Terry Gibson’s La Liga Betting: In-form Espanyol won’t trouble indifferent Barcelona

Barcelona v Espanyol, Sunday 19.45

At half-time in week nine, after only winning just the one game, Espanyol were 3-0 down at home to Eibar. 

Quique Sanches Flores was already getting his coat, but before he could get the sack at the end of the 90 minutes his team came back from the dead and somehow dramatically scrambled a 3-3 draw.

Since then there has been an incredible turnaround and it is now four wins and two draws in the last six.

The goal they conceded in the 93rd minute of a 2-1 victory last week from a direct free kick by Duje Cop of Sporting Gijon was the first conceded since that first half debacle against Eibar.

By that time though they had broken the club record of 586 minutes without conceding a goal.

They are a strange team at the moment with a central midfielder playing right back, another central midfielder playing at centre back and last week they played with three recognised centre forwards up front – but it is working. Football has no logic at times!

This week they face a Barcelona team who are lacking their usual dominant form at home. Barcelona are also looking to close the gap on Real Madrid this week whilst they are away in Japan competing in the Club World Cup tournament. 

Barcelona have dropped more points at home already this season in La Liga than they did in last season's entire campaign.

A defeat against Alavés along with draws against Atletico, Malaga and Real Madrid means that Barca's home record this season reads played seven, won three, drawn three and lost one. That’s only 12 points from a possible 21 available. 

Last season in 19 games they lost only two to Real Madrid and Valencia and drew just the one game against Deportivo la Coruńa.

Espanyol undoubtedly have the potential to trouble Barcelona, but I'm going to go for a home win. This is mainly due to the importance of the game to Luis Enrique's team.

Anything but a win and they are done for as Real Madrid currently don't look like a team that would relinquish what could be a lead nearing double figures.

I'm not sure of the wisdom though in Barcelona travelling to Qatar for a friendly this week, although Paco Alcacer did get his first goal for Barcelona in a 5-3 win. Incidentally Messi, Suarez and Neymar scored in the first 16 minutes of the game and all three were replaced after half-an-hour!

Expect nothing like that in this game but with Iniesta fully fit again I can see them continuing the form they showed last week in the 3-0 win at Osasuna.

I'm plumping for a 2-0 Barcelona win at 7.50.

As for the Monday night game at San Mames, we should see Athletic Bilbao win against Celta Vigo after bouncing back from last week’s disappointing defeat at Real Betis. 

Back them for a home win at 1.90.