Brighten up an otherwise moribund Monday evening with a bet on Hernan Perez to score anytime for Espanyol against Real Sociedad. In a game lacking obvious goalscoring threats, yet where expected chance creation is about average for the league, the Paraguayan wide man is a standout proposition at 11/2. And while you’re at it, take some of the whopping 40/1 available on Perez to score two or more goals.
The case starts with the fact that both teams will be missing their chief marksman. Former Man City striker Felipe Caicedo will be out for Espanyol. The Ecuadorian has bagged six of the Pericos’ 20 goals this term. Perez is next best with five. For La Real, meanwhile, Imanol Agirretxe is missing and he has scored 12 (no less than 42 per cent) of their 26 goals.
But just as encouraging with regards our chances of landing the Perez bet is the potential absence of Yuri Berchiche at left back for the visitors. The 25-year-old has missed the last two games with a thigh injury and the Basques were a shambles defensively in their last away game - a 5-1 defeat at Sporting Gijon - with Hector Hernandez deputising.
Sporting were second from bottom on a run of five straight defeats going into that clash but found themselves 1-0 up after 16 seconds and 2-0 up after nine minutes, both goals the result of Carlos Carmona getting on the end of crosses from the left, completely unchallenged by his direct rival. The first he scored himself, the second he nodded down for Dani Ndi to bundle over the line at the far post.
Carmona plays on the right-hand side of an attacking midfield three, the same position occupied by Perez in the same 4-2-3-1 system used by Espanyol. Hector was much-improved in a 2-1 win over Real Betis last weekend but, in truth, he didn’t have an awful lot to do against passive opposition.
Yuri is included in the 18 that travels to Cornella-El Prat but his return to the starting 11 by no means a certainty and he could be rusty even if selected. Either way, Perez will fancy his chances of scoring against the Basque outfit for the second time this season. In the reverse fixture at Anoeta last September, he bagged a late winner in a 3-2 win for the Pericos.
The game itself isn’t an easy one to call, although it’s hard to make any sort of case for the visitors with Agirretxe sidelined. Since the start of last season, La Real have only won four out of 33 domestic away games. Based on shot data, the opening market had the prices about right but iin light of teams news, it’s understandable that Espanyol should be shortening in the run-up to kick-off.
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