Barcelona vs Espanyol Betting Analysis
Espanyol travel to Camp Nou for their match against Xavi’s new Barcelona. Barca aim to revive their title hopes, and they are likely to go all guns blazing but a derby is derby and Espanyol are no pushovers. Our sportsbook is offering a great range of props for the Spanish top-flight league.
Barcelona: New head coach
Barcelona’s money crisis forced Lionel Messi out. Since then, the Catalan giants lost their identity, and they can’t compete physically with most teams in Spain or Europe. They are sitting ninth in the La Liga standings with just 17 points earned in 12 games, 11 points behind leaders Real Sociedad.
In the Champions League they lost their two opening fixtures 3-0 against Bayern and Benfica but bounced back with a double 1-0 win over Dynamo Kiev.
They are winless in their previous four domestic games, but they are still huge favorites to win the derby being priced at -250 on the three-way moneyline according to the latest soccer odds. They finally sacked Ronald Koeman after 14 months in charge with club legend Xavi appointed as head-coach.
Xavi played for the club for 17 years, making 767 appearances and winning 25 trophies, including four Champions League trophies and eight domestic titles.
He doesn’t appear to waste time as he’s targeting Bayern Munich star Kingsley Coman and Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta. Until then, Xavi is preparing for his first game in charge against an Espanyol side that is tied with Barca in points. The hosts kept just two clean sheets in the last seven fixtures with the defense being their major problem.
Barcelona were held to a 3-3 draw before the international break by Celta Vigo failing to defend their three goals lead from half-time with Celta Vigo’s talisman scoring the equalizer in the 96th minute. Veteran right-back Dani Alves has returned to Barcelona during the international break but he’s eligible for selection from January onwards.
Barcelona’s record against Espanyol is outstanding. They are unbeaten in their La Liga mutual encounters since 2009 but let’s not forget that Leo Messi was there.
Two seasons ago when Espanyol got relegated in La Liga 2, Barcelona won four points from their double header but failed to cover the spread on both occasions.
If you’re betting online and you backed Barcelona this season you should stop and give them some time under Xavi.
Ansu Fati, Nico Gonzalez, Sergino Dest, Martin Braithwaite and Moussa Wague are ruled out with injuries, while Sergio Aguero is out of contention through heart problems.
Espanyol: Ups and downs
The visitors are equal on points with Barcelona, but they are sitting 2 spots behind them because of the goals difference. They got promoted back to La Liga after just one season in the Spanish second division. They lost just six games last season and their star striker Raul de Tomas was their best player with 22 goals scored.
Espanyol are winless on the road losing three of their six away games but just once they lost with two goals difference. Both Keidi Bare and Oscar Gil should miss the Catalan derby with injuries, but Raul de Tomas is on fire also this season and we expect him to find the back of the net in the derby.
Barcelona vs Espanyol Betting Picks
This should be closer than the odds suggest. Barcelona can’t improve overnight, don’t expect miracles from Xavi. Yes, probably they will win but Espanyol will make it very tough for them. We understand that Espanyol are struggling on the road, but they have goals in them, and they will keep it tight trying not to leave gaps at the back.
We don’t recommend you back them on your soccer picks and parlays, but they have the weapons to cover the spread.
Even if Barcelona wins this clash and honors club legend Xavi return, we don’t expect them to do it with more than one goal difference, so we are taking Espanyol +1½ as our upset of the week in La Liga.