Espanyol and Athletic Bilbao will be looking to pick up their first win of the season when they clash this weekend.
It is a game that the Bilbao will be hoping to win, but will be by no means an easy task, after both sides finished relatively high up in last season’s La Liga table, and the hosts holding an impressive record over their visitors just recently.
In the last 13 home matches against Bilbao, Espanyol have not lost any of their games. Indeed the Basque side have lost on their last five visits to the Periquitos home ground.
Neither will have been overly pleased with their season opener, with Espanyol suffering defeat at the hands of Mallorca, while Bilbao only managed a draw against Rayo Vallecano. The fans will be expecting things to be put right very quickly.
In 35 meetings between the sides, Espanyol have the better overall record. They have won on 14 occasions, drawing 13, and losing just 9 times. Last season, however, the sides took an even share of the points.
Having lost 2-1 in Bilbao, last December, Espanyol avenged their defeat by taking the three points in the return game, winning by the same score line. The season before, in fact, followed the same pattern – both sides picking up a 1-0 home win.
Traditionally, home advantage has played a significant role in the outcome of this match, and could well turn out to be the deciding factor again.
If Bilbao are to have a chance of taking anything from this game, they may well be reliant on the goals of star striker, Fernando Llorente. Last season he scored 18 goals to help his side to Europa League qualification.
Winning here will certainly make up for the disappointment of the last game for both of these sides – defeat, however, will make this a miserable start to the campaign.