Barcelona might be top of the table however they haven’t had things their own way with four draws and two losses from their first 14-games of the season. In a game they are expected to win on Saturday, all the pressure will be on Messi and co to deliver the points against Espanyol in the local derby. Form Labs bring you their betting preview and tips for the clash and don’t forget to check out our great selection of enhanced odds and accas for La Liga and all of Europe’s top leagues.
Espanyol Woeful Derby Record
Espanyol will be attempting to overcome a woeful record in their city derby with Barcelona, as their last success in the league came way back in 2008/09, with their last at home two seasons before that. Since that success, they’ve lost 14 of 18 encounters, but they have at least had their best start to a campaign for years. It was going even better until they lost their last three, and each of these came against current top-half sides.
In fact, their promising start was mainly down to an easy fixture list as they’ve won five of eight unbeaten matches versus bottom-half teams, but they’re just W1-D0-L5 against those in the top-half of the table, with that sole success hosting an over-achieving Levante side. Indeed, Rubi’s men have won five of six at the RCDE Stadium, but they’re yet to host any of the big guns.
Barcelona Being Kept In Check
Barcelona reclaimed top spot off Sevilla last week thanks to victory over Villarreal, but there are no obvious signs that they’re going to run away with the league. They’ve been doing enough recently rather than dismantling teams, though this is understandable with several players out injured. They won at PSV in the Champions league previously, but the Dutch side carved out plenty of chances while the Yellow Submarine were also guilty of missing some golden opportunities at the Camp Nou.
Luis Suarez is unlikely to be fit for this clash, but as long as Lionel Messi is on the pitch, we don’t worry about the Catalans going forward. More alarmingly, Samuel Umtiti has suffered a long-term injury following on from just six starts so far this term, and his absence has been a catalyst behind their poor defensive showings.
Indeed, both teams have scored in 11 of their last 12, while they’ve conceded an average of 1.47 goals per game in the 15 away matches the Frenchman has missed since signing in the summer of 2016, compared to just 0.79 when he’s started.
Espanyol v Barcelona Betting Tips
Therefore, we fancy Espanyol, who haven’t drawn a blank at home so far this season, to trouble the reigning champions’ backline. Especially with an in-form Borja Iglesias up front, who has six goals in as many matches, and they can take advantage of Umtiti’s absence. However, it’s difficult to get away from such a dominant head-to-head record for the visitors, and so the best play is an away win and both teams to score.
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*odds subject to change.