Espanyol became the latest victim of giant slayers Mirandes as the team from Barcelona suffered a disappointing Copa del Rey exit, but they are unlikely to be too downhearted by the defeat seeing they currently sit in fifth place in La Liga. Mallorca, too, were eliminated from Copa del Rey, by Athletic Bilbao, whereas their La Liga campaign is not progressing according to plan.
Nothing new for Espanyol
Espanyol were long time considered one of the most boring sides in La Liga as they would always finish the league campaign in mid table, far away from both European places and the relegation zone. However, that has changed with the arrival of coach Maurico Pochettino, who has transformed the team to a top table side. The talented coach helped Espanyol become a real force to be reckoned with at their Montjuic, where they have been thoroughly impressive over the last two seasons, but their away performances leave a lot to be desired. That is probably the reason why the Monjuic outfit were eliminated from Copa del Rey despite the amazing comeback in the first leg, but that could be a blessing in disguise as Espanyol can now fully focus on their league campaign. Maurico Pochettino’s side currently sit in fifth place, just three points behind fourth-placed Levante and after winning five of their last six home games (sharing spoils only with Barcelona), they look like hot favourites to win this clash.
Key midfielder Joan Verdu returns to the side after he was rested against Mirandes, but Sergio Garcia and Alvaro Vazquez continue to miss out.
Mallorca in problems
Once considered a top table side, Mallorca have experienced a major downtrend in fortunes over the last few years, with the side from Balearic Islands becoming one of the most likely candidates for the drop. After escaping the drop by a single point last term, the team failed to show considerable improvement this season and they are again flirting with relegation. Mallorca boosted their survival hopes with a win over fellow strugglers Rayo Vallecano, but seeing that was their only positive result in last four games, Joaquin Caparros’ side have little to hope for before the clash with high-flying Espanyol. The Islanders were eliminated from Copa del Rey, having lost both legs to Athletic Bilbao, and everything suggests they are in for yet another disappointment. Sitting just three points above the bottom three, Mallorca have got to start improving soon or else they would not be able to avoid difficult relegation struggle.
Pablo Cendros returns to the side after missing the Rayo clash through suspension, whereas Kevin Garcia Martinez remains sidelined.
Espanyol have been absolutely brilliant at their Montjuic, winning five of last six games there and outplaying mighty Barcelona in the process, meaning they should have no problems beating struggling Mallorca. The Islanders look completely out of form and they cannot be trusted to get something from this game.
Our prediction: Home win
Odds: 2.00 (1/1)
Bookmaker: William Hill