Ironically two of our players, Uruguayan Gio Gonzalez and South Korea’s Kang In Lee, will play against each other in Seoul just 48 hours before our vital home game against Osasuna on Friday, March 31 at 9pm. This break has come at the right time for Real Mallorca as with 12 games left to play on the long and winding La Liga road, with all its lumps and bumps, we’ve been encountering a series of huge pot holes.
There’s little doubt that the Palma side have two faces, one that plays in the Son Moix (won 6, drawn 3 and lost 4) and one that, when they get off the plane, finds winning nigh on impossible (won 3, drawn 2, lost 8). With 32 points we’re still mid table (11th) but haven’t won a game in a month.
Luckily our home form has just about kept our head above water but with a dozen games to go and a possible 42 points required for safety in La Liga, the run-in to June 4 could get very nerve-wracking.
Mallorca have conceded 42% of goals in the first 15 minutes so far this season and in the last six away games we’ve let in 10 and scored one, which is the exact opposite to the start of the season when we were strong, beating Rayo, Valencia (now hurtling towards relegation) and Villareal.
Last Sunday’s horror show demonstrated just how bad we’ve been playing away from Palma. Coach Javier Aguirre has been unable to find a solution to our troubles, especially up front. Our only attempt on goal in 95 minutes of play (apart from Muriqi’s goal which was ruled off side) was a half-hit effort from Kadewere that trundled two feet past the far post in the second half. Not good enough for a team hoping to stay in top flight Spanish football.
Opposition defences have got wise as to how to mark Muriqi, stifle his supply line and any attacking options are nullified. It’s now clear to me that several Mallorca players are not pulling their weight and their performances have dropped dramatically. Players like Costa and Galarreta have looked well off the pace and both these players are automatic choices in the starting XI.
We have 23 first team squad players and two of them, signed in the January transfer window, Bosnian centre back Dennis Hadzikadunic (who hasn’t played one minute since arriving) and Manu Morlanes, described as one for the future after his arrival from Villareal has only played 23 minutes. Morlanes is on loan and if we stay up, Mallorca have a buy-out clause of four million euros for his services. How can we buy him if he doesn’t get a chance to show us what he can do ? Both seem to have been ostracised by Aguirre.
The standard of some substitutes verges on the abysmal as they cannot make an impression when coming on. Amath will play one good game then will disappear in the next five. Antonio Sanchez seems to have lost confidence and French international Clement Grenier hasn’t played for a month. Local hero Abdon Prats remains a cult figure and a fans’ favourite who surely must be given more playing time with his “get stuck in” commitment to the cause.
Aguirre has worked a minor miracle with the team who once again are punching above their weight in La Liga. However, too many of them are coming up short just when we need everybody to raise their game with 12 fixtures left. This means that next Friday night’s game in the Son Moix at 9pm against Osasuna is a simply “must win” encounter for Real Mallorca. The team from Pamplona are having a terrific season and are two points above us on 34 but will have an eye on their Copa del Rey semi-final second leg in Bilbao the following mid week.
Coach Aguirre received his fifth yellow card last Sunday and will be watching from the stand. He was booked last Sunday for leaving his technical area in search of the ball and arguing with a ball boy. When Aguirre reprimanded the young scallywag for time-wasting, our coach was told in no uncertain manner “Yes but we all do it !!” - with a few Andalucian superlatives added at the end.
AND FINALLY, from this week’s problem pages. “For a prolonged happy life, I’ve been taking daily doses of expensive vitamin and mineral supplements. Yesterday on afternoon TV I saw an advert for cremations and burials starting at £2,000, so for my own inevitable demise I’ve stopped taking the tablets to save money. Now I’m so stressed, I’ve started an expensive course of counselling and relaxation sessions. I’ve had to borrow heavily from a payday loan shark who’s threatened to tie me up and throw me in the canal if I don’t make the repayments. So then expensive funeral fees would be avoided. Does anyone out there know of another such satisfactory outcome to one of modern life’s dilemmas like this ? Signed, Lucky from Leicester”
To be able to write a comment, you have to be registered and logged in
Currently there are no comments.