Another match, another final, another crucial game and all for that still elusive 3rd position. With Valencia CF failing to secure 3rd place earlier, we must now go to Barcelona to face Espanyol and win in order to theoretically secure 3rd place, even though mathematically we'll probably be fighting for until the last matchday.
Espanyol are currently sitting in 8th place with 48 points, just recently outpaced by Atletico Madrid and Sevilla and it looks like this is going to be their final position with Sporting Gijon down with 43 points and Atletico Madrid and Sevilla clearly the better team at least in the second half of the season.
Espanyol is one of those team that is great at nothing and bad at nothing, they play good football and are decent defensively and pretty good offensively, although great at nothing. The biggest threat is probably going to come from Pablo Daniel Osvaldo who is the top scorer with 11 goals.
Espanyol last seven matches have been terrible with only one win against Bilbao and their latest result is a loss to Barcelona which isn't that bad in itself, but combined with the fact that they only won once in the last 7 matches is a problem.
RCD Espanyol squad:
Goalkeepers: Kameni, Cristian Álvarez.
Defense: Amat, Canal, Galán, Chica, Raúl Rodríguez, Víctor Álvarez.
Midfield: Javi Máquez,Verdú, Javi López, Rui Fonte, Isaías.
Attack: Callejón, Luis García, Osvaldo, Álvaro, Iván Alonso, Thievy.
Latest news in the Valencia camp is that Unai Emery stopped a potential fight between Cezar, Alba and Vicente after they had an argument in training, which I already write about. Other bad news is that Vicente Guaita has a flu and won't be available for selection, while Pablo Hernandez has complained to pains and it seems like he may have some sort of muscle rupture that will have him miss the rest of the season.
Isco has been included in the squad in the absence of Pablo and if the results goes Valencia's way he may get some minutes of playing time.
Valencia CF squad:
Goalkeepers: César, Moyá.
Defence: Miguel, Bruno, Navarro, Stankevicius, Dealbert, Alba, Mathieu.
Midfield: Albelda, Topal, Éver, Joaquín, Isco, Mata.
Attack: Jonas, Aduriz, Soldado.
Line-up: Cezar; Miguel, Stankevicious, Dealbert, Mathieu; Joaquin; Banega, Topal, Mata; Jonas, Soldado.
Tactical: medium defensive line, mid field opposing team pressure, wing and central attacking play, mostly short passing with high frequency crosses from the wings.
RCD Espanyol 1-2 Valencia CF
Espanyol has had 6 bad matches in their last 7, but watching them against Barcelona last week they didn't play bad, they were pretty organized and played well. Also how much more can they really looose? Valencia should play good football as well and I think the players are fairly motivated to play for the win. I think Valencia will just barely edge out Espanyol.