After a week when Katie Price asked Newcastle United if they wanted the points from her driving licence! – Real Mallorca bring what’s been an excellent footballing year to a close on Sunday afternoon at 14:00 when they play Granada in their Los Carmenes stadium.
The Andalucian side are four points behind us in 15th place on 16 points and have won three games at home. They lost to lowly Mancha Real 1-0 in the Copa del Rey on Thursday night, and are not the force they were last season.
You have to go back 11 years to find Mallorca with so many points (20) at this stage of the season and it means we’re more or less halfway towards our ultimate goal of 40-ish points. That figure is usually enough to stay another season in top flight Spanish football although there are exceptions such as the 2010/11 campaign when 45 points were necessary. A week past Friday hurricane Barra whistled around and through the Son Moix as we played out a dull 0-0 draw against Celta Vigo.
The game showed the enormous deficiencies we have in the attacking department and the need to bring in a quality proven centre forward next month is now clearer than ever.
Kang In Lee is an outstanding talent but he’s only scored the once. Take Kubo scored against Atletico Madrid but he’s not a prolific net buster, and between them Angel, Abdon, Fer Niño and Matthew Hoppe, our recognised strike force, have mustered only five La Liga goals. Despite our lack of ammunition, I’m taking Mallorca to come away from Los Carmenes with all three points.
We come back after a two-week festive break with our biggest home test of the season when “ailing giants” Barcelona are the visitors on Sunday, January 2 at 9pm. The club have confirmed ticket prices for the game and they are eye-watering, ranging from 140€ to 250€. Hiking prices for games against Barcelona and Real Madrid used to be called a “Day of the Club” when season ticket holders had to queue up and buy a ticket at extra expense.
It’s now standard practice for games against the so-called “Big two” to see ticket prices go through the roof, but these latest fees follow a worrying trend. The charges are causing an attendance issue in Spain due to the current season ticket scenario.
Many sides, including Real Mallorca, offer season tickets for an affordable price which when you check out the single game prices against Barcelona and Real Madrid (here on March 13) makes the season ticket a no-brainer.
As a result we’re seeing a swathe of empty seats across La Liga grounds with many fans having no intention of going to games against less attractive sides. Fans who didn’t buy season tickets, preferring to go to single games, are then priced out of the bigger games.
If you intend coming to the Barca game, I suggest you get to the Son Moix well before the 9 pm kick off. Parking will be a nightmare as will trying to drive home afterwards. Entrance to the ground will be noticeably held up because of the new digital ticketing system (QR codes) on mobile devices being processed at the turnstiles.
MALLORCA BEAT LLANERA 0-6
Mallorca had a 0-6 goalfest on Thursday night when they battered fourth tier Asturian side Llanera to book their place in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey.
All our goals came in the second half from Sedlar (2), Mboula, Gaya, Llabres and Angel Rodriguez. Coach Luis Garcia Plaza selected a side full of “benchwarmers” leaving the regulars wrapped up with a view to today’s game. Against modest opposition Mallorca waited for the part-timers to wear themselves out before finishing them off in the second half. In this type of game where the higher category side are forced to play on regional pitches with an artificial surface, the important thing is to get through to the next round with as little hassle as possible. The 0-6 trouncing was our biggest away winning margin in the club’s 105 year history in all competitions.
On a negative note, there are still players who are far from even the minimum level that must be required of a Mallorca player. Aleix Febas falls into that bracket after yet another lacklustre performance. The young Catalan looks likely to be on his way to a loan spell next month.
In the next round, Mallorca drew the short straw and got the one team they didn’t want – Basque side Eibar. They’re riding high in joint second place in La Segunda with promotion back to La Liga very much in their sights.
Their leading scorer is the Mallorcan loanee Stoichkov, who’s scored 10 goals this season and will be “super motivated” to add to that tally against us – it’s a definite “banana skin” for the islanders. The game has been scheduled to start in the Ipurua on Wednesday January 5 (the eve of Three Kings at 16:00 hrs).
There was a stunning cup win for At. Baleares who hammered La Liga strugglers, 10-man Getafe 5-0. The Via Cintura side now play Celta Vigo in Palma. Two thousand squeezed into the tiny Sa Plana ground to see Andratx gallantly going down 5-6 on penalties to La Liga giants Sevilla after the game finished 1-1 AET.
The Andritxol team, made up of young men from the town who perform various jobs in the morning and train in the afternoon, resisted as long as they could in what was a valiant effort in a game the town and its inhabitants will never forget.
AND FINALLY, a Christmas stocking filler. I see there’s a new Now that’s what I call music Christmas album. It’s the Ultimate Tory Party Album and some of the bumper tracks include: Do they know it’s Christmas crime at all? Arrest those Tory gentlemen; Last Christmas I gave you my word; It’s my party and I’ll lie if I want to and The most wonderful crime of the year!