Espanyol has just 1-2-3 in their last six games, and they must win tonight, in order to keep the hope of Europa League next season. It is just three points up to Athletic Bilbao (48 points) and four points up to Levante (49 points) who has the spots before this round. Espanyol have maintained their good form at home this season with 9-3-5 and 30-20 in goal difference. They impressed very much in their last game at home against Valencia. A game were Espanyol was much more aggressive and won 4-0. They lost 1-3 away from home against Athletico Madrid last weekend and that gives Espanyol 45 points after 34 rounds in the La Liga.
Javi Marquez, Felipe Mattioni and Juan Albin are injured, while Rui Fonte, Ernesto Galan, Thievy Bifouma and Juan Forlin are kept out of the squad. Vladimir Weiss is finally returning after injury.
Sporting Gijon has 2-1-3 and 8-11 in goal difference in their last six games. They have a total 31 points in 34 games, which give them a little bit of hope in order to keep their place in La Liga. However, it is six points up to Villareal and just 12 points remain to play for, so it still looks quite hard. Sporting Gijon is the weakest team away from home in the whole La Liga with just 2-3-12, which gives Sporting Gijon 9 points away from their home stadium. They also have 15-42 in goal difference that confirms their problems both defensively and offensively away from home.
As we get closer to the end of the season, a lot of key-players have either lost their form or got injured. Such as Sebastian Eguren, David Barral, Ivan Hernandez, Roberto Canella, Nacho Cases and Andre Castro. To this match there is several guys from the B-squad that has to step up and play this difficult match. Alejandro Gálvez, Álex Menéndez, Formose Mendy, Moises og Pedro Orfila are picked up as replacements.
I think that Espanyol’s motivation are bigger than Sporting Gijon’s because of the home advantage, and the players that are available. Sporting has the worst form away from home and are missing important players, while Espanyol are quite good at home and has their key-players in the squad. Espanyol won this match away from home 1-2 earlier this season, and they have 22-11-5 against Sporting over the years. If Espanyol should make it to the Europa League next season, they just have to win this one. I think the fact that Sporting are putting in players from the B-squad makes them weaker obviously . Therefore I expect Espanyol to have command throughout the whole match, and score 2 or more goals against the worst team away from home in La Liga. Espanyol OVER 1.5 goals is my pick.