Espanyol endured a long and miserable winter but they appear to be turning things around again to some extent. Rubi was starting to come under real pressure but has steadied the ship with 5 unbeaten league games heading into this one.
The latest was a 3-1 victory over Valladolid last time out in which their Chinese January signing Wu Lei opened his account. A reported 25 million watched the game between two of La Liga’s least glamorous sides back in China and he has the potential to be a really good addition on and off the pitch.
Athletic won’t be signing anyone from China or indeed anywhere outside of the Basque Country anytime soon. They were beaten 2-0 at Valencia in their most recent game but had been going very well with just 2 defeats in 14 matches under Gaizka Garitano prior to that.
This isn’t a game that promises to deliver many goals and all of the last five meetings have produced under 2.5 in total. Athletic have tightened up considerably since the change in coach and head into this one following four straight home clean sheets. That sequence includes games against Sevilla and Barcelona, 2 of the 3 highest scoring teams in La Liga.