Valencia vs Espanyol by DamirJ
Last weekend Valencia was early back in the scoreline with a penalty kick from Cristiano Ronaldo, but the hosts didn't give up, have threatened many times and had faith in their game plan. They stayed combative till the end of the game, finally managing to overturn the score with goal from Barragan in 52ns and Otamendi in 65th minute.
From that moment on, they were under pressure from their visitors, but ultimately managed to escape with a 2:1 victory over Real Madrid. With this result, team of Nuno Espirito Santos completed three consecutive victories, are currently at fourth position at the table and above all, proved that they can play against the biggest clubs in the World. As for the domestic Cup competition, their target is set on winning it this season and the team has only one goal tonight - to get a victory and try to finish the job already in the first leg. On the road to finals, they will avoid Atletico, Barcelona and Real, so there is obvious reason why the team aims high this season. Main goalkeeper Diego Alves won't be available here, as well as midfielder Pablo Piatti. Right midfiedler Sofiane Feghouli is traveling on African Cup of Nations.
In the last game before this one, Espanyol didn't have a good performance at home, especially being quite poor in the defense in first halftime. They conceded easily two goals within four minutes (in 34th and 38th minute), reacting in the second half with a reduction in 88th minute via Caicedo. They even searched for equalizer, but had not time and had to admit 2:1 defeat at home against Eibar.
This result broke a mini streak of two victories for them, as the team continues to be located at the middle of standings and has only one main objective this season - that's to stay comfortable away from the relegation zone, but on the other hand, they are doing well so far in Copa del Rey. Their coach admitted that Valencia is in a great shape, but added that his team likes challenges and will try to surprise here, surely not by only defending. Right midfielder Lucas Vazquez and striker Christian Stuani are back in the team after serving suspension in Primera. Coach will probably give some playing time to goalkeeper Pau Lopez, defensive midfielder Alex Fernandez and striker Felipe Caicedo, while outside of the game will remain central midfielder Salva Sevilla.
Valencia is favorite to get the victory here, but goals are also expected in this encounter. Espanyol knows they can't expect anything good with defending only and will surely try to be as offensive as possible, bringing the game to an easy over knowing the quality of home attack.