Friday, 3 February 2017

Malaga - Espanyol

PICK: Espanyol AH +0,5 @1,78 SBO 5/10

Match between 14th and 9th placed team in La Liga will be played on La Rosaleda in Malaga and it will start at 12:00 on Saturday. Weather prognostic is good - around 16°C, so there won't be any problems with pitch conditions.

Malaga was one of the teams who recently gave a point to Osasuna. En-Nesyri is back from ACN, while central defender Kone will play for bronze against Burkina Faso. First goalscorer Sandro Ramirez is still injured, alongside with Ricca, Welligton, Munoz, Recio and Kuzmanovińá. They are in really poor form as their last win was on 26/11 last year against Deportivo on La Rosaleda. After that they lost 6 of 9 matches, changed coach - Uruguayan Romero took over the team, but his record is 2 loses and 1 draw. They signed Demichelis, who will probably start with Hernandez on central defence positions. Even though they are scoring goals, their defence is just too poor.

Espanyol bounced back after defeat on Mestalla and won 2 matches in row. First they've beaten Granada, then Sevilla and even if they were really lucky as referee decided to whistle penalty and gave red card to Pareja (in my opinion undeserved), they took advantage and won the match. Even if they are without Baptistao, it looks that Quique's men are doing fine in offensive part. They are not among the strongest teams in aerial duels, but they are crazily good on wings, with Piatti and Perez. There is also experienced Reyes who will probably start from the first minute again as he played really good against Sevilla. Target man of the team will stay Moreno, who has scored 8 goals in 20 matches so far. 

In my opinion bookmakers are underestimating abilities of Espanyol here. They are in much better form, they have less problems with missing players, they have the same, good coach for a while, and there is no reason to put Espanyol as a underdog. With 29 points, they are only 3 away from 7th placed Bilbao, and I believe that they will try to fight for European cups if it will be possible. For now, they are pretty close, so I see it as additional motivation. I can not see any other advantage than a home stadium here, while quality is on away's side. In my eyes match is equal, which means that there is more than 65% for x2, so there is value on Espanyol +0.5.

FT: 0-1

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