Preview: Sevilla vs. Espanyol 

Preview: Sevilla vs. Espanyol 

After beating Getafe at the weekend, relegation-threatened Espanyol will attempt to record a second straight victory when they travel to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan to face Sevilla on Thursday.

The hosts, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back from Monday’s disappointing 2-0 home defeat against Girona.

Following his appointment as Sevilla boss in March, Jose Luis Mendilibar began his tenure with five wins and two draws in his first seven competitive games before Girona arrived in Andalusia on Monday.

After claiming four consecutive victories, Los Nervionenses would have entered the contest in confident mood, but goals from Girona’s Juanpe and Taty Castellanos brought Sevilla’s unbeaten run to an abrupt end.

Despite falling to defeat, Mendilibar has already ensured that Sevilla’s relegation fears are a thing of the past, with Los Nervionenses sitting in 11th-place and now targeting a top-half finish.

Thursday’s meeting with Espanyol represents the club’s final game before they face Juventus in the first leg of the Europa League semi-finals, and Mendilibar will be hoping that his side can avoid consecutive defeats, as they look to build confidence ahead of their trip to Turin.

Sevilla are unbeaten in their last nine competitive meetings with Espanyol, and they have the chance to complete a league double after winning 3-2 when the two sides met in September.

Former Espanyol player Luis Garcia replaced Diego Martinez in the dugout at the start of April following a run of four consecutive defeats.

Garcia was unable to oversee an immediate upturn in fortunes, with his first four games in charge producing one draw and three losses.

The Espanyol boss knew that his side could ill-afford another poor result in Saturday’s important home fixture against Getafe, and his team did not let him down, edging out their relegation rivals thanks to Joselu’s 38th-minute penalty.

Although the Periquitos remain in the drop zone, they will hope that the narrow 1-0 win will act as a catalyst for a positive run of results as they look to close the two-point gap to safety.

If Espanyol are to stay up then they will need to improve upon their recent away home, having lost their last five matches on the road, conceding at least two goals in each of those defeats.

Sevilla La Liga form:

Sevilla form (all competitions):

Espanyol La Liga form:

We say: Sevilla 2-1 Espanyol
The visitors will be looking to take advantage of a Sevilla side that may have one eye on next week’s Europa League clash with Juventus.

However, Espanyol’s backline has struggled in recent away games, and we think that their defensive vulnerability will help Sevilla claim a narrow home win.

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