La Liga side Espanyol are looking to finish off the job against Icelandic minnows Stjarnan this week, with Los Blanquiazules in a strong position ahead of the second leg of their Europa League qualifying tie on Thursday night.
Where and when: Stjörnuvöllur – 1 August, kick-off 20:15
Where you can see Stjarnan vs. Espanyol: William Hill live streaming
Last time: Facundo Ferreyra and Borja Iglesias both helped themselves to braces as Espanyol cruised to a 4-0 victory on home soil last week.
Stjarnan v Espanyol Predictions and Preview
Perhaps the only hope for Stjarnan coming into this game is that managed to keep Espanyol at bay for 49 minutes when the teams met in Catalunya last Thursday. However, the floodgates opened after Ferreyra broke the deadlock, and finishing the job ought to be a formality for the Spanish side.
Espanyol exceeded expectations to finish seventh in La Liga last term, and they were rewarded with this favourable tie in the second stage of Europa League qualifying. David Gallego’s side continued to build up their fitness with a friendly against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Sunday, although they could only manage a 2-2 draw against the English Championship outfit.
Stjarnan meanwhile were in league action on Monday night, as they faced an away game against HK Kopavogur. Despite boasting a number of Icelandic internationals in their ranks, Runar Pall Sigmundsson’s side are huge underdogs in this match, and that’s reflected in the odds.
|0-0 at half-time||14/5||Offer|
|Espanyol to win 3-1||11/1||Offer|
Four defeats in their last five matches doesn’t help the home team’s cause, with Stjarnan out at 16/1 to upset their more illustrious rivals with an unlikely win. Espanyol are priced at 1/5, so there isn’t much value on the visitors in the outright market.
With that in mind, you can back the Spaniards to win this game to nil at 10/11, bringing the odds closer to evens. After such a comfortable result last time out, Espanyol to win and over 3.5 goals in the game once again could also be tempting at 23/20, especially as the hosts are sure to throw everything at their guests in front of what will be a small yet passionate home crowd and will hope to at least reward their supporters with a goal of their own.
One to watch for Stjarnan: Thorsteinn Mar Ragnarsson scored three goals over Stjarnan’s two-legged tie with FCI Levadia in the last round, and the forward is priced at 9/1 to send the home fans into raptures by breaking the deadlock on Thursday.
One to watch for Espanyol: There’s a much higher chance of Facundo Ferreyra opening the scoring though, as he did in the first leg of this tie. The Argentine is 11/2 to repeat the trick in this one.
Long shot: With Espanyol feeling that the job’s all but done after the first leg, the Spaniards may not be completely at the races in the return. A draw in this game is priced at 13/2, while you can pick up odds of 15/1 on a 1-1 scoreline this Thursday.