Espanyol take on Valencia in La Liga this Sunday in Barcelona. The two sides both started the season with draws and will be looking to build here. Read on for our match analysis, betting tips and predictions.
DATE/TIME – Sunday 26th August 2018, 18:15 (CEST)
STADIUM – RCDE Stadium, Barcelona
COMPETITION – La Liga
This match sees Rubi take charge of Espanyol in a competitive home match for the first time. There was an element of surprise to his appointment. Espanyol did very well at the end of last season under the caretaker management of David Gallego, winning 4 of their final 5 matches in La Liga. However they opted against giving him the job on a permanent basis, by appointing Huesca’s promotion-winning boss Rubi. He is someone with a bit of a point to prove at this level though having struggled in the top flight in the past with Sporting Gijon and Levante.
It was a solid enough start for Espanyol. They drew 1-1 away to Celta Vigo on match-day one and it was a pretty even game overall. They scored via an own goal though and there are slight concerns over their ability to score goals this term. Their starting front three last weekend consisted of Pablo Piatti, Léo Baptistão and Borja Iglesias and they are likely to persist with that approach. However they will need Piatti and Baptistao to deliver on a more consistent basis than they did last term while their success could also hinge on Iglesias’ ability to make the step up from Segunda Division football.
Valencia also kicked off the campaign with a 1-1 draw on Monday night against Atletico Madrid. They would have been relatively content with that you sense, particularly having fallen behind. Rodrigo was their scorer and he’ll be aiming to prove he is no one-season wonder after a prolific campaign last term. He will have much more competition up top this season though and it’ll be interesting to see if either of the new boys Kevin Gameiro or Michy Batshuayi can force their way into the eleven here.
Espanyol vs Valencia Predictions
- Valencia Win
- Rodrigo to Score Anytime
Overall Valencia look the better bet here with the bookies struggling to decide upon a favourite. The visitors have much more all-round quality and certainly in terms of firepower they have the edge. They looked fit and ready to go on Monday and are certainly the more settled of the two teams. Espanyol’s playing personnel may not have changed massively but they are trying to change from a pretty conservative style last term to a more attack-minded one this time around and that may take time.
Backing Valencia to Win looks good because of that and also because of their excellent record against this opposition. Meanwhile going for Rodrigo to Score Anytime could be worth considering. He was fantastic last season with 16 goals in La Liga and the extra competition may only make him hungrier.
- 2-0 Valencia
Valencia are strong in the middle of the park with the capture of Geoffrey Kondogbia on a permanent deal key. They are capable of winning the midfield battle and shutting out an Espanyol side that were the fourth lowest scorers in the division last term.
Espanyol vs Valencia Match Stats
- Gerard Moreno scored 44% of Espanyol’s league goals last term but has since left.
- They suffered 5 home defeats last season, all of which were to nil.
- Valencia were the only top four side last term to win at the RCDE Stadium.
- Valencia have lost just 1 of their last 10 matches including friendlies.
- Los Che won 47% of their away league games last term.
Head to Head
Valencia tend to enjoy life against Espanyol. They’ve won 78 games overall against them and 23 away from home, both the most for Los Che against an opponent in La Liga. They’ve also won all of the last five meetings.
Espanyol Team News:
Espanyol are expected to name the same team that drew in Vigo. That will involve a 4-3-3 formation again.
Valencia Team News:
Centre-back Ezequiel Garay is a doubt. Kevin Gameiro and Michy Batshuayi are pushing for a start up top ahead of Santi Mina.