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Dec 11, 2021 at 1pm UK
Darder (6'), de Tomas (49'), Puado (60', 76')
Herrera (9'), Embarba (36'), Vidal (57'), Bare (81')
FT(HT: 1-2)
de Frutos (11'), Son (26'), Luis Morales (57')
Campana (66'), Mustafi (68'), Malsa (80'), Soldado (86')
Son (78')

Preview: Espanyol vs. Levante - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Espanyol vs. Levante - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's La Liga clash between Espanyol and Levante, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Rock-bottom Levante once more look to end their winless La Liga run on Saturday afternoon, as they take on mid-table Espanyol at RCDE Stadium.

The clubs convene in Barcelona with the hosts sitting 11th following two wins and two losses from the last four league games, while their visitors picked up just two points during the equivalent spell.

Match preview

Espanyol's wounds were largely self-inflicted when they fell to defeat at fellow promoted side Rayo Vallecano last weekend, and as a result they have slipped into the bottom half of the Primera Division table.

The game's decisive moment arrived just before the hour mark, when Leandro Cabrera unfortunately netted an own goal, and Fran Merida was later dismissed at the end of the game.

Nonetheless, Espanyol have adapted well to life back in the top flight and remain closer to the top six than the relegation zone - being in particularly good form on home soil. Indeed, the Blanquiazules have won five of their last six fixtures at their Catalan headquarters - drawing the other - representing their best such run since 2017.

Having lost just one of their seven most recent La Liga meetings with Levante too, precedent is definitely on their side this Saturday, as they do battle with the division's lowliest side.

With a Copa del Rey tie against Cristo Atletico to follow, then a trip to Celta Vigo before facing Valencia on New Year's Eve, Vicente Moreno's men certainly have a mixed bag of matches in the coming weeks, but will expect to kick off that run with all three points this weekend.

During a week in which they named 36-year-old Alessio Lisci as their new head coach, Levante are once again looking for their first league win of a tortuous campaign.

Having confirmed their former 'B' team boss as the man to lead them through the rest of the season - following Javier Pereira's inevitable dismissal - the Valencian outfit will try to build on back-to-back unbeaten games over the past week, in which they tasted their first success since this term.

Lisci's two games in charge as interim manager have seen Levante crush little Huracan Melilla 8-0 in the cup, before holding Osasuna to a goalless draw in the league.

In their desperate bid to avoid relegation to the Segunda Division, a 0-0 home draw may have fallen short of the desired maximum-points haul last weekend, but the Granotes at least stayed within six points of safety approaching the season's halfway point.

Confidence remains low, though, as an interminable streak of 24 games without a single La Liga success leaves them needing to reverse their fortunes as soon as possible. As each of the three previous teams that failed to win in their opening 15 were ultimately relegated, Lisci could do with a win in the second city to kickstart the process.

Espanyol La Liga form:
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L

Espanyol form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L

Levante La Liga form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • D

Levante form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • D

Team News

Vicente Moreno is once more set to be without defender Oscar Gil, who remains out with a muscular injury, and midfield regular David Lopez (knee) is still a doubt.

While Fran Merida must serve a suspension for his red card against Rayo Vallecano last week as a substitute, Espanyol are unlikely to make many changes despite their defeat.

Therefore, Adrian Embarba, Yangel Herrera and seven-goal top scorer Raul de Tomas are among those expected to keep their places in the home side's lineup.

Levante, meanwhile, may still have Gonzalo Melero sidelined with a muscular problem, while Sergio Postigo, Jorge Miramon and Ruben Vezo (knee) have all been troubled by injury of late.

Among those on the bench last time out, Enis Bardhi is one of several men looking to push their way into the starting XI, and veteran striker Roberto Soldado will hope for an increasingly rare start up front.

Espanyol possible starting lineup:
Lopez; Vidal, Gomez, Cabrera, Pedrosa; Bare, Herrera; Embarba, Darder, Puado; De Tomas

Levante possible starting lineup:
Cardenas; Son, Duarte, Mustafi, Clerc; Bardhi, Pepelu, Campana; De Frutos, Morales, Roger

We say: Espanyol 1-0 Levante

Both of these clubs have registered goals at less than one per game in the league this term, so entertainment could be thin on the ground on Saturday afternoon.

A superior home record and far more secure defence means that Espanyol should have enough in the tank to consign Levante to yet another defeat, but probably by the slimmest of margins.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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