Espanyol might not be the first team to think of when hearing about Barcelona or football, but the club made impressive progress during the last couple of years. Very few players have been signed in, but the fact that Espanyol managed to keep its best strikers in-house keeps them in the race for European Cups. Zaragoza doesn’t look like a problematic opponent, but the head to head contests say otherwise.
Match: Espanyol vs Zaragoza
Bet: Over 2,5
Odds: Bet365 2.10
The visitors won the last four games between these two teams and despite scoring few goals, the victory were fairly clear. This season though, Zaragoza has a single objective and this is not to relegate to Segunda Division, which means that they have to scrap as many points away from home. Valladolid ruined their debut by winning 1-0 and this is a team that plays in a very similar fashion as Espanyol. The latter are moving the ball faster and are more aggressive in front of their fans, but overall the opening match was a good rehearsal for Zaragoza.
Defensive concerns on both sides
Espanyol conceded two goals in the game played away from home, but Mallorca could have scored much more than that if it wasn’t for Alvarez. The 36 year-old Argentinian goalkeeper worked his magic in the net and kept the team alive despite the defensive struggles. With Diego Colotto and Raul Baena sidelined due to injury, the hosts will have even more gaps to fill and provide Zaragoza with more chances to score.
On the other hand, the visitors are worried about Simao Sabrosa who will make his debut for Espanyol as the winger has the speed and experience to catch the visitors on the wrong foot. Zaragoza’s defense is too stiff for the passing game favored by Espanyol and now that Loovens and Obradovic are not fit to play, the visitors will have to fight hard to avoid an early goal. Zaragoza is most vulnerable during the first few minutes and this is when the hosts will try to take the lead, and avenge the recent defeats.
Both teams want to put the defeat suffered in the first round behind them and both have the means to take advantage of their opponent’s defensive woes. Bet365 is slightly underpricing Zaragoza, but few are the ones willing to risk backing the visitors or at least laying the hosts. A more suitable approach would be to bet no the game totals, namely the Over 2,5 at odds of 2.10.