Juventus
    12.08.2016 20:00 - in: Friendlies S

    Espanyol under the microscope

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    Ahead of the Bianconeri’s friendly match against Espanyol on Saturday evening in Modena, Juventus.com takes a look at their Catalan opponents in what represents the first ever fixture between the sides
    Exploring Espanyol’s existence

    Founded in 1900, Espanyol competes in Spain’s top tier La Liga, where it has spent a total of 80 seasons over the course of its existence. The Barcelona-based club have won the Copa del Rey four times, most recently in 2006, and reached the UEFA Cup final in 1988 and 2007.

    The side, affectionately nicknamed Los Periquitos (The Budgerigars) by supporters, finished last term in 13th place under previous manager Constantin Galca.

    Positive pre-season signs

    Espanyol have enjoyed a fruitful pre-season in the build-up to the 2016/17 campaign, recording wins over Almere City (2-1), Excelsior (3-0) and Everton (1-0), whilst drawing against FC Utrecht (1-1) and Southampton (1-1).

    The new coach, Quique

    Quique Sanchez Flores is gearing up for his maiden campaign at the Espanyol helm after departing Watford earlier this summer. The Madrid-born manager guided the London club to a creditable 13th place in the English Premier League as well as a trip to Wembley for the FA Cup semi-finals.

    The 51-year-old, who spent a decade at Valencia during his playing days as a defender, knows his way around La Liga very well having also coached Los Che in between two spells in charge of Getafe, while Atletico Madrid also count among his former clubs.

    Summer signings in summary

    Experience has been the name of the game as far as Espanyol’s transfer business is concerned this summer. In José Antonio Reyes, 32, and Martin Demichelis, 35, they’ve signed two players with extensive knowledge of La Liga and beyond, the former representing both Madrid clubs, Arsenal and Benfica before a four-and-a-half-year stint with Sevilla while defender Demichelis spent two years at Malaga after spells with River Plate and Bayern Munich and prior to joining Atletico Madrid and eventually Manchester City in 2013.

    Argentine defender Martin Demichelis joined Espanyol on a one-year deal from Manchester City on Wednesday.

    Other recruits include former Olympiacos keeper Roberto, left wingers José Manuel Jurado from Watford and Pablo Piatti on loan from Valencia, while the 23-year-old Brazilian centre-forward Leo Baptistao has joined from Atletico Madrid.

    On the horizon

    Sanchez Flores’ men will be keen to end their pre-season with a flourish ahead of the new campaign, which sees them begin away at Sevilla on Saturday 20 August. Los Periquitos have been handed a tough start to 2016/17, as they face six top-ten La Liga sides from last season, including Real Madrid, in their first seven fixtures.

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