Our prediction for this Europa League match:
CSKA Moscow will be aiming to make amends for a heavy 5-1 loss to Ludogorets when they welcome Espanyol at VEB Arena on Thursday evening. The Armeitsy have been in a splendid form in the Russian Premier League of late and thanks to a 3-0 win at Ural they climbed to top position in the standings. CSKA Moscow have big ambitions for the 2019/2020 Europa League season as well and seeing that Espanyol failed to impress in their opener against Ferencvaros, we are tempted to put our money on the Russian outfit.
Los Periquitos came from behind to share the spoils with Ferencvaros in Barcelona in the opening match of their Europa League campaign, with the team experiencing all sorts of problems at the back in a 2-0 loss to Real Valladolid in their last league match. CSKA are a real force to be reckoned with at home, therefore, we predict that they are going to beat Espanyol at VEB Arena.
Highlighted Player (Mario Fernandes):
Brazilian defender Mario Fernandes is a right-back by trade, but the 25-year-old South American can also play at centre-back. It is exactly his versatility that makes him a player of significant quality. Mario Fernandes signed for CSKA Moscow in 2012 from Gremio and during his time in Russia he has already surpassed the 100-game mark for the Armeitsy who faced plenty of pressure to sell their prized asset in 2015 with Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Manchester United and Barcelona all believed to be interested in a played dubbed the new Lucio.
No stranger to controversy, Mario Fernandes hit headlines for all the wrong reasons on a couple of occasions during his career. Most recent one was a 2015 Champions League qualifiers when his screaming and faking an injury was called an important “theatre piece” by the Russian media.
Temperamental right-back is nevertheless an important member of CSKA’s first-team whose areal ability adds an additional dimension to Army Men’s play.
Highlighted Team (Espanyol):
Espanyol are a Catalan club that plays in Spanish La Liga. Espanyol were founded in 1900 and their original name was Sociedad Espanola de Football. In 1901 the Catalan club changed its name to Club Espanol de Futbol. Los Periquitos used to play in bright yellow shirts in the past, but current colour of the team’s home kit is blue and white.
Espanyol’s fiercest rivals are Barcelona and the two teams face each other in the Catalan derby (Derbi barceloni). Espanyol have always been in Barca’s shadow, but it has to be noted that los Periquitos have won four Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup trophies).
The likes of Raul Tamudo, Jose Maria, Antonio Argiles and Mauricio Pochettino are players with most appearances for the Catalan outfit. Espanyol play their home games at Estadio Cornella-El Prat and the capacity of the stadium is 40,500. Los Periquitos have never participated in the Champions League.