Copa Del Rey Quarter Final Draw: Yerry Mina Could Make Barcelona Debut Against Espanyol But Philippe Coutinho Will Miss Out
Espanyol v Barcelona
With Barca looking to retain their Copa del Rey crown, a trip a few miles up the road is just the ticket, given that the first leg is sandwiched by trips to Real Sociedad and Real Betis.
By kick off, the hosts will likely be without a manager too, or at least their current incumbent, Quique Sanchez Flores, will have decanted to the Premier League.
Depending how Barca have fared at their bogey ground, Anoeta, they could be looking to make it 30 unbeaten games at the home of their city rivals.
Though this game will come too quickly for Philippe Coutinho, it will be interesting to see if Ernesto Valverde gives Yerry Mina his first minutes as a Barca player.
Trying to arrest a desperate slide in the league will be the Periquitos’ priority, but the thought of beating Barcelona for only the sixth time (out of 19 games) in the Copa del Rey, and give themselves a shot at silverware, could see Espanyol put all of their eggs in this basket.
Leganes v Real Madrid
It was never going to be easy for a Leganes side that find themselves at this stage of the competition for the first time ever, though they’ll fancy their chances against an out of sorts Real Madrid side.
Once again, Los Blancos will play the second leg at home, and in the previous two rounds, all of the hard work has been done in the first 90 minutes.
Luckily, on both occasions, it’s been enough for Zinedine Zidane’s side because they’ve let themselves down badly in front of their home support.
Anything less than a big aggregate win won’t silence the growing discontent in the white half of Madrid.
Sergio Ramos could be back, although Zidane may choose to rest him for one further week. He’s very much needed however. Real’s back line have been at sixes and sevens without him in situ.
The hosts are the lower scorers in the division along with two of the bottom three in La Liga and will need to adopt a different tack if they want to make more history in this one.
Atletico Madrid v Sevilla
A battle royale is guaranteed in this one. Neither team will have been particularly pleased with the draw, but for the neutral, this is the tie of the round.
In all aspects, the sides are evenly matched, though the Rojiblancos’ new attack of Diego Costa and Vitolo certainly give them the edge.
It may be advantageous for the Andalusians to be playing the second leg at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, but Diego Simeone will already have noted their weaknesses from a disappointing 5-3 derby defeat against Real Betis.
Vincenzo Montella really needs to earn his corn in the wake of that result, and this tie gives him the perfect opportunity to stand toe to toe with one of the best teams in the division.
The Wanda Metropolitano still doesn’t feel like home to Atleti, and if the likes of Wissam Ben Yedder and Jesus Navas can strike early and silence the home support, there’s no reason why Sevilla can’t edge this one.
Valencia v Alaves
The Basques are looking to reach their second successive final and looked to have got over their worst form in the last few weeks.
Still in the drop zone in La Liga, they have, nevertheless, won their last four matches at home without letting a goal in. Valencia have lost their last three away, so Marcelino will want his team to do the job at Mestalla in the first leg.
In signing Luciano Vietto and Francis Coquelin, Los Che have strengthened significantly already, with the former already making his mark with a hat-trick against Las Palmas.
With Simone Zaza and Goncalo Guedes fit again, the hosts will fancy their chances.
Against a supremely hard-working outfit, Valencia have to take a positive result back to Mendizorrotza.
If not, don’t bet against former Los Che loanee, Munir El Haddadi, coming up trumps in the second leg.