Espanyol vs AlavesLa Liga, KO: 12:00 Jun 13, 2020, RCDE Stadium
ESPANYOL have spent lockdown propping up the La Liga table and will be out to spark a survival mission by beating Alaves in their first game back.
After qualifying for the Europa League last season, few people expected the Periquitos to be involved in a relegation scrap. But they won just two La Liga games before Christmas, with boss Pablo Machin axed and replaced by Abelardo just before New Year.
The former Barcelona defender helped mastermind a great escape when he took charge of Alaves in 2017, leading them from bottom to mid-table, and Espanyol were banking on him doing the same in Catalonia.
Performances have definitely improved, with Abelardo's men claiming two further league wins and creditable draws with Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Bilbao, but they still remain at the foot of the table.
Espanyol sit six points from safety but with 11 games to go they have time to save their skins, especially if they can return with a win.
Abelardo will know all about Alaves' strengths and weaknesses, having resigned just over a year ago, but the Basque side were in good form before the shutdown.
They were unbeaten in three games when the shutters came down and sit 14th in the table, seven points clear of the drop zone.
How the bookies view it
Despite sitting bottom of the table, Espanyol are favourites for this one at a best 6/5 with Genting while Alaves are as big as 31/11 with VBet and the draw 11/5 with Bet365.
Plenty of punters will fancy a bet on Alaves at those odds, especially with home advantage out of the window in a stadium with no fans. But Espanyol still posses a stronger squad and their upturn in form since Abelardo's arrival points at home win.
Recent head to head
These sides have been evenly matched throughout history, with their 21 meetings producing seven Alaves wins, seven Espanyol victories and seven stalemates.
It was 0-0 when these sides faced off in the Basque country earlier this season while the two meetings last term each produced a 2-1 home win. An own goal from Victor Laguardia proved decisive in Espanyol's triumph (below).
Alaves haven't won at the RCDE Stadium since a 2-1 victory back in 2002, when they scored twice in the last five minutes to snatch the points.
Players to watch
Raul de Tomas was in good form for Espanyol before shutdown, bagging five goals in his last seven games, and will be looking to pick up where he left off.
He's 41/20 with 888Sport for anytime scorer and that looks decent value if he has stayed sharp and fit during the long break.
The Alaves strikers will fancy their chances of a goal with Espanyol keeper Diego Lopez suspended after a red card in his last game. But Joselu is also banned so he will have to sit this one out.
Lucas Perez has 11 for the season and takes the penalties so try him at 3/1 with 888Sport for anytime scorer.
Anything else catch the eye?
Matches between these sides in Barcelona haven't been thrillers of late, with four of the last five games seeing under 1.5 goals. A repeat pays 13/8 with Bet365 here while under 2.5 strikes is sadly just 8/15 with the same firm.
The odds on a one-goal winning margin are more attractive at 5/4 with Betway, especially as it covers both an Espanyol and Alaves victory.
This La Liga match between Espanyol and Alaves will be played on Jun 13, 2020 and kick off at 12:00. Check below for our tipsters best Espanyol vs Alaves prediction.