Mallorca captain Antonio Raillo (L). | Carlos Gil-Roig

After a week when supermarket shelves in the UK are still bereft of fruit and vegetables – one shop owner in Bristol put a sign on his parked vehicle “No tomatoes kept in this van overnight! – Real Mallorca reach match day 23 of La Liga Santander 2022/23 lying in 10th place on 31 points. Tomorrow (Saturday, March 4) they’ll face bottom side Elche who basically are down already as they only have nine points and have conceded 48 goals. They’re also without an away win and have received 11 red cards which is more than they’ve had in the last two seasons put together.

Elche will arrive in Palma several players short through suspension and injury. Mallorca should win this game comfortably but the word “complacency” could come into proceedings!!

Last Saturday against Espanyol we played our best away first half for a long time. Then the wheels fell off in the second half when another defence error saw the home side win 2-1. We did score a brilliant equaliser through Vedat Muriqi which was something we couldn’t do against Getafe, Cadiz, Osasuna and Sevilla. Since the World Cup there’s been something fundamentally missing in our away performances but our excellent home form is seeing us sit comfortably in mid-table obscurity nearer to a European place than a relegation position.

There are eight games left to play in fortress Son Moix: Elche, Real Sociedad (next Sunday in Palma at 2pm), Osasuna, Getafe, Athletic Club, Cadiz, Valencia and our season finale against Rayo Vallecano.

The last couple of games have seen our normally resolute defence concede four goals so we need to tighten up at the back. Coach Javier Aguirre prides himself on his defensive system so he hasn’t been too pleased about our lack of concentration at the back. Good news for Mallorca was that club captain Antonio Raillo has said he wants to see out his career at Real Mallorca. He's been here since 2016 and was part of the squad that won consecutive promotions to reach the top flight in 2019.

Last weekend saw a real hullabaloo as Spanish referees showed a raft of red cards.
Some of them were ludicrous decisions and tomorrow’s visitors were on the receiving end of some red mist injustice. Elche lost 2-3 to Betis after being two goals up when referee Iglesias Villanueva (whos been booed off the Son Moix on countless occasions) showed three red cards to Elche players (one of them was sitting in the dug out and was dismissed for questioning the fourth official’s sexual preference). The player in question, Pape Cheikh, has since been handed a four game ban!
Villanueva also awarded Betis three penalties. In the tunnel after the game, National Police had to break up some skirmishes and the Elche owner banged on the referee’s door saying “You’re not leaving here alive!”

Every weekend in Spanish football players are being sent off for no more than a yellow card offence and many of them aren’t even looked at by the VAR official. Players are booked if they even query a decision. La Liga is one of the top European divisions where the least amount of actual football is played because of all the niggly stoppages enforced by pedantic referees who want to take centre stage.

The gap between red card dismissals in Spain is far ahead of other countries in Europe. France’s Ligue 1 has 71 so far, Serie A – 40, Bundesliga 29, the English Premier league is in another galaxy altogether with just 19. So how many red cards have been brandished in top flight Spanish football so far this season ? A staggering 94! That figure looks like football in Spain is super violent when it isn’t.
As another weekend of football is about to kick off there’s bound to be more controversy as Spanish referees reach for the dreaded red card. As the red mist engulfs La Liga, the question is why do Spanish referees dish out so many tarjetas rojas?

AND FINALLY, a woman has a problem with her wardrobe door in the bedroom. Every time a bus passes outside the house, the door of the wardrobe falls off. She calls a repairman to fix the problem and he sees that indeed the door does fall off every time a bus passes by. “Okay,” says the repairman, “I’m going to step inside the wardrobe, you close the door behind me and I’ll see if I can detect the problem.” The wife closes the door behind him. Just then the husband suddenly arrives home and hears his wife in the bedroom talking to somebody. He rushes upstairs and opens the wardrobe door and sees the repairman. “What the hell are you doing in there?” The repairman meekly replies “You’re not going to believe this but I’m waiting for a bus!”