Espanyol are starting to lose ground following the bright start to the season and they desperately need a morale-boosting win at the moment.
Atletico Madrid, on the other hand, cannot seem to find the cure for poor showings on the travels, so this is another chance for them to prove they are a serious side and bring all three points from Montjuic.
The less famous club from Barcelona have seen a major uptrend in fortunes under talented coach Mauricio Pochettino and it is only a matter of time before Espanyol clinch European qualification.
Los Periquitos have turned their Montjuic into a real fortress over the years, so home wins over Athletic, Getafe and Real Betis were hardly a surprise, with the 4:0 defeat to Real Madrid the only setback at home in the opening stage of the season.
After losing first three games on the travels, Espanyol managed to beat both Rayo Vallecano and Racing Santander away from home, thus climbing to the top part of the table.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side have since suffered a small dip in form and they are winless in last five league games. However, taking their impressive home performances into account, odds of 2.88 (17/9) offered by Victor Chandler on home win could be worth a shot.
Javi Marquez is set to miss two months of action after the surgery on his ankle, but Romaric, Pandiani, Sergio Garcia and Javi Lopez should all return. Vladimir Weiss is suspended after picking his fifth yellow card of the season.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Alvarez – Javi Lopez, Rodriguez, Moreno, Didac Vila – Gomez, Forlin – Garcia, Verdu, Vazquez – Pandiani.
Despite spending piles of cash season after season, Atletico Madrid cannot seem to return to old glory days, with even a top 4 finish now looking like an unrealistic goal.
The fans hoped that things would change after the arrival of Falcao, Arda Turan, Adrian Lopez, Diego and Courtois, but los Colchoneros are still unable to find any consistency.
In all fairness, Atletico are becoming a real force to be reckoned with at their Vicente Calderon, having won 9 and drawn 3 of their twelve home games this season, but their showings on the travels leave a lot to be desired.
Gregorio Manzano’s side managed to bring just one points from six away games in La Liga, which is a terrible record for a team supposed to be fighting for top 4 finish, whereas the Copa del Rey defeat to Albacete in midweek goes to show that Atletico are a different side when they leave Calderon.
Taking all this into account, one would be mad to back Atletico to win at Montjuic, even if Ladbrokes pay 2.62 (13/8) on away win.
Gregorio Manzano rested most of his starters in the 2:1 defeat to Albacete, meaning that Falcao, Diego and other key players are set to return. Thibaut Courtois and Diego Godin have served their suspensions.
Probable starting line-up (4-4-1-1): Courtois – Perea, Miranda, Godin, Filipe Luis – Turan, Gabi, Mario, Reyes – Diego – Falcao.