Barcelona – Espanyol Predictions
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Barcelona 1-1 Espanyol
Date: 31.12.2022 | Match at: 14:00 | League: SPAIN: LALIGA – ROUND 15 | Tip: Over 2.5 Goals | Odds: 1.41 | Bookie: Unibet.
Match Preview Barcelona – Espanyol Predictions
- Barcelona carried a two-point La Liga (LL) lead over arch-rivals Real Madrid into the World Cup break and may have celebrated their famous son Lionel Messi lifting the cup, but it’s back to business with Derbi Barceloní against Espanyol this weekend. A club-record 24-game unbeaten H2H run (W18, D6) stretching back to February 2009 suggests the scales are heavily tilted in favour of Barça in this fixture. Yet, Xavi wouldn’t want to be the manager to halt that sequence having already seen his season tarnished with another agonising Champions League group-stage failure.
- The suspended Robert Lewandowski leaves a 13-league goal hole up front, but Barça can lean on a resilient backline which has conceded just five LL goals so far. That includes 11 league clean sheets and having won ten of their last 12 top-flight home H2Hs with a shutout, another defensive masterclass perhaps wouldn’t be surprising here.
- The visitors haven’t had much to celebrate this Christmas with only a point separating them from the bottom-three. At least there won’t be any rustiness with Espanyol having won two Copa del Rey matches before this derby and coach Diego Martínez will hope his decent personal top-flight record against Barcelona (W2, L2) may be just the tonic to halt a five-game winless league run (D3, L2).
- A lack of goals has hurt Espanyol with only five scored across their last six league games, though their sturdiness at the back (six conceded) provides a glimmer of hope. With the last two derbies at this venue decided by a single goal, Espanyol may silently harbour hopes of stunning their esteemed neighbours by setting up to soak up pressure before unleashing a killer blow.
- Players to watch: Pedri scored two of his last three LL goals in home matches and opened Barcelona’s scoring when these sides last met. Espanyol’s Joselu will do well to upstage him as he has only one career goal against Barcelona in seven previous league games, which came in his first H2H match.
- Hot streak: Espanyol’s last six league games stood level at the break.