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Barcelona v Espanyol betting: Second half reprieve for the hosts after frustrating first period

12:00 BST 08/09/2017
Lionel Messi Barcelona
With the visitors intent on keeping things tight for as long as possible, we are backing the Catalan Derby explode into life after the break

Barcelona aim to put a turbulent summer behind them this weekend with the Blaugrana playing their first game since the close of what was an eventful transfer window.

Barca's high-profile and, ultimately, futile pursuit of Philippe Coutinho was something a PR disaster, although the Catalans did manage to land Ousmane Dembele - who could make his debut this weekend - and there are huge hopes resting on the shoulders of the young Frenchman.

The visitors to the Camp Nou on Saturday evening are Espanyol and Los Pericos make the short trip across the Catalan capital looking for a spark after an underwhelming start.

While Barca have won their opening two games 2-0, Espanyol drew 1-1 with Sevilla before suffering a hugely disappointing 1-0 home defeat by Leganes, but despite the gulf in class between the two sides, Espanyol are always desperate to give their more illustrious neighbours a tough game and Quique Sanchez Flores' side will be highly motivated once more.

bet365, who are live streaming the game for UK-based customers, offer a home win at 1/7 (1.14) with a victory for Espanyol priced at 18/1 (19.00) and the draw available at 15/2 (8.50). While Barcelona are worthy favourites, it is worth bearing in mind the timing of this game, immediately after the international break when in the past Barca have tended to struggle.

Both Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez endured physically gruelling and emotionally challenging World Cup qualifiers on the other side of the Atlantic, and Barca's two South American stars have often been a little subdued immediately after returning from international duty.

Add to this, the fact that Espanyol will be aiming to keep things extremely tight and frustrate their hosts as much as possible and the price of 5/6 (1.83) for no goal before 20 minutes looks tempting.

Also worthy of consideration is the price of 19/20 (1.95) for the second half to be the highest scoring half which has proved a regular winner in this fixture; this bet has paid out in each of the last four league meetings between the sides at the Camp Nou, and looks like having another good chance of doing so once more.

Second half highest scoring half at 19/20 (1.95) for a 3pt stake with bet365