Espanyol clear favorites to progress in Europa League

Espanyol travel to Iceland on Wednesday ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League qualifying round away to Stjarnan, which should be a formality for David Gallego’s side.

Following a difficult first 45 minutes last week in which neither side was able to score, Espanyol took control of the second period and ran out comfortable 4-0 winners with two goals from last season’s top scorer Borja Iglesias and two more from Facundo Ferreyra.

Chinese international Wu Lei played for around 35 minutes of the second half as Espanyol took a first-leg lead which should be enough to assure they are in the next qualifying round of the competition, where they will face a more difficult task against either Lucerne or Klaksvik.

Espanyol continued their preparations for the new season with a 2-2 draw away to English second-tier club, Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend and Gallego promised that his side will go all out for another win in Iceland.

Recent signing Mati Vargas is still not available following his move from Argentina due to bureaucratic problems with his work permit, while Javi Lopez is the only specialist right-back in the squad.

Meanwhile, Gallego has to decide whether to field his strongest side and how much time should be given to Chinese international forward Wu Lei after he moves ever closer to full match fitness following his shoulder operation at the start of the summer.