El Centrocampista

Espanyol re-ignite their European dream after Rayo rout


Recent results had seen Espanyol slip from fourth down to 11th going into last weekends round of games in la liga, with their hopes of European qualification looking rather less positive than they did just a few week ago. Following these recent difficulties the form guide suggested a tough game for Mauricio Pochettino’s men as the season’s surprise package Rayo Vallecano visited the Cornellá-El Prat, however new signings Kalu Uche and Philippe Coutinho starred as the Catalans brushed the visitors aside 5-1.

It took less than four minutes for Espanyol to start the scoring Uche with a great header and just six minutes later they had doubled their lead following a great run from out of form Sergio Garcia who crossed to leave Coutinho to tap in. Coutinho then grabbed his second in the twenty-third minute and to round off a dreadful first half for the visitors, Uche grabbed his second with a sublime chip from the edge of the area.

You would have to delve deep in the history books to find the last time Espanyol were four up by the half time break, in fact for Espanyol to score four in a game is an achievement in itself. The second half was very much like the first with the home side creating chance after chance and realistically could have been seven or eight up. A long ball over the top saw the former fan’s favourite Raul Tamudo score a consolation before Uche rapped the game up with his hatrick goal. Uche now has four goals in just five appearances for los blanquiblaus this season and a goal this week will see him become their joint leading goalscorer, its the type of form Pochettino needs if his side are to try and maintain the push for the top six.

This week attention turns to a home game against Racing Santander and coach Pochettino has already warned his players not to get complacent after last week’s impressive win. The Cantabrian team visit the Cornellá sitting in 18th position in the league and, having won only one away game this term, it is unsurprising the bookmakers have made the home team firm favourites. Espanyol will be confident of another home win and a chance to boost hopes of European football next season by climbing as high as fifth should other results go their way. Los Pericos may even be hoping they can repeat the scoreline of their women’s team, who beat Racing last week 8-2. However I’m sure Pochettino’s men will just be happy with the three points.

Racing Santander recently parted company with their second coach this season and were quick to take the services of ex-player Alvaro Cevera Diaz formally of Recreativo de Huelva. Cevera was in charge for last week’s game against Barcelona with few people surprised when the Catalans left el Sardinero with the victory, however this week he will be looking to impose his attacking style of football on his new charges and try to get something out of this tie, thus kick starting the Racing’s fight to avoid relegation. Cervera will be hoping he can address his side’s poor scoring form this season however, as they are currently the least-potent team in La Liga averaging just one goal every 112 minutes while  conceding every 51 minutes.

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