Armed with nothing but a tiny spanner and slingshot, Espanyol tremble as they stare down a Real Madrid machine operating at optimum efficiency and certain to scupper the Catalan minnows’ latest plot to bring them down.
Not since the 2007/08 campaign have the side rated at a colossal 17/2 to prevail in this Copa del Rey first-leg clash bested Los Merengues and a quick glance at the form book almost instantly dispels their chances of doing it again.
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Carlo Ancelotti’s men are smouldering having toppled seven successive foes.
The real ominous aspect about this run for both Espanyol and, indeed the entire continent, is that Los Blancos haven’t so much as allowed any adversary a single goal to celebrate in the final five of this hot streak.
This provides all the persuasion needed in placing a win to nil punt on the visitors here at 21/20, but if you require some more convincing then look no further than their head-to-head record with Espanyol.
Real have beaten the Periquitos in eight of their last ten tussles without conceding.
Of La Liga’s current top eight sides, Espanyol have managed the fewest goals by quite some margin, their flimsy 23 falls 13 strikes short of the second lowest tally.
This is compounded by a dreary record of letting goals slip, with only four sides shipping more than the 13 leaked on their own patch.
Javier Aguirre’s men have stuttered against last season’s top-half finishers.
Members who nailed a place in last term’s upper echelons haven’t fared so bad at the Cornelia El Prat.
Atletico Madrid and Valencia are the only teams in this bracket to suffer a smiting, with the other six visitors all walking away with at least a point.
Real can worsen this record with an 11/50-rated triumph, while an unlikely draw is totted up at 21/4.