The mere fact Atletico Madrid are odds-on favourites to win at Cornella El Prat shows how much the things have changed since last season, when the two sides were locked in the battle for Europa League places.
The two teams find themselves at opposite ends of the La Liga standings, but that shouldn’t make this match any less interesting.
This Espanyol side have been progressing steadily under talented coach Mauricio Pochettino and despite the serious squad changes in the summer, los Periquitos were tipped to continue the good run of results.
However, the team have been utterly disappointing at the start of the new league campaign, taking just one point from opening five games.
The first win is long overdue and even if red-hot Atletico are on the other side, the hosts have no choice but to try and pick up all three points here, but odds of 3.85 (37/20) offered by Betfair on home win prove that will be no easy task.
Key players Juan Forlin and Samuele Longo return to the side after missing the Real Betis game, but now Wakaso Mubarak is suspended.
Defender Diego Colotto is back in contention even if he is still not 100% fit, while Sergio Tejera is available after overcoming a calf problem.
Probable starting line-up (4-4-2 diamond): Alvarez – Javi Lopez, Raul Rodriguez, Moreno, Capdevila – Forlin, Simao, Victor Sanchez, Verdu – Stuani, Longo.
Last year’s Europa League title and bright finish to the league campaign hinted Atletico could be in for great things this season, and los Colchoneros made sure not to disappoint.
Diego Simeone’s side began the season with a credible away draw at Levante, but 4-0 La Liga win over Athletic and 4-1 UEFA Super Cup triumph over Chelsea changed everything.
Atletico Madrid continued scoring goals for fun to record six victories on the bounce, climbing to the second place in La Liga standings.
Having recorded a 4-2 away win over Real Betis last time out, los Colchoneros look a good bet to extend their winning run to seven games at odds of 2.05 (21/20) offered at 888sport.
After scoring 7 goals in first 5 league games, Falcao is 2.10 (11/10) with BetVictor to score against Espanyol as well, where the Colombian is no less than 7.00 (6/1) at 188BET to finish as La Liga top goalscorer.
Thibaut Courtois and Diego Godin are available after shaking off minor knocks, but Falcao is doubtful with a muscle overload.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Courtois – Juanfran, Godin, Miranda, Filipe Luis – Tiago, Gabi – Adrian, Turan, Koke – Falcao.