Espanyol vs. Barcelona: La Liga Football Tips

Mike Richardson

Thursday, January 3, 2013 2:12 PM GMT

There should be no surprises (unlike Chelsea v QPR in the EPL) when La Liga topping (and champions elect) Barcelona host a side at the other end of the table on Saturday in Spain’s Premier League.

Espanyol vs. Barcelona

The last time this fixture was played (5th May 2012) it was 4-0 to Barcelona, or more precisely 4-0 to (that man) Lionel Messi as the Argentinian scored every goal in the game. The scoreline made no difference to either side’s final position in the La Liga table. Barcelona was too far behind Real Madrid to win the league and Espanyol were already safe of relegation. It’s worth mentioning that  those four goals helped Barcelona set a new club record for the most goals scored in a single La Liga season (114), beating their previous record of 105 set in the 2008-09 campaign.

There was another record broken partially thanks to that game, as Lionel Messi set a new European record for most goals scored in a top-flight season (72). The record had previously been held by (Bayern Munich’s) Gerd Muller, who netted 67 times in the 1972-73 season. (Pub Bore Alert!) Messi became just the second player EVER to pass 70 goals in a top flight season (the first being Archie Stark of Bethlehem Steel in the American Soccer League way back in 1924–25).

Enough with broken records…WHERE’S THE MONEY MIKE?

Back before the previous meeting Espanyol had won just one of their last eight matches in La Liga and were 75/1 to beat Barcelona 1-0, that score this time round is offered up by Ladbrokes at 50/1, the same odds as Barcelona winning 8-0. ‘nuff said! If you think those odds are a misnomer you should know that Espanyol’s last victory over Barcelona at Camp Nou was a 2-1 success in February 2009 (a repeat of that score is offered up at 80/1 with a few of the bookies.

Give em fives

Looking at the last five meetings it’s been Barcelona three times and two draws. Not that me (or Mrs Richardson) would recommend you back anything other than a home win, despite the fact that a draw is available at 12/1 with Victor Chandler and an away win is at 20/1. Those odds might swell Mrs Richardson’s shoe fund (something that needs to happen after QPR beat Chelsea), but only if they come in...which they won’t.

The last five games tell you plenty

Sticking with the last five meetings (hey why not) Espanyol have only found the net against Barcelona twice (and a single goal each time). Barcelona have 12 goals in their last four meetings with Espanyol, that sort of number crunching suggests 3-0 to Barca, certainly worth a punt at 13/2 with bet365.

The table speaks volumes about the difference between these two sides. Barcelona are top (and 1/25 favourites to win La Liga) with 16 victories and one draw from 17 games (that’s no defeats in case anyone can’t do the maths). Barca’s only draw all season came at Camp Nou, but I doubt very much that Espanyol will be as lucky. The bookies have Barca winning both halves at 1/3, but if you feel a bit crazy go for a draw at the 45 and a Barca win (what else) at the 90, that’s at 7/2. The bookies have a home win at 1/10, that’s really a foregone conclusion.

[gameodds]17/133705/349-19-192-423-227/us[/gameodds]

How’s Espanyol’s season going I hear you ask?

Espanyol’s season has not been going particularly well. Last season Espanyol finished 14th in the La Liga table, but were a scant five points above the dread dotted line. Their goals against record made sobering reading as they conceded 56 goals. More than Villarreal who were relegated in 18th place in the table. This season Espanyol are now 5/4 to be relegated from Spain’s top flight. Third from bottom Espanyol have 15 points (after 17 games) but a win against Barcelona they could take them as high as 15th, and put a little daylight between them and the dreaded dotted line. But anyone who thinks that is going to happen has clearly been sniffing too much aircraft fuel. The best odds from the bookies have Espanyol winning at 32/1, and them winning any half at 50/1 (Espanyol/Barcelona).

Free Football Tips: Barcelona romp home 4-0 winners (again) available at Ladbrokes