Real Madrid vs Mallorca

Estadio Santiago Bernabeu is the venue as joint-leaders Real Madrid encounter bottom-half strugglers Mallorca in their curtain-raising 2024 La Liga fixture.

Real Madrid showed why you can never discard them to end 2023 on a high note, netting a stoppage-time winner to beat Deportivo Alaves 1-0 despite going a man down early in the second half. Kicking off 2024 in a similar vein is imperative for ‘Los Blancos,’ who come into the new calendar year keen to preserve their outstanding 17-game unbeaten streak in all competitions (W13, D4). Despite only losing once across the opening 18 La Liga rounds (W14, D3), Carlo Ancelotti’s men are not alone at the summit, with surprise package Girona accruing as many points (45) as Madrid. Considering Los Merengues’ formidable seven-match winning H2H run on home turf, a sixth consecutive home win in all competitions looks like a virtual-certainty for the record-time European champions.

In the meantime, visiting Mallorca came from behind to beat Osasuna 3-2 at home in their last La Liga outing of 2023, extending their unbeaten league streak to five matches (W2, D3). But despite their mini-revival, Javier Aguirre’s men commence the final round of the first half of the season just five points clear of 18th-placed Celta Vigo. Mallorca’s proneness to sharing the spoils has plagued their campaign, with only Real Betis (10) drawing more La Liga games than ‘Los Piratas’ (9) this term. Given Mallorca’s long-standing struggles at the Bernabeu, they wouldn’t mind another stalemate, but they’ll need to play out of their skin to earn it. Barring a 1-0 win at Celta in mid-September, the visitors have gone winless on their last eight La Liga travels in 2023/24 (D3, L5).r

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