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Football prediction for Espanyol vs Bilbao today (1/4:0): 1-2.
Bilbao is back in La Liga after the disappointment of being eliminated by Osasuna from the Copa del Rey. In the second leg of the semifinals, they took an early lead but failed to increase the gap to decide the game in the regulation time (losing 0-1 in the first leg), and eventually suffered a bitter defeat in extra time when the opponents equalized 1-1, resulting in a 1-2 aggregate loss.
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Now, the "Lions" from the Basque country have to make the maximum effort in La Liga if they want to return to the European stage after a six-year absence. To secure a European spot, Bilbao needs to finish in the Top 6. If they only finish 7th, they have to rely on Real Madrid (who are 99.99% guaranteed a Top 6 spot), or win the Copa del Rey or Champions League. In that case, the final European spot for La Liga teams will be awarded to the 7th-placed team.
Currently, Bilbao is 7 points behind Villarreal (6th place). More concerning is their recent form, having won only 1 out of the last 6 La Liga matches (lost 3). Their upcoming opponent, Espanyol, is not an easy challenge for Bilbao, especially when they have to play at Espanyol's RCDE Stadium.
Even in their worst crisis period (relegated in the 2019/20 season), Espanyol still did not lose to Bilbao at home. In the last 20 encounters with Bilbao at the national league since 2002, Espanyol has been unbeaten (winning 13).
Fortunately for coach Valverde's team, Espanyol is struggling with a four-game losing streak, officially falling into the relegation zone and resulting in the departure of coach Diego Martinez. The Catalan club has also found a new head coach: Luis Garcia, a former Espanyol striker who is now 42 years old and has almost zero coaching experience.
The specialist community is quite surprised by the decision of Espanyol's leadership in the current "heated" situation, and even HLV Luis Garcia himself may not be able to create a breakthrough for Periquitos as he has only been in charge of the team for a few days.
Currently, Bilbao is handicapped at 1/4, which is not high if looking at the current rankings of both teams, but it should be noted that Espanyol has only been given this handicap when they faced Sociedad or Villarreal (two teams currently ahead of Bilbao) and they both lost. Bilbao has just gone through a tough 120 minutes in the Copa del Rey semi-finals and has remained unbeaten in their last 3 away matches in La Liga despite having to give a 1/4 handicap. Therefore, betting on Bilbao is still a safer option.
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Analysis of the goal ratio Espanyol vs Bilbao (2 1/4):
Only 2 out of 11 recent matches between the two teams in La Liga have had over 2 goals scored. This has also been the case in 4 out of the last 6 matches of Bilbao in the national championship. However, all 4 of Bilbao's away victories since the beginning of La Liga 2022/23 have had many goals scored (at least 3), and the same goes for Espanyol's last 5 matches. Choose Over 2 1/4.