Espanyol v Sevilla – Estadi Cornellà-El Prat at 15:15 GMT live at Premier Sports
Sevilla were rumoured to be considering the position of head coach Pablo Machin after a damaging 2-1 defeat at rock-bottom Huesca a fortnight ago. The former Girona boss only arrived at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan in the summer but a return of just one win from 10 La Liga outings cranked up the pressure.
The Andalusians earned a solitary point from a possible (W0-D1-L4), moving five points off the Champions League qualification places but answered their critics in spectacular fashion last weekend, smashing Real Sociedad 5-2 on home soil. Wissam Ben Yedder struck a hat-trick and eased the ill-feeling at the top.
Having already been eliminated in the Copa del Rey, the only bright spot at the time of writing has been Sevilla’s run to the Last 16 of the Europa League. Los Rojiblancos impressively dispatched Lazio over two legs and are expected to seal their progress to the quarter-finals by overcoming Slavia Prague on Thursday.
However, their continental exploits (that began in qualification) have left the squad drained and lethargic, particularly when asked to play twice in a week. And Sevilla’s long-term road record continues to cause plenty of consternation at the club. In La Liga, the Andalusians are winless away since September.
Sevilla can be opposed
Machin’s men have W3-D4-L7 in their 14 away days, a poor return for a team chasing Champions League qualification. But the issues have been here for some time; go back to the start of 2015/16 and Sevilla have managed just W16-D20-L35 in their La Liga road trips – that’s a 49% loss rate and 23% win rate.
Considering Sunday’s visitors have to travel to Prague on Thursday night for a crunch Europa League Last 16 second leg before facing the tricky trip to Espanyol here, I’m happy to oppose the guests. Indeed, Espanyol hold plenty of appeal as 1.74 shots with a +0.25 start on the Asian Handicap line.
Los Periquitos kept faith with head coach Rubi despite a dismal run of results through the depths of winter and the Barcelona-based club have found their form again. Perched just outside the top-half, Espanyol performed with aplomb at Athletic Bilbao last weekend despite missing two leading lights in attack.
Sunday’s hosts also earned a point away at in-form Valencia during their recent six-match unbeaten streak, whilst their record on home soil deserves plenty of respect. Los Periquitos have W8-D1-L2 here when excluding the Big Three in Spain, only conceding more than once in those two defeats.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Espanyol +0.25 at 1.740
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.
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