Leganes' league struggles to show at Camp Nou
Barcelona host Leganes in the last 16 of the Copa Del Rey with the winner facing up with Real Sociedador Osasuna in the quarter finals. Leganes are battling against relegation in La Liga in 19th place, though they are just three points from safety it is looking a tall order for them to maintain their topflight status. The Catalan Giants are 28 points ahead in second, however they along with Leganes failed to score in their last match, going down 2-0 at the Mestalla, seeing Real Madrid overtake them into top spot as a result.
Quique Setien’s men continued to dominate possession once again and were able to assert themselves on proceedings, the win was not as comfortable for the Mates as the scoreline suggests. Usually more efficient in front of goal the visitors on Saturday managed to muster 1.28 expected goals to Valencia’s 1.54, this portraying that with better finishing the outcome could have been different. In addition to that if you discount Maximiliano Gomez’s first half penalty miss then Setien’s men would have been leading the xG metric for the match.
Last year’s finalists had won the competition four years consecutively before their defeat to Valencia at the end of last season and therefore know how to balance it alongside La Liga and Champions Leaguecampaigns, their prowess in this specific competition extremely outweighs that of Leganes.
Hope for Leganes?
The Cucumber Growers have won their last two matches in the cup to nil, which is stark contrast from their league form to which they have only won three matches all season. Their main threat on Thursday evening will be Martin Braithwaite. The Denmark international signed in the summer following a partially successful loan spell with the club from Middlesbrough. A stocky sometimes physical presence, Braithwaite has eight goals in all competitions which is the team’s highest. Experiencing his fourth country to apply his trade the 28-year-old is nearing his peak and will hope to play his part at Euro 2020 this summer.
The stage is set for some fringe players to get their first opportunity under Setien with Barcelona strong favourites for this matchup. I believe that will work in their favour, leading to Leganes being dumped out at a respectable stage of the competition.
Barcelona – Leganes Betting Tip
Barcelona to Win + Both Teams to Score No with Bet365 at odds of 11/10.