The two sides that were fighting for European places last term find themselves at the wrong end of the La Liga standings after three rounds, and one of them can really kick-start their season by winning at Cornella El Prat.
A youthful Espanyol side had shown a lot of promise last season, but the poor finish of the league campaign prevented them from mounting a serious challenge for European places.
The team have since stayed without several important players, such as Philippe Coutinho, Vladimir Weiss, Javi Marquez and Alvaro Vazquez, while in came Simao Sabrosa, Joan Capdevila, Wakaso Mubarak and Samuele Longo, among others.
Read more on all La Liga squad changes and predictions for the new league campaign in our Spanish La Liga Season preview.
The changes in the squad seem to have had a negative effect on the team given that Espanyol have yet to put their first points on the board, meaning this is a must-win game for the hosts.
However, given that los Periquitos are not in the best shape at the moment, odds of 2.25 (5/4) offered by Ladbrokes on home win are not exactly worth a shot.
Espanyol boss Mauricio Pochettino, who is considering a switch to 4-4-2 formation, has received a major boost as playmaker Joan Verdu was cleared to play, but Raul Baena, Sergio Garcia and Diego Colotto remain sidelined.
Probable starting line-up (4-4-2 diamond): Alvarez – Javi Lopez, Forlin, Raul Rodriguez, Capdevila – Sanchez, Albin, Mubarak, Verdu – Longo, Stuani.
Having spent the entire summer trying to persuade Javi Martinez and Fernando Llorente to stay at the club, it is little wonder Athletic were not able to fully focus on the start of the new campaign.
Los Leones, nonetheless, showed some improvement to recover from opening defeats to Real Betis and Atletico Madrid, and recorded a 2-0 win over Real Valladolid last time out.
The biggest news in the Athletic squad for the Espanyol game is the return of wantaway striker Fernando Llorente, but the Spain international will have to settle for a place on the bench for the time being.
Playmaker Ander Herrera remains sidelined through injury, but Fernando Amorebieta is expected to return to the starting line-up.
Probable starting line-up (4-3-3): Iraizoz – Iraola, Gurpegui, Amorebieta, Inigo Perez – Muniain, Iturraspe, De Marcos – Susaeta, Aduriz, Isma Lopez.