Despite talk of Neymar’s departure and Barcelona’s demise dominating pre-season, the La Liga giants head into the Catalan Derby as huge favourites again this weekend. Unbeaten in nine league matches, Barcelona are also unbeaten since 2009 against Espanyol in La Liga. Can their local rivals overturn those records or will Barca prove too strong? Read on for some betting insight.
Live Barcelona vs. Espanyol odds
Barcelona vs. Espanyol betting: Recent games
Barcelona fans cannot be blamed for feeling nervous about the La Liga title race this season. The club lost Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain over the summer, their opening two wins were relatively uninspiring – and Real Madrid are on an incredible run of form.
However, at this early stage, Barcelona are already two points ahead of their arch rivals, with Real dropping points at home to Valencia before the international break. And, going by the form books, Barca could not have picked a better upcoming opponent than Espanyol.
Indeed, despite the fierce local rivalry between the two Catalan sides, Espanyol have not presented Barcelona with any real opposition in league games since 2009. That was the last time Barca lost to them in La Liga, with eight home wins materialising against them since (ranging from one-goal victories to one five-goal win).
In their last meeting (played at Espanyol) Barcelona won 3-0, also claiming the reverse fixture 4-1 at the Nou Camp. Each of Barca’s last four home games against Espanyol have ended in at least a three-goal triumph.
Can Dembele fill the Neymar void?
The difference now, however, is that confidence is low in Barcelona following a 5-1 aggregate Spanish Supercopa defeat to Real Madrid. More importantly, the club is still reeling from the loss of superstar Neymar. Without the Brazilian, Barcelona have won their opening two league games 2-0: it’s certainly no disaster but their play has lacked its usual rhythm and fluency.
The size of the task facing Espanyol borders on the impossible when you examine the statistics that favour Barcelona – even when considering this is an out-of-sorts Barca.
That, though, is where Ousmane Dembele comes in. Signed as Neymar’s replacement for over €105 million (plus add-ons), the 20-year-old Frenchman will be relied upon for both energy and goals. There’s plenty of pressure on Dembele’s shoulders already and expectations will be high if he makes his debut against Espanyol.
Barcelona fans will no doubt hope he can form his own attacking triumvirate with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, much like Neymar did before him. The young forward was second for assists in the Bundesliga last season (12), while only Neymar (8) registered more assists than Dembele (6) in the Champions League last term.
The size of the task facing Espanyol
When analysing the full picture, there will always be data that favours even the smallest underdog. In Espanyol’s case, their 1-1 draw at Sevilla builds on their impressive away form from last season: they were the sixth-best team in La Liga on their travels. Moreover, they haven’t conceded more than one goal in each of their two opening games.
The size of the task facing Espanyol borders on the impossible, though, when you examine the statistics that favour Barcelona – even when considering this is an out-of-sorts Barca. At the Nou Camp, Barcelona were the best team in La Liga last campaign (even better than Real Madrid). They are also unbeaten in nine league games (again, including victory against Real).
Barcelona vs. Espanyol betting: Where is the value?
The challenge facing bettors in the Barcelona vs. Espanyol clash is how to weigh past data against the recent signs. Considering Barca’s impressive record against Espanyol, combined with the fact they scored less than three goals at home just six times last season, Barcelona -2 handicap at 1.787* could tempt many.
Despite the fierce local rivalry between the two Catalan sides, Espanyol have not presented Barcelona with any real opposition in league games since 2009.
Similarly, if Dembele can enjoy a successful debut, Barcelona’s goal threat could significantly increase – the match is 1.917* to feature over 3.5 goals. However, if Dembele is not yet ready to start – or doesn’t gel with his team-mates immediately, the reverse logic could be applied. Under 3.5 goals is 1.980*, while Barcelona to score under 2.5 and 3 goals is 1.925*.
Finally, the team totals market for Espanyol is an intriguing one. Under 0.5 Espanyol goals is 1.892*. Over 0.5 goals for the visitors is 1.990*, though, with the Catalan side having scored in three of their last four visits to the Nou Camp.