Mallorca’s goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic. | Miguel Toña


After a week when, after Scotland beat Wales 35-7, their coach Warren Gatland took the team for a training session telling his players to assume their normal positions – so they all stood under the goalposts! – Real Mallorca fans are ready for a blistering early evening experience as the team go for five home wins on the bounce.

We play 8th-placed Villareal, three points ahead of us on 31, in the Son Moix at 18:30. The yellow submarine come to Palma after losing three in a row and have several of their players missing through injury. One of them is ex Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin. The French international suffered a horrible injury last Sunday at Barcelona when he tore anterior cruciate ligaments and will be out for a long time.

Although Villareal look a little light in midfield, they’ll still be able to field a formidable team and Mallorca will be hoping to do the double over them after winning 0-2 last November.The Palma side have to keep their home win momentum going as their away form is terrible.

After yet another debacle at Sevilla, it seems Mallorca are suffering post World Cup malaise. Of the 17 matches left, we have to play nine at home with four wins probably being enough to keep us in La Liga for another season.

In the 10 games we’ve played in Son Moix we haven’t scored more than one goal. Although it’s not box office football, the main thing is winning all three points.

Since the World Cup, Mallorca has turned into a two-headed monster, tough to beat at home but rolling over and capitulating too easily on the road. It’s quite unbelievable how we can put on a magnificent gutsy performance in beating Real Madrid two weeks ago and then crash down to earth unable to react once again after going behind early doors in Seville. Stats however show that no team in any of the top European leagues has scored more points with so few goals being scored, sixteen.
Things weren’t helped last Saturday by a terrible refereeing decision both on the pitch and in the VAR room.

A clear tug on Muriqi’s jersey in a one-on-one situation with a Sevilla defender should have been punished with a red card, instead we got nothing. If it had been one of the bigger sides all hell would have been let loose.

What makes our incident even worse was that in the Celta/At. Madrid game their defender Savic was shown a straight red for exactly the same offence! In the VAR room for our game was the notorious Mateu Lahoz who was sent home from Qatar after dishing out cards like confetti in the last 10 minutes of the Netherlands/Argentina game.

From the start of the season two Summer signings, Muriqi and Rajkovic, have been our best players. Muriqi became the most expensive signing and quickly became the darling of the fans with his “get stuck in” attitude all over the pitch. He’s scored eight of our sixteen goals but his levels as a predatory striker have dropped dramatically over the past months. This is not his fault, I hasten to add, as his ammunition supply has all but dried up.

One reason for that is that South Korean midfielder Kang In Lee, who’s given Muriqi several assists this season, has lost his mojo since talk about him wanting to leave surfaced in January.
You can see how frustrated Muriqi’s become as he spends more time looking for the ball.

Let’s hope he starts finding the net again soon as his input for Mallorca is indispensable. We need to find that aggressiveness in the opposition penalty area. At the other end Pedrag Rajkovic is fast becoming one of the best goalkeepers in the history of the club. He’s still the second best “stopper” in top flight Spanish football as far as stats are concerned, behind Ter Stegen at Barcelona. Rajkovic has conceded 20 and Ter Stegen an amazing seven! We signed him from French side Reims for a snip (two million euros) and his rapid adaptation to the island and to La Liga have been first class.

Mexican coach Javier Aguirre is a stickler for playing five at the back. I just wish he would go a bit more gung-ho and attack more, especially when we go behind. Last Saturday he played three at the back for over an hour after we’d gone two down. I would like to see Muriqi and Kadewere start up front. They looked good together late in the Espanyol game back in October but the combination hasn’t been tried since.

AND FINALLY, a divorce message: “My dear husband, I’m sending you this to tell you I’m leaving you after 20 years of marriage, in which time I’ve had nothing to show for it. Your boss called yesterday to say you’d quit your job, which was the last straw. Last week you didn’t even notice my new hairstyle, nor did you comment when I cooked your favourite meal and I even wore a brand new negligee to no effect. You never tell me you love me any more, you’ve stopped making love to me and I have the feeling you’re either playing away or you’ve totally lost interest in me. Either way, I’m out of this loveless relationship. By the way, don’t try to find me. Your brother and I are emigrating to Australia.”
Divorce reply: “My dear ex wife, nothing has cheered me up more than receiving your text. I did notice your new hairstyle but it made you look like a ‘tranny.’ When you cooked my dinner you must have confused me with your brother because I hate aubergines. Your new negligee still had the 500€ price tag on it – my brother borrowed the money from me the other day. After all this, I still loved you and felt we could work something out and after winning 10 million in the Euro Millions lottery, I quit my job and bought two tickets for Las Vegas, but when I got home you were gone. I hope you fulfil the life you always wanted. My lawyer tells me your message ensures you won’t get a cent of my windfall. Your ex husband, rich as hell and free. PS. I don’t know if I’ve ever told you my brother Carl was born Carla. I hope that’s not a problem!”