Barcelona can put their city rivals Espanyol to the sword
Normal service to be resumed at Camp Nou
Copa del Rey quarter-final second leg
A penalty miss from Lionel Messi and other profligate finishing enabled Espanyol to stun their city rivals last Wednesday but Barcelona should make no mistake in the return leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final.
A reshuffled Barca also had a goal chalked off before Oscar Melendo grabbed Espanyol’s late winner.
Back at Camp Nou, however, and with a full-strength team, Barcelona ought to have few problems overpowering their neighbours – just as they always do.
The last five derby fixtures at the Camp Nou have produced five home wins with Barcelona scoring at least four goals in each of them, so the bet has to be Barca with plenty of goals.
We can be sure that Messi and Luis Suarez, who started on the bench last week, will be reunited and they are in the hottest form having shared four goals in Sundays 5-0 romp at Betis.
Ernesto Valverde’s men have won 13 and drawn the other one of their last 14 matches, and they’ve scored at least two goals in each of those 14 games.
Quique Flores was hailed as a genius for guiding Espanyol to victory over their great rivals, but there was more than an element of good fortune to the win and the likelihood of them stopping Barcelona from scoring again seems fairly remote. They were hammered 3-0 at home by Sevilla on Sunday, doubtless distracted by this Copa last-eight tie, but they are a long way from watertight.
Barcelona & over 3.5 goals
2pts 4-5 Betway
Follow us on Twitter @racingpostsport
Like us on Facebook RacingPostSport