The match against brilliant Atletico Madrid could not have come in the worse time for Espanyol given that the hosts are searching for their first points after three straight defeats. Meanwhile, los Colchoneros sit hand in hand with leaders Barcelona after winning first eight league fixtures and they will fancy their chances of extending the unbelievable run at Cornella El Prat.
Three defeats on the bounce
Last season was quite eventful for Espanyol as the team spent the entire first half of the campaign in the relegation zone only to come into a position to fight for European places during the season finale following a huge uptrend in fortunes since the arrival of Javier Aguirre. The club entered the new campaign without several important players as Wakaso Mubarak, Jordi Amat, Juan Forlin and few other players left, although los Periquitos did sign some decent replacements. Even so, everybody was surprised by Espanyol’s impressive start to the league campaign, with Javier Aguirre’s men picking up no less than 11 points from first 5 fixtures. The good run was short-lived as the team succumbed to defeats to Villarreal, Getafe and Elche, so it is perfectly clear they are on the downtrend at the moment. It is for that reason that they cannot be expected to match red-hot Atletico Madrid, who seem to be on top of their game at the moment. On top of that, the hosts will be without several important players in what is a very important fixture for them.
Victor Sanchez is suspended after seeing red against Elche, while Sergio Garcia is doubtful with a hamstring problem. Hector Moreno, Felipe Mattioni and Victor Alvarez continue to miss out.
Can anyone stop Atletico?
Ever since Diego Simeone took over the reigns, Atletico Madrid have been closing the gap behind the El Clasico rivals, but even with los Colchoneros pipping Real Madrid to the Copa del Rey trophy last term, nobody expected them to mount a serious title challenge in La Liga. However, with all key players staying at the club and amazing Diego Costa making sure Radamel Falcao was not sorely missed, Atletico enjoyed their best ever start to a league campaign, winning eight straight matches to climb to second place in the standings. While winning most of the ‘smaller’ games with ease, Diego Simeone’s men impressed to defeat Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, and they are now on an eight-match winning run in all competitions. It is more than evident that Atletico are playing with a lot of confidence at the moment, but without underestimating their opponents and such an approach should help them come on top of the clash with struggling Espanyol. Unlike his counterpart, Diego Simeone has all his key men available for the match at Cornella El Prat.
Joao Miranda, Adrian Lopez and Leo Baptistao are out injured, but Raul Garcia has returned to the group this week.
Espanyol are under pressure following three straight defeats and the fact they are still searching for form is unlikely to help them cope with amazing Atletico Madrid. Having already beaten Real Sociedad, Real Valladolid and Real Madrid on the road, los Colchoneros can be trusted to see off Espanyol as well.
Top pick: Away win 1.80 (4/5) @ BetVictor
Alternative pick 1: Atletico/Atletico 2.75 (7/4) @ Coral
Alternative pick 2: Both teams to score 1.96 (24/25) @ 888sport
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