Sky Sports viewers in for a goal feast when Barcelona host Espanyol
Espanyol’s recent home win against Atletico Madrid left neighbours Barcelona as the last unbeaten team standing in La Liga.
However, their record against the Catalan giants in recent years suggests they are in for a tough night when they visit the Camp Nou in a game shown live on Sky Sports 2.
It’s been almost five years and eight games since Ivan De La Pena’s double helped the Periquitos on their way to victory against their overbearing local rivals.
The 16/1 offered by Coral about Javier Aguirre’s men ending a run of six losses and two draws against the champions indicates the scale of the task ahead.
Five of Barca’s wins during that period have been achieved by a margin of two or more goals and the 4/5 about Gerardo Martino’s La Liga leaders repeating that trick looks a banker of a bet considering the form the Argentinean coach’s charges have shown when hosting this term.
The 2-1 Clasico win at home to Real Madrid was the first time this season that Barca have failed to score three or more goals in the Spanish top flight at their own ground and they also breezed past Ajax 4-0 when hosting the Dutch side in the Champions League recently.
Their opponents lost their last La Liga away game 3-0 against Levante, who Barcelona put seven on for no reply on the opening weekend of the season so you can bet with confidence on a Los Blaugrana win with something to spare.
Espanyol have not scored since on-loan Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois deflected left-back Juan Fuentes’ cross into his own net with the tip of his Belgian boot three games ago and their goal-grabbing record on the road this season is as bad as any team’s in the top half of La Liga.
With that in mind, the evens offered about Barca winning this match to nil appeals greatly as they have managed to best their opponents without seeing Victor Valdes beaten in five of their last ten games in all competitions.
So, in the total goals markets we will be solely relying on Martino’s men to build on their impressive tally of 33 strikes in 11 La Liga matches so far and the 4/6 about Barca grabbing over 3.5 goals in the 90 minutes is the bet to be on here.
They have cleared that mark in more than half of their home ties this term against Levante and Real Sociedad, who both finished ahead of Espanyol last season and Real Valladolid, who finished just a point behind Aguirre’s side in 2012/13.
Chilean winger Alexis Sanchez has responded to the pressure put on his place in the team by brilliant Brazilian Neymar with four goals in his last four appearances, including an incredible chip past Diego Lopez in El Clasico just eight minutes after coming off the bench.
He could keep his place alongside Lionel Messi – who will be desperate to score having not found the net in his last four matches – in the Barca starting eleven.