Brighton will face THIS Test against Espanyol

Albion should be almost ready for the Premier League when they face Espanyol today.

After all, it’s her last dress rehearsal.

The same does not seem to apply to the opponent from Barcelona. Far from it.

They changed head coach and staff and left 11 players, with three more potentially on the way soon.

It also appears that their main striker, former Benfica man Raul de Tomas, will not be at the Amex this afternoon.

The man, who has scored 45 goals in 89 games for the club, including 17 last season, has been training away from the squad and has yet to play a minute in four pre-season games.

He was with Spain at the end of last season and left the group due to breathing difficulties.

But the preseason so far has been generally positive.

Espanyol are still two weeks away from their LaLiga Santander opener at Celta.

Jordi Luengo, covering Espanyol for Diario Sport newspaper and website, told The Argus: “Impressions so far are positive.

“They won their opening game against Montpellier 2-0.

“Then they drew 0-0 against Las Palmas, they beat Lille from France (2-0) and then lost to Linense (from the third division).

“But there have been a lot of changes in this and a lot of young players.

“It was 0-0 and Espanyol had several chances but Linense scored in the 89th minute.

“That was the first goal we conceded this preseason.”

Espanyol’s attack today is likely to be spearheaded by a striker familiar to England fans, former Newcastle and Stoke player Joselu.

He recently signed from relegated Alaves after scoring 14 goals for the team that hit rock bottom last season.

Head coach Diego Martinez took over in the summer and his recruits include Brazilian Vinicius, a former Flamengo defensive midfielder, and Mallorca left-back Brian Olivan.

Central midfielder Sergi Darder, who has played for both Lyon and Spain U21s, is among the men that could catch the eye of Amex fans today.

Spanish teams have usually presented Albion with a different, interesting and very flexible tactical challenge when playing at Amex in previous pre-seasons.

That should be the case again today for Martinez, the former Granada coach.

Luengo said: “Diego Martinez showed big tactical variations in Granada.

“He’s changed quite a lot.

“He actually spent a year in England learning new systems and new ways of looking at football.

“So far at Espanyol he has mainly played 4-2-3-1, mainly because he only has Joselu up front.

“Other strikers didn’t play.

“But he could switch to a 4-4-2 at any time.”

Espanyol finished last season in 14th place, one place ahead of Albion’s pre-season opponents Getafe.

However, they fell off in the second half of the season and during that time had one of the worst records in LaLiga with 16 points from 19 games.

Luengo said: “Last season was one of two faces.

“They were very good in the first half of the season.

“They were eighth, ninth and especially good at home.

“In the second half of the season it was time to step up and shoot up to seventh place, but the team was getting a little satisfied with what they had done.

“About eight games to go, they were about safe.

“With two games to go they drew against Alaves to mathematically ensure safety – and the next day the coach Vicente Moreno was sacked along with all his staff.”

In the ensuing summer of change, an Albion namesake left the club.

Midfielder David Lopez, formerly with Napoli and NOT with the Seagulls Dave, has made the brief move to Catalan rivals Girona. Brighton will face THIS Test against Espanyol

Fry Electronics Team

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