Barcelona vs Espanyol - Predictions, Betting Odds & Picks
- Barcelona remains part of the title picture with just four games remaining
- Real Madrid is in pole position to triumph but the job is not done yet
- Espanyol has had a sorry season and its fate has already been decided
|What||Barcelona vs Espanyol|
|Where||Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain|
|When||Wednesday, 8 July 2020, 4 PM EST|
|How to watch||beIN SPORTS|
Barcelona needed a big performance and result at the weekend, and that is exactly what it delivered. By the time of kick-off against Villarreal, Quique Setien’s side had fallen seven points behind Real Madrid in the La Liga standings. Earlier in the day, Madrid had done what it has done on a regular basis of late: win 1-0. Sergio Ramos’ penalty earned Los Blancos the win against Athletic Club, and now Barcelona had to respond.
The team’s mentality has been questioned in recent weeks. Madrid has demonstrated an ability to keep things tight at the back and grind out wins, registering three 1-0 victories on the trot and keeping clean sheets in each of its last four matches. Barcelona, on the other hand, has been guilty of underachievement relative to its talent, and it looked as if it would cost it the La Liga title.
It still might, of course. Madrid remains the heavy favorite to get its hands on the trophy given it has a four-point lead and the head-to-head advantage with four rounds of fixtures remaining. But Barcelona must ensure it pushes its grand rival all the way, and its thumping 4-1 defeat of Villarreal on Sunday suggests that the Blaugrana is not finished just yet.
Espanyol is unlikely to offer too much resistance on Wednesday. Barcelona’s city rival has endured a miserable campaign and will be relegated unless it emerges triumphant at the Camp Nou. Francisco Rufete is the club’s fourth manager of a season which has seen Espanyol lose 20 of its 34 games. It will almost certainly be sent down by its fellow Catalan outfit this week.
Barcelona vs Espanyol Odds
Odds taken from DraftKings
Espanyol has shown a lack of quality and character in recent weeks as it drifts towards demotion. It will, of course, be desperate to deliver what would be a stunning upset against its neighbor, but the betting markets reflect how improbable such an eventuality is.
The best option for this match comes in the Asian handicap, where Barcelona at -2.5 looks better value than perhaps it should be. Setien’s side needs the points and will be coming up against a very generous defense.
Barcelona’s Comfortable Victory Over Villarreal Was Much Needed
It is often said that results are the most important thing at this stage of the season. And of course, picking up maximum points from every fixture in the run-in will do a team’s chances of winning the title the world of good. Yet it is not always that simple, in that strong performances can make positive results more likely in the future; a string of fortunate wins is more likely to come to an end than a sequence of 5-0 thrashings.
This is not to say that Madrid has not deserved to win each of the matches it has in recent weeks. Despite the slender margin of victory in each of its last three outings, Zidane’s men have been superior to their opponents throughout.
Nevertheless, the manner of Barcelona’s victory over Villarreal on Sunday was significant, and the players should be in far better shape to win all their remaining matches – which will surely be necessary if Barcelona is to have any chance of topping the pile – because of the emphatic nature of that triumph.
Espanyol Has Already Begun to Prepare for Life in the Second Tier
La Liga will feel strange without the presence of Espanyol next season. It has been in the division every campaign since 1993 and in 85 of the last 89 seasons of the Spanish top tier. Last term it secured a seventh-place finish having been second in November, qualifying for the Europa League while also reaching the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.
Yet 2019/20 has been a complete disaster. Rufete, the club’s sporting director, has stepped into the managerial hot seat for the remainder of the campaign following the sacking of Abelardo last month. Abelardo himself replaced Pablo Machin in December, while Machin was appointed as the successor to David Gallego in October.
Espanyol will be desperate to set the reset button in 2020/21 when it will hope to secure an immediate return to La Liga. For now, all it can do is try to avoid further embarrassment.
A Thumping Win Could Serve Barcelona Well as Title Race Enters Home Straight
The schedule can be important in the final weeks of the season, and the fact that Barcelona plays first on matchday 35 means Madrid’s lead could be cut to one point by the time it faces Alaves on Friday.
Barcelona has scored more goals than any team in the division this term, while Espanyol has conceded the third most. It is difficult to look past a thumping home victory in this one.
Take the Barcelona -2.5 option on the Asian Handicap – this should be a comfortable match for Setien’s side.