Friday, August 7, 2020

Prediction: Barcelona vs Espanyol

Verdict: Over 3,5 goals scored – yes

Best Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

FC Barcelona remain in second place of the standings and are four points behind Real Madrid in the title race. They have a huge chance to shorten the gap to just one point Wednesday, but in order for that to happen, they’d need to secure a win over Espanyol in the Catalunya Derby. This match will kick off Wednesday at 21:00 GMT.

FC Barcelona

Things are not quiet at Barcelona at the moment despite their win over Villarreal last weekend. Los Blaugranas were coming off a 2-2 draw against Atletico Madrid before their huge win at Estadio de la Ceramica, but they still remain four points behind Real Madrid in the title race. It must be acknowledged that Barcelona have also drawn three of their last five league matches, including two disappointing draws against Celta de Vigo and Sevilla. They could’ve easily lost against Celta, but Nolito missed a sitter on stoppage time that could’ve changed the course of the game. The lone thing that is clear is that Barcelona are not playing at a high level right now despite going undefeated in their last eight Liga matches (W5, D3). They need to turn things around before it’s too late. Fortunately for them, they will play at home in this contest. Los Blaugranas own a W15, D2 mark at home.

Team News

Ousmane Dembele (thigh) and Frenkie de Jong (calf) are ruled out. So it Jean-Clair Todibo, who returned from his loan spell at Schalke 04 but can’t play for Los Blaugranas.

Samuel Umtiti (knee) has been listed as doubtful. If he misses this game, then Barca will be incredibly thin when it comes to their defensive depth. Junior Firpo (hip) is also listed as doubtful.

Espanyol

Barcelona are very much alive in the title race, but the same can’t be said about Espanyol. Los Pericos currently sit dead last in the Liga standings with 24 points and even if they were to win here, they wouldn’t leave last place. Right now, they are 11 points away from safety with four games left in the schedule so this is a must-win game for them. A defeat here, or a negative combination of results going against them, and Espanyol would get relegated from La Liga ahead of the 2020-21 season. Their prospects of securing a positive result in this contest do not look strong. Aside from being the worst team in the league this season, Espanyol have also been extremely weak on the road. Los Pericos are W3, D4, L10 away from home, where they have dropped four of their last five matches. It seems they simply lack enough weapons to pull the upset at Camp Nou.

Team News

Star forward Jonathan Calleri will be suspended for this match.

Pipa has been listed as doubtful due to injury. However, he is very unlikely to feature here.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Barcelona have the best attack in La Liga with 78 goals scored in 34 matches. Espanyol, on the other hand, have found the back of the net just 27 times.
  • Espanyol are winless in their last six league matches (D1, L5), while Barcelona are undefeated in their last eight contests (W5, D3).
  • A win for Barcelona would be their 100th vs Espanyol in the Spanish top flight (W99, D38, L34).
  • Barca are also the best team in the league at home, due to their impressive W15, D2 mark in 17 matches at Camp Nou.
  • Espanyol have not defeated Barcelona in LaLiga since the 2008-09 season. They won 2-1 at Camp Nou in that occasion.

Conclusion

Barca are undefeated in more than 10 years against Espanyol in La Liga. Plus, Los Pericos know there’s no tomorrow for them if they don’t get the three points. That might force them to take unneccesary risks.

If that’s the case, expect Barcelona to take advantage of them. This game could easily end up being a high-scoring affair.

Verdict: Over 3,5 goals scored – yes

Best Odds: 21/20

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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