Real Mallorca fans are hoping for an improved performance on Sunday at 5pm in the Son Moix when they face table-topping Numancia. It’s vital we start putting in better displays after our wretched 3-1 defeat in Bilbao a week ago, and the less said about Thursday’s Cup exit, the better!
Numancia from the Soria region of the Basque Country lead La Segunda with seven points from three games. There’s no team in the division with maximum points but Numancia arrived in Palma last night unbeaten under new coach Arrasate, who was David Moyes’ predecessor at Real Sociedad.
Only Gimnastic Tarragona, Lugo and Zaragoza like Numancia are undefeated, making this a tough encounter for Real Mallorca. The visitors are very dangerous opponents and are the league’s highest scorers with nine, having conceded just five.
One thing that really irks me about the Palma side is their inability to capitalise on a one-goal lead. Time and time again we’ve taken an early lead then sat back, unable to take further advantage and then getting sloppy and conceding. Against Numancia we’ll be missing Italian striker Rolando Bianchi after he was sent off in Bilbao, and his place will be taken by “El Torito” Acuña, who missed Bilbao last week after being red-carded against Ponferradina two weeks ago. There will also be at least half a dozen other changes as the coach tries to appease the frustrated Son Moix fans with three points come seven o’clock. A goal from open play would also be nice to celebrate!
The local press this past week have been full of praise for 20-year-old Brandon Thomas, who over the past two games has been our best player and was involved in both our goals.
Brandon has a twin brother called Jordan and they have an English dad and a Spanish mother. Jordan, who’s a budding politician with the PSOE party, played with Brandon when they were kids at their local Cala D’Or team before Brandon moved to the junior ranks at Real Mallorca.
He said after last week’s defeat that we lacked ambition to go for the second goal but agreed that his partnership up front with Bianchi looks promising. Brandon broke through the ranks of Real Mallorca in 2013 when our then coach Joaquin Caparros picked him, at just 17 years old, to play in a cup match against Sevilla in Andalucia. There’s no doubt young Brandon Thomas shows potential, the next step up for him besides promotion with Real Mallorca is possible selection for Spain’s Under-21 team. Already this season he’s played through the middle and in midfield but he’s most comfortable on the left wing. In his own words “versatility is good.”
I keep seeing ex-Mallorca midfield legend Ariel Ibagaza on my travels through Palma. It turns out the diminutive, 38-year-old Argentinian has come to live permanently on the island with his family and is a free agent. Ferrer has already stated he doesn’t want Ibagaza in his squad, but with our midfield lacking any ingenuity or guile, and even in the twilight of his career, would Ibagaza bring something to the table? There’s obviously no way he can play 90 minutes now, but back in the day he laid on so many goals for Samuel Eto’o and Dani Guiza.
I think bringing him back for his experience alone could be beneficial. He’s evidently still in training and his match fitness levels would be almost zero, but his return, albeit in a limited capacity, could be just the lift needed for the team and their frustrated fans. On Friday he celebrated 14 years since he played his first game for Real Mallorca. It was 9/11 in our first ever Champions League game at home to some North London outfit who are nicknamed “The Gunners.” Their side that night contained David Seaman, Martin Keown, Ashley Cole (who was sent off after 10 mins), Robert Pires, Patrick Viera, Franny “Juglugs” Jeffers, Freddie Ljungberg and Thierry Henry. Oh what memories, especially after we beat them 1-0, sending all their travelling fans back to “the smoke” with faces like smacked arses!