Barcelona - Espanyol Betting Preview: Why the hosts are good value to keep a clean sheet

Our La Liga expert Phil Kitromilides has been unimpressed with the visitors' attacking displays recently and believes they are unlikely to score at the Camp Nou
Friday night's offering in La Liga is an uncharasterically appealing game, with Espanyol making the short trip to the Camp Nou for the Catalan Derby.

While Barcelona have recovered from the shock of failing to score at Osasuna two weeks by recording successive league wins of Real Madrid and Celta Vigo, Espanyol have been stuttering.

Indeed, it is a testament to the somewhat erratic nature of the league as a whole at the moment, that Javier Aguirre's men can remain in eighth place just a point off the European places having recorded just one win in six matches.

Naturally and understandably Barca are massive odds-on favorites with Paddy Power pricing them
at 1/9 (1.11) to retain their status as the city's top dogs with a win. Espanyol meanwhile are offered at 18/1 (19.00) while the draw is available at 8/1 (9.00).

This of course is a particularly unbalanced rivalry with Barcelona one of the world's biggest sides and Espanyol content with the relative obscurity of mid table and the occasional European run.

This is a fixture that the blaugrana tend to win relatively easily, and Espanyol's recent form means that that is unlikely to change on Friday evening.

The side from Cornella El Prat are struggling for goals having netted just two in their last five games, and the price of 8/11 (1.73) for  Barca to keep a clean sheet appeals.

This bet has paid out in six of the last eight Catalan derbies and while Barca's defence has not always been the most solid, three clean sheets in five league games shows they are beginning to click at the back.

The price is fractionally bigger than might have been expected and is certainly worth some consideration as a stand alone bet or as part of a larger multiple.

Barcelona to keep a clean sheet at 8/11 (1.73) 1.5pt stake with Paddy Power

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Phil Kitromilides is a sports journalist and TV presenter in Madrid