Espanyol-Real Madrid Betting Preview: Back the hosts to open the scoring

Our La Liga expert Phil Kitromilides believes a weakened Real Madrid side will concede first against Espanyol who have a habit of opening the scoring at home

With Real Madrid preparing for a season defining Copa del Rey final next Friday against Atletico, they may well be forgiven for perhaps not allotting a huge amount of attention to Saturday’s trip to Espanyol.

Jose Mourinho may well chose to rest a significant portion of his first choice team at Cornella El Prat with Mesut Ozil certainly missing out having picked up a nasty looking ankle injury in Wednesday’s 6-2 thrashing of Malaga.

Therefore, the price of 11/20 (1.55) with for an away win looks deeply unappealing, with odds of 9/2 (5.50) for an Espanyol victory more attractive if a little speculative.

If backing a win for a slightly out-of-from Espanyol side with little to play for feels wrong, then consider at least investing in them to open the scoring at 15/8 (2.88).

Madrid’s defence has been suspect at the best of times this season, and with the entire back four likely to be made up of squad players, the Catalans will fancy their chances of opening the scoring.

Indeed, conceding the first goal has become something of a characteristic of Jose Mourinho’s side this season with the Whites letting in the first goal on no less than 13 occasions, including when the sides last met back in December.

Espanyol have a habit of scoring first at home, netting the opener in eight of their previous 10 home matches, meaning this bet has a great chance of paying out at some extremely healthy odds. For a value bet, back Espanyol to score in both halves which is offered at the generous looking price of 15/4 (4.75).

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