Espanyol vs Real Madrid - Predictions, Betting Odds & Picks
- Real Madrid looks in a strong position to wrest the title away from Barcelona
- Espanyol needs a miracle to extend its stay in Spanish soccer’s top flight
- Madrid should ease to victory in continuation of its excellent post-lockdown form
|What||Espanyol vs Real Madrid|
|Where||RCDE Stadium, Barcelona, Spain|
|When||Sunday, 28 June 2020, 4 PM EST|
|How to watch||beIN SPORTS|
At first glance, it seems a statistical quirk that Real Madrid has won more Champions Leagues than La Liga titles in the last decade. The former competition, in which it has triumphed four times since 2014 alone, is regarded as the pinnacle of club soccer. It certainly carries with it more prestige than Spain’s domestic championship, which has been claimed by los Blancos on only two occasions since 2008.
How to explain the discrepancy? It probably comes down to the fact that Madrid was better suited to the Champions League for much of the 2010s. It had a clutch of big-name players who regularly rose to the occasion, and although various managers – Zinedine Zidane foremost among them – played their part in the team’s success, the dressing room was good enough to run itself.
That is not to diminish the remarkable accomplishment of Zidane; in guiding Madrid to three Champions League trophies (in consecutive years, no less) he joined an elite club of managers that had previously contained only Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti, who won the 2014 edition with los Blancos.
But Zidane himself knows that he must claim more La Liga titles to win over the doubters once and for all. In some ways, domestic crowns are a better measure of a manager’s ability. Can he motivate the players throughout the season? Can he find different solutions to the variety of problems he will inevitably face across a 38-game campaign? Can he pace his squad so that they do not peak too soon or too late?
Madrid has the same number of points as Barcelona and is only top of the league due to a superior head-to-head record. But as things stand, it looks like the title is there for the taking.
Espanyol vs Real Madrid Odds
|Real Madrid -1.75||+250|
Odds taken from DraftKings.
Madrid has claimed its spot at the summit of the standings thanks to a four-match winning run since the La Liga campaign resumed earlier this month. Espanyol is in a stickier situation, propping up the table and almost certain to suffer its first relegation since 1993.
In such a light, the Madrid -1.75 option on the Asian handicap looks like good value. Zidane’s charges should have few problems on Sunday, and a handsome victory would be par for the course.
Madrid’s Defense Looks Set to Carry it to the Championship
Seasoned La Liga watchers can usually be sure of one thing: Atletico Madrid has the strongest defense in the division. In each of the last four campaigns, Diego Simeone’s side has conceded fewer goals than any other team. Last term its backline was breached 29 times – which means Real Madrid conceded 17 more goals than its city rival.
But after 31 games of 2019/20, Real Madrid has the best defensive numbers in La Liga. It has conceded only 21 goals to date and has kept clean sheets in 48 percent of its matches this season.
As things stand it looks like Madrid’s defense will take it all the way to the title. Barcelona may be level on points with its arch-enemy, but its performances since the restart have not been as convincing as those of Madrid.
Espanyol’s Top-Flight Status Under Real Threat After Dire Campaign
At least Barcelona still has a chance of achieving its objective this term. For its crosstown rival Espanyol, this has been a season to forget. The Periquitos have been a permanent fixture in La Liga in modern times, and would have hoped to make it 30 years of unbroken participation in the top flight in 2023. But an eight-point gap separating it from safety means Espanyol will surely be going down in a few weeks’ time.
No one saw this coming. Espanyol has been in the division for a remarkable 85 of the last 89 seasons. It finished seventh last campaign and invested in the squad ahead of this one. Yet it has won just five times all season and been outside the bottom three at the end of only one matchday out of 31.
Espanyol’s fate has not been sealed just yet, but it is safe to say that the club will be playing its soccer in the second division next term.
Madrid Should Triumph Here with a Minimum of Fuss
Madrid’s four-game winning streak will almost certainly be extended here. It could drop to second before kick-off if Barcelona beats Celta Vigo on Saturday, which will further emphasize the need for Zidane’s side to take all three points.
Espanyol’s dismal season will soon be over, and confidence must be at an all-time low inside the dressing room. This should be a straightforward assignment for Zidane and his players.
Back Madrid -1.75 on the Asian handicap – it is difficult to see the leaders failing to comfortably beat the league’s worst side.