With Espanyol putting together a decent run of form, our Spanish expert Phil Kitromilides believes they are capable of restricting Barca to a low-scoring gameThe Catalan derby sees these cross-city rivals clash at the Camp Nou with Barcelona once again miles ahead of Espanyol in every sense, if not geographically.
Tito Vilanova's men have dropped just two points all season, remain undefeated and are priced by Paddy Power at 1/10 (1.10) to claim another victory against their impoverished neighbours. Espanyol,meanwhile, have found some form under new coach Javier Aguirre and were unbeaten in the last four matches before the winter break, during which time they earned an extremely well fought draw at the Bernabeu. They can be backed at 20/1 (21.00) to record a win over Barca with the draw offered at 9/1 (10.00).
Of course, not many people will be rushing to back against Barcelona given their form so far this season and this should be another three points for the Blaugrana. Yet, Catalan derbies in recent years have been relatively close affairs with Espanyol more than capable of causing Barca some problems if not stretching them to the point of defeat.
Of the last 11 league meetings between these two sides nine of them have seen less than 3.5 goals and a repeat is offered at a tempting 6/5 (2.20).
It may feel slightly wrong backing a low-scoring encounter when Barcelona are playing, but Espanyol will be desperate to frustrate their rivals and if they are as organised and hard-working as they were at Real Madrid, there is every chance they could limit Barca to a game with few goals.
For a value bet try backing a draw at half-time which is available at 5/2 (3.50), with the logic being that if Barca are to struggle this season, it could well be after a winter break when they may be a little rusty against their city rivals, who will do their utmost to frustrate them.
|Under 3.5 goals at 6/5 (2.20) with Paddy Power
||Draw at half time at 5/2 (3.50) with Paddy Power|
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Phil Kitromilides is a sports broadcaster working on radio and TV in London and Madrid. You can also follow Phil on Twitter.