Espanyol v Leganes – Cornellà-El Prat at 17:15 Live at Sky Sports

Last season was all about survival for Leganes – promoted to Spain’s top-flight for the first time in their history. The Cucumber Growers staved off relegation late on to secure their one and only objective

It’ll be a similar story in 2017/18 and so keeping hold of highly-rated coach Asier Garitano has to be considered a massive plus for the La Liga underdogs, who will be hoping to make their Butarque home ground formidable once more.

The squad is less reliant on loan deals now and that should bring a greater deal of continuity and stability to a club desperate to consolidate. But should Leganes achieve survival by a solitary point (or goal) it will again be regarded as a success for the Madrid-based side.

The Cucumber Growers certainly started the campaign in positive fashion, collecting a convincing 1-0 triumph at home to Alaves on the opening evening. Leganes fired in nine efforts on-target in that encounter, echoing their achievements during August 2016.

Following promotion, the Madrid minnows won three of their first four away matches in La Liga. But each of their victories came at bottom-eight finishers and with the surprise factor long gone, Leganes may struggle to succeed consistently on their travels this term.

The betting angle

Garitano’s group returned W0-D4-L11 in their final 15 away days and so the 1.98 available on Espanyol to overcome a -0.50 Asian Handicap appears great value when the two teams lock horns in Barcelona on Sunday evening.

Espanyol was unfortunate not to pick up a point away at Sevilla last weekend with their more illustrious hosts benefiting from a dubious goal. Still, the Parakeets will have been pleased with their performance in Andalucia, having won the shots on-target count 6-4.

The Catalan club clinched the permanent signing of last season’s most creative player, Pablo Piatti, in the summer, and their excellent home record against La Liga’s lesser lights stand Espanyol in good stead on Sunday.

The hosts W5-D1-L0 against bottom-six opposition the last term and if we delve deeper, the Parakeets have rewarded home backers in 10 of their previous 14 games against the same standard of opposition.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Espanyol -0.50 at 1.960

By @MarkOHaire

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