After a week when a breaking news story in London said “Essex woman jailed for battering her husband to death with a revolver after missing him with all six shots!” – Real Mallorca play their last away game against a promotion rival (in the first half of the season) in Madrid this 12th of December at 4 pm. They face fourth-placed Leganes in their Butarque stadium, in a game described as being a real litmus test for the Palma side. Leganes, coached by Mallorcan Pep Luis Marti, have won eight home matches with one draw in nine games and have taken 24 points from a possible 27.
Mallorca are unbeaten in 16 games and at the moment have promotion written all over them. Leganes were relegated with Mallorca and Espanyol last season and are one of the strongest candidates for a speedy return to top flight Spanish football in May. So Saturday’s game is a hard one to call. Almeria moved into third place on Wednesday night after they beat Zaragoza 1-0 which put them three points behind us on 35 points. It’s now looking like a four-team race for the automatic promotion top two places.
This season (after three months) Mallorca have surpassed any previous records in their entire career in professional football. I realise there is a long way to go and a dip in form is always possible but at the moment the team is a perfect machine, only conceding four goals, a figure that makes them the only team in the history of the first and second divisions that has conceded so few goals after 17 games.
Once again it’s anybody’s guess as to which starting XI coach Luis Garcia Plaza will pick and he’s becoming a specialist in rotation. One of the local peñas on Twitter were offering a menu del dia prize for anybody who correctly guessed LGP’s initial starting line-up. There were over 120 permutations submitted and, guess what, nobody got it right!
Our ex loanee Japanese player, Take Kubo, is now playing at Villareal. However, he’s thinking of leaving in the January transfer window in search of more minutes as he’s been unable to hold down a starting position at La Ceramica. He’s played in the Europa League but has never started a La Liga game, coming on regularly in the last ten minutes. Villareal coach Unai Emery has been accused of using Kubo sparingly which has not pleased his parent club Real Madrid. He was outstanding for us last season in wins over Real Madrid, Valencia and Villareal, scoring four goals and involved in lots of assists. Our fans loved him and it would be magical, but impossible, if he returned to these shores.
In this congested season, Mallorca have a cup match on Wednesday night when they travel to Salamanca to play some outfit called Guijuelo in a one-legged tie. It’s expected that LGP will select a side containing players who haven’t made a lot of first team appearances. Local third division side C.D. Cardassar from the town of Sant Llorenc will play At. Madrid on the same night at 7pm. It’s the most important game in its 96 year history and again it’s unlikely At. Madrid coach Diego Simeone will send many of the first team squad to the island. It’s incredible to think that only two years ago the town was a river of mud as a huge storm claimed 13 lives in what was one of the island’s greatest catastrophes. Needless to say the tiny Es Moleter artificial pitch was swept away in the torrent.
For the game, which is on free-to-air Spanish channel Cuatro, 300 fans will be allowed in and extra seating has been installed. 150 will be friends of players, families and club staff, 100 will be season ticket holders and 50 press.
It’s amazing to think that this season’s Copa del Rey is underway and last year’s all-Basque final between At. Bilbao and Real Sociedad hasn’t even been played yet. Both sides agreed to hold the final (in La Cartuja in Seville) when fans are allowed back into grounds in Spain. That idea seems a long way off as it seems unlikely the government will change its position as they try to avoid a voracious third wave at any cost.
In England only some grounds have had fans in and Germany, who had fans back in August, tried in an adventure that lasted only a few weeks before the authorities ended up vetoing the idea after an increase in positive cases. It’s really frustrating sitting in the Mallorcafé on a match day when you can hear all the stadium announcements only metres away and no fans are allowed in. Let’s hope we can watch the team in the Son Moix some time early in the New Year.
AND FINALLY, a man was installing a new door and found that one of the hinges was missing. He asked his wife, Mary, if she would go to the DIY shop.
While she was waiting to be served, her eye caught a beautiful bathroom vanity tap set. When it was her turn, Mary asked the assistant “How much are these beautiful taps ?”
The assistant answered “They’re gold plated and the price is £500.” Mary was shocked, “Oh, my God, that is expensive, It’s certainly out of my price bracket.”
She then ordered her hinge and the man said “I’m going to the store room,” from where he shouted “Do you want a screw for the hinge?”
Mary paused for a moment then replied “No, but I will for the gold taps!!”