Our prediction for this Copa del Rey match:
Espanyol will be aiming to defend their “slim lead” in the Copa del Rey tie against Villarreal when the two teams take on each other at RCDE Stadium on Thursday evening. The two sides played out a 2-2 draw at Estadio de la Ceramica in the first leg, but we do not believe that fans are going to see yet another football festival in Catalonia. A close encounter is on the cards and seeing that the hosts are likely to adopt a defence-minded approach in the return leg, we believe that there is a big value in betting on draw. A man to watch in the home team will be Borja Iglesias, whilst Espanyol defenders should have pacey Nigerian winger Chukwueze at bay. In their last meeting in Barcelona Espanyol recorded a 3-1 win over Villarreal, but share of spoils is on the cards this time out.
Highlighted Player (Javi Lopez):
Javi Lopez is Spanish footballer who plays for La Liga side Espanyol. Lopez plays for the Catalan outfit as a midfielder, but he is capable of playing at full back as well. After spending his youth career at Real Betis, he moved to Espanyol in 2007 and he was playing for the B squad between 2007 and 2010.
Under Argentine coach Mauricio Pochettino he was promoted to the first team and he has been playing for Espanyol in La Liga ever since. He made his Espanyol debut on 4 October, 2009 in a goalless draw with Villarreal. Javi Lopez was born in Osuna, Andalusia, but he lives with his family in Barcelona. The Spanish player was born on 21 January.
His contract with Espanyol expires on 30 June, 2018 and it has to be noted that his market value in July, 2016 was €3 million. Following Sergio Garcia’s departure he was named Espanyol captain for the 2015/2016 La Liga campaign.
Highlighted Team (Villarreal):
Villarreal CF was founded on 10th of March 1923. In the year 1998 Villarreal managed to reach the Primera Division for the first time in history of the club. After 1 season the club could not manage to stay in the league and go regulated to the Segunda Division. In the last couple of years Villarreal developed itself to a stable club in the Primera Division.
This first European succes was in 2003/2004 where the club managed to reach the semi finals in the UEFA cup. In 2004/2005 Villarreal end 3rd on the table in the Primera Division which was a highlight for the club.
The biggest succes was in 2006 when Villarreal managed to reach the semi finals in the Champions League. In the semi finals the club lost with only 1 goal difference against runner up Arsenal. Former known players for Villarreal are: Riquelme, Tomasson, Fernandez, Forlan and Pires.