Our match prediction:
Even if they ended up lifting the third straight Europa League trophy, Sevilla could only achieve a seventh-place finish in La Liga, and no doubt they will be looking for a strong start this time out. Having lost both the UEFA Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, los Rojiblancos will have an extra motive to start with a bang, and we certainly wouldn’t want to be in Espanyol’s shoes at the moment. Los Periquitos have fared really well in pre-season, defeating Everton while sharing spoils with Southampton and Juventus in last three warm-up games, with new signings Martin Demichelis, Javi Fuego, Pablo Piatti, Leo Baptistao, Jose Jurado and Jose Antonio Reyes all hoping to impress against Sevilla. But, while Espanyol can be trusted to make life difficult for los Rojiblancos, we don’t think they can prevent one of La Liga’s strongest hosts from winning on Saturday evening.
Highligted Player (Banega):
Ever Banega is a classy midfielder well known for his precision passes and clinical ball-distribution skills. Having come through the youth ranks at Boca Juniors, Banega was earmarked for bigger responsibilities from a younger age. When Fernando Gago moved to Real Madrid in 2007, he became a first-team regular at Boca. In 2008, he made a big money move to Valencia for a fee of around €20 million. His stint at Valencia was marked with frustrating injuries amidst difficulties in settling in the starting XI. It was only when he moved to Sevilla in 2014 that his array of skills was in full display. Playing under Unai Emery who managed him at Valencia, Banega soon became the lynchpin for Sevilla. He was the cornerstone of their Europa League triumphs for the past two years. Banega’s pedigree in national colors is also unmatched having won an Olympic medal in 2008 and appearing in three Copa America tournaments.
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.