Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Copa del Rey clash between Espanyol and Osasuna, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Espanyol are flying high at the top of the second tier as they attempt to secure an immediate return to La Liga, but Osasuna are currently 19th in the top flight, having struggled for results this term.
Espanyol finished bottom of La Liga last season to drop down a level for the first time since the 1993-94 campaign, but the Catalan outfit are seemingly on course to earn promotion back to the top flight.
Indeed, a strong season to date has left them at the top of the Segunda Division, having picked up 45 points from their 21 matches, suffering just four defeats and recording 14 victories.
Vicente Moreno‘s side will therefore enter this weekend’s contest full of confidence and off the back of a 2-0 victory at home to Castellon in the league on January 10.
Espanyol needed extra-time to beat Llagostera in the first round of this season’s Copa del Rey but recorded a 2-0 victory over Burgos last time out to ensure that they would be present at this stage.
The White and Blues have actually won this competition on four occasions, the last of which was in 2006, when they overcame Zaragoza in the final, but the club were knocked out in the round of 32 last term.
Osasuna, meanwhile, will enter the contest off the back of a 2-0 defeat at Granada in La Liga, which has left them down in 19th position in the table, having picked up just 15 points from 18 matches.
The top-flight club have also been impressive in this season’s Copa del Rey, thumping Tomares 6-0 in the first round of the competition before recording a 3-0 victory away to Olot last time out.
Los Rojillos actually reached the final of this competition in 2005, ultimately losing to Real Betis, but they have only made the round of 16 once in their last three participations.
Osasuna have won their last two games against Espanyol, though, including a 4-2 victory when they made the trip to RCDE Stadium during the 2019-20 La Liga campaign.
Espanyol Copa del Rey form: LWWLWW
Espanyol form (all competitions): WWWLWW
Osasuna Copa del Rey form: WWWLWW
Osasuna form (all competitions): DDDWDL
Head coach Arrasate has also thus far selected a strong side in this competition, and there is no reason to believe that he will change this weekend, meaning that the likes of Roberto Torres, Oier, Enric Gallego and Ante Budimir should all be in the away side’s starting XI.
Espanyol possible starting lineup:
Oier; Miguelon, Calero, Lopez, Vila; Merida, Lozano; Wu Lei, Melamed, Vargas; Campuzano
Osasuna possible starting lineup:
Alvarez; Barja, U Garcia, Navas, Roncaglia; Torres, Martinez, Oier, Jony; Gallego, Budimir
We say: Espanyol 1-2 Osasuna
Osasuna have proved difficult to beat in recent weeks despite their troubles, and we fancy the top-flight club to just sneak past Espanyol despite the fact that the hosts have been in impressive form this season.
Top betting tip
— to www.sportsmole.co.uk