Espanyol vs Barcelona
Spain – La Liga
Date: Sunday, 4 February 2018
Kick-Off at 15:15 UK
Venue: RCDE Stadium (Cornella de Llobregat).
Espanyol and Barcelona will take on each other for the fourth time this season as the Copa del Rey draw has put them together in the quarterfinal of the competition. Barca did manage to go through into the semis, but the Budgerigars have out up a super strong resistance conceding no more than two goals in two legs.
This time the two teams will take on each other in the league clash as Quique Sanchez Flores will want to see his men bounce back from horrific defensive showings in the last couple of rounds. Espanyol have shipped six goals in back-to-back league defeats to Sevilla and Leganes. Given that they are now up against the country’s (and probably continent’s) best attacking line, one can hardly be confident about their success on Sunday afternoon.
Nonetheless, Espanyol’s chance will lie in the fact that Blaugrana have a tough trip to Valencia to make in the rematch of their Copa del Rey semifinal next week. Ernesto Valverde’s men somehow managed to gain the minimum advantage ahead of the rematch at Mestalla thanks to the moment of Lionel Messi’s inspiration. The Argentine superstar has prepared everything inside the box for Luis Suarez’s match-winner on Thursday evening at Camp Nou.
Espanyol vs Barcelona: Head-to-head
Before the recent Copa del Rey win at RCDE Stadium, Espanyol were winless in 22 consecutive H2H games with their Catalan rivals.
Barcelona have entirely dominated this match-up in the latest history and they’ve only conceded three goals in last ten meetings with the Budgerigars.
Espanyol vs Barcelona: Prediction
Barca are massive favourites, but we see the value in backing a low-scoring contest here. The main reasoning lies in Barcelona’s Copa del Rey ambitions and in Espanyol’s decent defensive performances in last two cup clashes with Blaugrana.
Additionally, we will go with Barcelona to keep a clean sheet at 1.83 given that Valverde’s men have only conceded ten goals in 21 league games so far in the season and that Espanyol have scarcely managed to find the net in latest H2H ties.