January 16, 2019

Copa Del Rey Match Previews – 17th January Thursday

Barcelona v Levante

Barcelona suffered a shocking defeat to Thursday’s opponents during the first leg of this competition. The reigning La Liga champions lined up some of their bench players and gave rest to the likes of Lionel Messi; however, it doesn’t excuse their loss considering the vulnerability of Levante. Barcelona will most likely come into Thursday’s clash ready to take on Levante for their Copa del Rey matchup and secure a victory to make up for their loss in the first leg of the tournament.  Expect the Barcas to take control of the game right from the start of the whistle blow.

The world will definitely be tuning into this match to see if Barcelona could come out victorious following their embarrassing loss against a weak Levante. Barcelona can’t afford a defeat in this tie or else they will become a laughing stock in the world of football. Ernesto Valverde will definitely line up his strongest eleven for this match which should include Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, especially if they want to overpower their opponents. Knowing the Barcas, they wouldn’t let the same team get the better of them twice in a row. Aside from that, Barcelona are still seated at the top of the La Liga table while Levante are placed at 12th.

Levante, on the other hand, were lucky to come out victorious last weekend. They were able to deliver quite an impressive performance especially when they shocked Barcelona. However, Thursday’s clash would be different this time since Barcelona won’t be going down without a fight. Moreover, the visitors will come into this fixture, failing to keep at least one clean sheet in each of their previous six matches on the road. Despite the Barcas losing to Levante during the first leg of the competition, they are still the heavy favourites to win this tie.

Espanyol v Villarreal

After a series of poor performances in several matches, Espanyol seemed to turn things around for the new year. They remained unbeaten in two of their recent fixtures, securing a victory during the first leg contest against Villarreal. On Thursday, Espanyol will host Villarreal at the RCDE Stadium to take on Villarreal once again for their Copa del Rey clash.

Espanyol have been inconsistent in their home form lately, but their efforts in their latest fixture at home have been impressive. They won against Leganes in a solid fashion and a repeat of that kind of performance will surely be enough to secure a win against their opponents. Furthermore, when these two sides met earlier this campaign, Espanyol bagged the 3-1 win. They dominated the field by creating opportunities to notch goals. If they manage to repeat that feat, Rubi’s men will definitely come out victorious.

In the meantime, Villarreal are in an upsetting form this season. The team which was once the challengers for the European top spot in the La Liga seemed to diminish in form throughout recent years. At the moment, Villarreal are the 19th place in the league table, hovering just a few points above the relegation zone. All they managed throughout the season is just three victories, two came from away fixtures. They managed to concede at least two goals in five of their previous away matches. All in all, they haven’t been doing that great this season.

Thursday’s match will certainly be crucial for the visitors since they can’t afford any more failures if they want to guarantee their survival in the dominant league on summer. However, it doesn’t seem likely that Villarreal will come into this match with absolute confidence and come out unscathed.

Real Sociedad v Real Betis

The Anoeta Stadium will welcome one of the most sensational teams in European football on Thursday for the second leg of the Round of 16 in the Copa del Rey. Real Betis will visit Real Sociedad for another Copa del Rey clash and both will be hoping for a victory on Thursday and to secure a place in the last eight. Real Sociedad held Real Betis to a goalless draw during the first leg of the competition.

The shared draw against Real Sociedad was probably more disappointing for Real Betis since they failed to come out as winners for the third time in a row as well as reaching four games without a win following their upset against Real Madrid over the weekend. Quique Setien’s men are seemingly struggling in their away fixtures. They have a habit of conceding more than they create opportunities to produce goals since they were outclassed in terms of expected number of goals in six of their previous fixtures on the road. With an opponent like Real Sociedad, the Andalusians will need to improve on their strategy fast if they want to come out victorious.

On the other hand, Real Sociedad are definitely pleased when they prevented Real Betis from scoring a goal during their draw. On their home turf, Real Sociedad haven’t also gotten a lot of great results lately though they were able to cruise past Espanyol on Monday night, which was their first victory at Anoeta since late November. Their performance at this point has not really been that impressive. Ultimately, Thursday’s match could be a similar contest in terms of performances from both sides. However, Real Betis are the ones heavily favoured to come out as winners when the match kicks off 18:30 GMT.

By @EliaasMJ

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