The first ever meeting between these two sides comes under pressure circumstances as both are in need of the points early doors or run the risk of getting cut off early doors.
CSKA were stunned after suffering a 5-1 defeat to Ludogorets in game week one despite being one of the favourites with popular sportsbooks to make it through the group with relative ease. Now the 2005 UEFA Cup champions will have to progress the hard way but if anything, that defeat proved that Viktor Goncharenko’s side have some defensive frailties. In five away games in all competitions this season, Espanyol have netted in four of them whilst CSKA have scored in their last seven games in all competitions making both teams to score to good to ignore.
BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
A double chance backing the draw and away team often offers solid value in a game that is expected to be tight. Admittedly CSKA have never lost on home soil in the Europa League to Spanish opposition but could always be a first. The 5-1 loss to Ludogorets was perhaps a wake-up call to CSKA and Espanyol will believe they have what it takes to get the win despite being slight underdogs with online betting sites to nick the win. By covering off both the draw and away win you are still left with enough value should CSKA implode like they did in game week one.
DOUBLE CHANCE – DRAW OR ESPANYOL
One thing that can be said about the Russian outfit is that they are often very fast out of the blocks. Six of their last seven goals have come in the first half – including taking the lead against Ludogorets. In two of their last three games in all competitions they have gone on to win the first half whilst Espanyol have gone four games in a row without scoring a goal in the opening 45 minutes. CSKA to win the first half is a great way to go in this one.
CSKA TO WIN THE FIRST HALF
Head to Head
The pair have never met before in European competition. In fact, this is Espanyol’s first foray in Europe since they famously reached the final of the UEFA Cup in 2007 losing to fellow La Liga outfit in the final. CSKA have more recent European action on their list and have never lost on home soil to a Spanish team with two wins and three draws to their name.
Match to end in a draw
This may not turn out to be an all-time European classic, but it will be an intriguing tie that has much riding on it after less than satisfactory results for both in their opening group game clashes. CSKA have never lost to a Spanish team in the competition but also shipped five in their opening group game whilst Espanyol were unspectacular in their draw with Ferencvaros. Expect a nervy encounter as both feel the pressure and come away with a point apiece.
Callum Brady is an avid football fan and overly optimistic Leeds supporter #MOT! When he is not spotted visiting Elland Road, Callum spends his time following European Football, Rugby, and has recently taken interest in the NFL. A travel enthusiast, Callum is always looking for recommendations on where to travel based on football pitches to visit.
All Predictions by Callum Brady