LA LIGA continues its resumption on Tuesday with Matthew Kirby (@M_Kirby95) sharing his research on Barcelona's fixture with Leganes.
Barcelona v Leganes | Tuesday 16th June 2020, 21:00 | La Liga TV
Barcelona maintained their two-point lead after beating Mallorca 4-0. Although the scoreline looks one-sided, the Islanders did make the league leaders work hard for the three points.
Luis Suarez made his return in the second half and the link-up play between him and Messi was first-class. So, Quique Setien has a decision to make whether to start with either Antoine Griezmann or Martin Braithwaite alongside the South American pair.
Frenkie De Jong trained on Sunday meaning he’s likely to feature, but one man who’s out is Jordi Alba. His late caution means he’s suspended giving Junior Firpo a chance to deputise at left-back.
Leganes sit in 19th place and mistakes proved costly on their return to action when going down 2-1 at home to Real Valladolid. It’s left them in a perilous position just three points off safety and with a worse goal difference than Celta Vigo.
Before the La Liga hiatus, the Cucumber Growers went 12 away games without a win, until a trip to Villarreal saw them claim a massive three points to keep their survival hopes alive.
Javier Aguirre’s side have made mistakes and been punished for them. This is one game where they’ll have to be well drilled and it will be ten-men behind the ball to try to stem the Barca attacks.
Barca sit top of La Liga and leads the way in the Expected Goals for data with 47.2 Expected Goals (xGF). Their return in Mallorca saw them hit 2.3xG and dominate with 64% of the ball.
We all know what the Catalan club are capable of and that’s shown with them netting 4+ goals in eight home games already this season. That said, it’s just four clean sheets here at the Nou Camp.
Despite a lack of clean sheets, they should be able to keep one here. Leganes have the third-lowest Expected Goals for numbers at 25.3xGF. Plus, they’ll be without top scorer Óscar Rodriguez through suspension. The Real Madrid loanee has also fired in the most shots on target for the struggling side.
A lack of an out ball will cause Leganes all sorts of problems and to get value out of this game, there has to be a look towards the Barca handicaps.
It’s the obvious way in here. Barca have played six of the bottom eight at home winning by an aggregate score of 28-7. In each game, they’ve bagged four or more goals too. In each of those six games, the winning margin has always been by three or more goals. A 5-0 thrashing of Eibar, 5-1 against Valladolid, 5-2 v Mallorca and 4-1 against both Celta and Alaves paints the picture.
This should be a cakewalk for the league leaders and there’s still some odds-against knocking around on Barca -2 here, which looks the best way in. At the time of writing, the biggest price is 2.42 on Betfair.
Barca player props
Quique Setien has hinted as using his squad to the max during this busy run-in. He spoke about making changes to keep his side fresh but did admit he’ll see how fatigued his players are. It looks a straight shootout between Griezmann and Braithwaite up-front, but it’s the Frenchman who is likely to get the nod although being subbed off for Suarez in Mallorca.
Although the player props are tough to break down given that hint towards changes. Passing markets look obvious given the strength of Barca in possession, but as usual, the lines are quite high. For example, Ladbrokes have de Jong set to 80 (7/10) yet he’s only attempted that many passes in four games this season.
Passing and shooting lines are high for Barca, so I’m heading into the Leganes tackles market for a second punt. Ibrahim Amadou made just his second start against Valladolid on Saturday and in two appearances, he’s made five tackles. He’ll be the one getting stuck in trying to upset the rhythm and tempo of Barca’s play.
While completing three tackles, he also gave away three fouls, so the 27-year-old is a combative player in the middle of the park and even though backing his tackles line here, the card is worth looking at, especially in-play.
3+ tackles at 11/8 looks the way in with 4+ at 10/3 and 5+ at 15/2 with Ladbrokes. And, given how Leganes will sit off and allow Barca to have the ball in the defensive third, the middle third is where they’ll engage the league leaders, with Amadou the most likely to make the tackles.
Kévin Rodrigues was another man I looked at in the tackles market but it’s 17/20 for 3+ and he’s completed that many just twice this season. While if Junior Firpo gets forward to support the attacks, Unai Bustinza would be another to consider – he leads the way for tackles completed in the visitors’ squad.