Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Prediction: Barcelona vs Espanyol

Verdict: Over 3.5 goals scored – yes

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: 888sport

A new edition of the Derbi Barceloní will take place this Saturday when Barcelona host Espanyol at Camp Nou. Despite the fact Los Blaugranas are massive favourites entering this game, we shouldn’t rule out a potential upset since the visitors can make life quite tough for the home side. Kick-off is scheduled at 15:15 GMT,

Barcelona

Ernesto Valverde’s men comfortably sit at the top of the standings and, after winning each of their last five league matches, it seems the Liga title is theirs for the taken. Los Blaugranas own an impressive record during the current term (W20, D6, L2) and it seems they simply don’t have opponents at the domestic level. Barcelona do need to improve on the defensive end, though, since they have conceded at least once in three of their last four league wins. But considering their impressive attacking record, a few defensive problems shouldn’t represent an issue for Los Blaugranas. The Camp Nou outfit currently own the best attack in La Liga with 73 goals scored, and they also own a solid defence with only 27 goals conceded – the third-best record in the competition. Undoubtedly, they enter this game as favourites. Can they respect that and secure another win that will take them one step closer to the league title?

Team News

Los Blaugranas won’t have Ousmane Dembele (muscle injury) and Rafinha (knee) available for this match.

To make things even more complicated, Jesper Cillessen (hip) is reportedly doubtful.

Espanyol

On the other hand, Espanyol are coming off a 0-1 loss to Sevilla and their recent results have not been very good. The Catalunya-based side has won just once in their previous five league matches (W1, D3, L1) and while at one point they emerged as a potential European contender, the wheels quickly fell off and now Espanyol are even struggling to secure a top-half finish. With only 10 games left in the standings, Espanyol sit in 13th place of the standings with 34 points (W9, D7, L12). But something positive for them is the fact that they’re “only” nine points away from a European berth. Things certainly do not look easy for Los Pericos, and their current form does not invite them to pull an upset. But they tend to show their best form when facing their city rivals. Can they find some inner motivation and pull the upset at Camp Nou?

Team News

Espanyol will be quite depleted ahead of this match. Sergi Darder (suspension), Facundo Ferreyra (muscle), Diego Lopez (knee) and Pablo Piatti (knee) are all injured.

To make things even more complicated, Oscar Duarte (foot) and Roberto Rosales (broken nose) are doubtful. The latter is expected to play, though.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Espanyol last won a top-flight ‘derbi barceloní’ back in 2009. But they’ve gone D4, L15 since their last win.
  • A league-high eight of Barcelona’s 14 home fixtures have featured over 3.5 goals.
  • Barca have scored 4+ goals in each of the last four top-flight matches held here.
  • The visitors travel here with just one LL away victory this term (W1, D6, L7). However, they’ve drawn each of their last three away outings.
  • Barca have scored an average of 3.0 goals per La Liga home match this season.

Conclusion

Barcelona should be the odds-on favourite to secure the three points in this one. However, Espanyol could represent a tough opponent even if they won’t have some of their best players ahead of this one. Expect an open contest with at least four total goals scored.

Verdict: Over 3.5 goals scored – yes

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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