Barcelona vs. Espanyol: Odds, Preview, Live Stream, TV Info

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 29, 2019

SEVILLE, SPAIN - MARCH 17: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's fourth goal during the La Liga match between Real Betis Balompie and FC Barcelona at Estadio Benito Villamarin on March 17, 2019 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona return to domestic action on Saturday in the Catalan derby, when they welcome local rivals Espanyol to the Camp Nou.

Following their remarkable 4-1 win at Real Betis, the Blaugrana moved 10 points clear at the top of the table. It means, barring an incredible late collapse, they are on course for a second consecutive La Liga crown and their fourth national title in the last five years.

With the UEFA Champions League still up for grabs, Barcelona may shift their focus away from La Liga in the final weeks of the season. They should be at full throttle for the visit of Espanyol, though.

Here is a look at how the bookmakers are seeing this game, the viewing details for the fixture and a preview of how this contest is likely to play out on Saturday.



Barcelona win (1-5)

Draw (8-1)

Espanyol win (16-1)

Odds courtesy of Oddschecker


Date: Saturday, March 30

Time: 3:15 p.m. (GMT), 11:15 a.m. (ET)

TV Info: beIN Sports (U.S.)

Live Stream: beIN Sports Connect (U.S.), Eleven Sports (UK)



Throughout the 2018-19 La Liga season, Atletico Madrid have looked the most likely team to challenge Barcelona for the title. Prior to the international break, though, Los Rojiblancos' chances were all but extinguished.

After Diego Simeone's side were beaten 2-0 at Athletic Club Bilbao, Barcelona seized the chance to take their lead into double figures at the top of the table and romped to a 4-1 win over Betis in Andalusia.

It's a win that will live long in the memory, too. Not only did the victory effectively secure the title, but Lionel Messi also scored an incredible hat-trick (UK only):

Eleven Sports @ElevenSports_UK

| 1️⃣ | This time last week... Lionel Messi sparked off his masterclass against Real Betis with this superb free-kick 🎯 https://t.co/F5ryl1cN3q

That treble was a continuation of what has been another stellar season for the Argentina international, as he continues to be at the crux of Barcelona's attacking play.

While the 31-year-old operates in a more withdrawn role than previously in his Barcelona career, his productivity levels are still sky high. Eleven Sports provided the numbers underpinning his 2018-19 campaign:

Eleven Sports @ElevenSports_UK

| 🤯 | Lionel Messi’s #LaLiga stats so far this season: 29 goals and 12 assists is 26 games… 😳 https://t.co/bDAXGVPI3F

In addition to Messi, Luis Suarez also continues to be a force of nature in the final third:

OptaJose @OptaJose

3 - Luis Suárez is the third @LaLigaEN player to record double figures for both goals (20) and assists (10) this season in all comps, after Lionel Messi (38 & 18) and Pablo Sarabia (19 & 11). Versatile. https://t.co/iPG3i1jxQz

What will represent a concern to Barcelona ahead of this crucial spell of the season, though, is the fitness of both players.

Suarez didn't take part in Uruguay's international games due to an ankle problem he picked up against Betis. Meanwhile, Messi was sent home early from Argentina duty due to a groin injury suffered in the loss to Venezuela.

Ben Hayward of the Evening Standard reported both players had been in training ahead of the derby match. Samuel Marsden of ESPN FC provided further details and said he would be surprised if Messi was rushed back into the side:

Samuel Marsden @samuelmarsden

Messi back in Barça training after a few days off with groin problem picked up with Argentina. Suarez did part of the session but not all of it.

For Espanyol, there is little but pride to play for. After a blistering start to the season their form sagged significantly, prompting some fears of a relegation scrap. However, head coach Rubi's side have managed to stabilise themselves and sit comfortably in 13th place.

If Barcelona are without both Messi and Suarez—Ousmane Dembele will also miss the game—this may be a challenging afternoon, as Espanyol will be defensive and dogged. However, if either of their star forwards gets on the field for a significant amount of time, they will get the better of their city rivals.


Prediction: Barcelona 2-0 Espanyol