Free tips La Liga: Barcelona v Espanyol prediction (7.45 pm, Sunday)

BARCELONA VS ESPANYOL PREDICTIONS, BETTING TIPS AND MATCH PREVIEWS

Sunday 18th December 19:45, Camp Nou. Live on Sky Sports 1

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BARCELONA VS ESPANYOL PREDICTIONS


ASIAN HANDICAP PREDICTION:

Espanyol +2.5 at Evens with 888Sport


HALF-TIME/FULL-TIME DOUBLE RESULT PREDICTION

Draw/ Barcelona at 7/2 with BetVictor


REASON FOR BARCELONA VS ESPANYOL BETTING TIPS

With Real Madrid away in Japan on Club World Cup duty, Barcelona will be looking to close the gap at the top of La Liga to three points by beating Espanyol in the Catalan derby.

Barca won 3-0 at Osasuna last time out, but drew three on the spin prior to that, which enabled Real Madrid top open a worrying gap at the top. In fact, it’s Barcelona’s home form that has proved damaging this season, with just 12 points from a possible 21 at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona have won 11 of the past 14 La Liga meetings with Espanyol dating back to 2009 though, with the other three having been draws. Los Periquitos have failed to score in no fewer than 11 of those games.

Recent history would suggest a straightforward Barcelona win, but that could be easier said than done on this occasion, with Espanyol having lost just three league games all season. They have also gone nine La Liga games without defeat and have conceded just two goals in their last eight matches in all competitions. They could hardly be coming to the Camp Nou in better shape.

Quique Sánchez Flores’s team have become particularly impressive on their travels, where they are unbeaten in six games (won three, drawn three) and they have kept clean sheets in their last four games on the road.

In four meetings between the teams since January, there have been 34 yellow and two red cards. This match is potentially combustible and that could have a bearing.

Barcelona are best odds of 1/9 to win this game, which opens up options on the Asian Handicap to back Espanyol +2.5. That bet would ensure that provided Espanyol avoid defeat by a margin of 3 goals or more, you would have a winning bet and looks very reasonable indeed given current form.

With nine of Espanyol’s last 10 matches having been goalless at half-time, it could take Barcelona time to make the breakthrough against resilient opposition. Backing the 2nd half as the Highest Scoring Half could be worthwhile and is available at Evens with William Hill. An alternative could be to go for the Half-time/ Full-time double result option of Draw/ Barcelona.

In terms of a Barcelona v Espanyol correct score tip, a 3-1 home win at 11/1 with William Hill looks to be worth an interest. Luis Suarez signed a new long-term contract in the week, so might be extra keen to mark the occasion with a goal. He can be backed at 5/2 to be the First Goalscorer with bet365.


BARCELONA VS ESPANYOL STATS

Barcelona are averaging exactly 2.00 goals per game at home this season, whilst conceding at a rate of 0.86. Espanyol are scoring at a rate of 1.29 away from home and conceding at 1.14.

Both Teams To Score (BTTS) has occurred in 60% of Barcelona’s matches this season, but only 40% of Espanyol’s. In Barca games at Camp Nou that figure drops to 57%, whilst it applies to 43% of Espanyol’s away matches.


BARCELONA TEAM NEWS

Barcelona have an almost full squad to select from, with Neymar returning to action following suspension. That leaves only defender Jeremy Mathieu currently sidelined with injury.


ESPANYOL TEAM NEWS

Victor Alvarez, Hernan Perez and Pablo Piatti are doubts for the visitors. Andres Pieto is back in full training and should be available.


Compare betting odds on Barcelona v Espanyol


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