Heading into the first leg of the Copa del Rey last 16 round against Las Palmas, the home side of Eibar will be looking to extend their positive run and record a good result ahead of the rematch. On the other side, Las Palmas have also been on a fine form and we should be in for an exciting duel.
Eibar on the run
Los Armeros have successfully survived the sticky patch at the end of November and early in December which saw them go on a three-match losing run in all competitions. Eibar have managed to bounce back and to record three wins in last five games. The latest triumph was the most outstanding of all as Jose Luis Mendillibar’s men have bagged a comprehensive 4-0 win at Real Betis at the beginning of the new year 2016. Following the impressive away triumph, Los Armeros have moved up to the eighth place in the La Liga standings, only a point shy of Athletic Bilbao who are sitting in the Europa League spot. Compared to last season when Eibar were lucky enough to avoid being relegated to Segunda Division, the ongoing term has already been a huge success. With their ambitions firmly set on surviving the league, Eibar could use the Copa del Rey match against Las Palmas to explore different options and prepare themselves for the future La Liga challenges.
Jose Luis Mendillibar will be without Jaime, Dos Santos and Junca who are all ruled out through injury, while Saul Berjon, Eddy Israfilov and Borja Baston are all ready to step in and could be given the nod from the start.
Las Palmas refuse to go down without a fight
Sitting low in the bottom part of the table in 16th place with only 17 so far this term, Las Palmas are still refusing to down without a proper fight. Only two points separate them from the dropping zone, but the La Liga newcomers are fighting tooth and nail to survive. Their combative spirit and resilience were awarded with four points from last two games, as Qique Setien’s charges managed a comprehensive 4-1 win over Granada before hanging on to a 2-2 draw away at Athletic Bilbao. Los Amarillos fought bravely to grab a point away from tough rivals such as the Basque side, and their draw was secured with ten minutes on the clock through an equalizer by Tanausu. Las Palmas come into the last 16 of Copa del Rey thanks to an aggregate 3-2 win over Real Sociedad in the previous round and will hope that their newly found confidence will help them make another positive result in the competition.
Las Palmas are travelling to Eibar without Hernan, Alcaraz, Castellano, Angel Lopez, Pedro Bigas and Willian Jose, who are all out of selection through injury. Setien’s selection headache is eased a bit with the fact that Roque Mesa is returning from suspension.
The hosts are unbeaten in last three encounters against their Thursday opposition and will most certainly look to make it four in a row. Los Amarillos are yet to record their first triumph on the road this season and are faced with a proper challenge. Eibar have to be considered firm favourites.
Top pick: Home win 2.00 (1) @Betfred
Alternative pick 1: HT/FT Home win 3.3 (23/10) @888sport
Alternative pick 2: Under 2.5 goals 1.58 (7/12) @Unibet