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RCD Espanyol latest news | El Centrocampista
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El Centrocampista

NOW OR NEVER FOR POCHETTINO AND ESPANYOL

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Most Espanyol fans believe it’s now or never for the club to make a push for the top six. With home games against Rayo Vallecano and struggling Racing Santander, a turn around in the terrible run of form of late would put them back among the chasing pack for European places.

This week sees Rayo Vallecano visit the Cornellá el Prat and with it the return of Raul Tamudo. Tamudo is an iconic figure, both here in Barcelona and the Spanish capital, best remembered by Madrileños for his last minute equaliser which snatched the league from Barcelona’s grasp and handed it to real Madrid back in 2007. Tamudo is also Espanyol’s all time leading goal scorer , with 129 goals in 340 appearances in a career stretching fourteen years with the Catalan outfit, during which he led them to two Copa Del Rey successes and reached the UEFA Cup Final back in 2007, only losing to Sevilla on penalties.

Espanyol have had the recent edge against los Vallecanos and have only lost once since the turn of the century, a 1-0 defeat in the Copa Del Rey back in November 2006. The bookmakers have made Espanyol firm favourites here, but the form table may suggest different. Rayo have won four from their last five games while Espanyol have managed just  two points from their last five games. Rayo Vallecano come in to the game in their best run of form this season, despite being tipped as relegation candidates, the team from the capital have surprised many and with 13 goals in their last five games, only failing to score in a 1-0 defeat to city rivals Real, and surely have a great chance against Mauricio Pochettino’s men..

Rayo also have the inform Michu, who currently sits joint fifth in the race for the ‘Pichichi’, only behind household names such as Ronaldo, Messi, Higuain and Falcao  – a tremendous achievement in itself and one that has seen him being tipped as a dark horse to make Spain’s Euro 2012 squad.

Espanyol’s main aim on Sunday will be to keep Michu quiet, while also trying to shackle former hero Tamudo who, despite only scoring six goals this season, has still scored more than any player Pochettino can call on.

Early team news suggests Espanyol could be without a number of key players; Vladimir Weiss, Juan Forlin and Raul Rodriguez all look to have added to the ever-increasing injury list which still has the likes of Cristian Alvarez, Javi Marquez, Juan Albin and Victor Sanchez on it. Rayo however look to come into the game at pretty much full strength, only missing Diego Da Silva Costa and Mikel Labaka.

With games now coming thick and fast, Espanyol need to address their recent poor form and fast – a boost in confidence would help them no end as they go into a run of four games in the last 12 days in march. It will be demanding but could see the los Periquitos end the month back in the mix for European qualification.

 




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