cold.
That leaves Abdon Prats, our so-called third striker.
He’s a huge favourite with the fans, not only because he’s Mallorcan from Arta, but for the memorable third goal he scored in our stunning play-off win against Deportivo in 2019. Abdon always gives 100% and the fact that he scored his first goal in La Liga on Monday night should in itself boost his confidence, and maybe now he can be a starting regular.
One player who’s failed to live up to expectations is Argentinian Rodrigo Battaglia.
He was signed from Alaves last Summer where he was their player of the year and he’s supposed to be a natural replacement for Baba.
LGP started the season with 26 players and a notable part of the squad have seen their game participation fade away, although they’ll probably get a kick in next week’s Copa del Rey game. That means players like Febas, Lago Junior and Mboula will start against Gimnastica Segoviana.
T he bane of watching modern football for me is this passing-out-from-the-back malarkey. It’s a case of the old traditionalists (like me) against the innovators (them).
The former think defenders are there just to defend and get rid of the ball at all costs whereas the latter prefer their defenders to be more like attackers.
On Tuesday night in the Champions League, Villareal played Man. Utd. The Villareal ’keeper Rulli got in a real “two and eight” losing possession in his penalty area, the ball was intercepted and Ronaldo chipped in an easy opener.
Passing out from a goal kick is all very well if you have the quality of players who can carry the manoeuvre off comfortably. When Mallorca do it I get the heebijeebies, we always seem to fiddle about with the ball too long, putting players under unnecessary pressure.
When I played for the Auchterchoocty primary school in the dark ages, we were always told to stop fannying about in defence and lump it up the other end! So please just get rid of the ball and stop trying to do what you can’t!
AND FINALLY, Letter of the week – an apology:
Actor Eddie Redmayne apologised for playing a transgender character in the 2015 movie The Danish Girl, a role which many liberal transgender vegans believe should have been given to a genuine transgender actor.
I would like to apologise for my portrayal of the innkeeper in my primary school nativity play circa 1965. Clearly, I was neither from Nazareth nor did I hold any kind of licence to serve alcohol!