Espanyol vs Barcelona preview, betting tips and prediction: Tight Derby in prospect in Cornella

Can Lionel Messi steal the show?
At 13/10 a £10 bet would return £23
Espanyol vs Barcelona
February 04,2018
15:15

The derby between Espanyol and Barcelona is always tasty and the pair meet again having only played out two fascinating games in the Copa Del Rey quite recently. As expected, Barcelona emerged to qualify for the semi-finals. However, they could only do so after recovering from a surprise first-leg defeat. Since then, it’s essentially been business as usual for the La Liga leaders who can still boast an unbeaten league record and an 11-point lead over closest rivals Atletico Madrid. Philippe Coutinho is quietly settling into life as a Barcelona player. The coverage of his adaptation has been pretty underwhelming considering he’s the third-most expensive player of all time. Probably because he could cost a billion and there would still be no doubt about who the star of the show is.

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Anyone arriving at the Camp Nou knows that they’re stepping on Lionel Messi’s turf and makes peace with that fact. Arthur of Gremio has been given the green light to show up to Messi’s patch later this year. Globo Esporte reporting that a fee has been agreed for the attacker and that he will join the Catalan giants after the World Cup. There has been talk of his transfer fee rising if he competes for Brazil in Russia this summer.

Another interesting set of transfers involving Barcelona concerned the fate of two 17-year-olds. Marcus McGuane became the latest in a long line of Arsenal players to depart for the Camp Nou while Barca said goodbye to one of their brightest starlets, Sergio Gomez. In fact, Gomez may be one of the brightest starlets in football, according to Borussia Dortmund CEO Michael Zorc, who was understandably thrilled that the German club succeeded in snapping him up. A €3 million fee lands them a versatile attacker who was voted second-best player at the U17 World Cup.

Espanyol have been falling apart since that win over Barca but may be motivated by their great rival and the derogatory comments of Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets. They referred to Espanyol as “Espanyol de Cornella”. Espanyol claimed their comments ‘”flirted very dangerously with xenophobic attitudes [which] clearly incite violence and intolerance in our sport.”

Under 2.5 goals @ 13/10 with William Hill

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