The quarterfinal draw of the 2017/18 Copa del Rey took place today and it provided some tasty matchups that should please La Liga fans next week.
The first-leg fixtures will begin on Wednesday, January 17 and Thursday, January 18, with the return legs scheduled the following week on Wednesday, January 24 and Thursday, January 25.
CD Leganés vs Real Madrid CF
As a Real Madrid fan, this was the best draw out of the available clubs to face. The good news for both clubs is that they will not have to worry about traveling a long distance, as both clubs are based in Madrid. As for Leganes, Asier Garitano’s squad are turning heads and are currently ninth in La Liga standings. They could provide a more difficult challenge for Los Blancos, who are currently under pressure from their fans and owner for their recent form.
Real Madrid TV presenter Phil Kitromilides called out the scheduling issues surrounding this Copa del Rey fixture:
Prediction: Real Madrid will be favored to Copa tie but that hasn’t worked out in their favor as of late. They handle Numancia (5–2 agg.) but Leganes offers a more difficult challenge and it will be interesting to see if Zidane sticks to playing the kids, who haven’t been great, or relies on his starters in this matchup. Real will need to focus on the Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League in order to save their season.With that being said, I believe Real Madrid will get through to the next round with a 4–2 aggregate.
RCD Espanyol vs FC Barcelona
Barça will face off Espanyol in a Barcelona derby for a chance to make it in the Copa semifinals. Barça look to be unstoppable after their 5–0 thrashing of Celta de Vigo and look to be the clear favorites to secure their 30th Copa title. For Espanyol, they’re probably just happy to be here after they qualified for the quarters after a 3–2 aggregate win over Levante. Unfornately, they just don’t have the firepower to keep up with Barça but they’re try to make it difficult for the Catalans. The two clubs are scheduled in La Liga play on February 4 and with the Copa del Rey pairing, they are set for three meetings in two weeks.
Prediction: Barça are in full gear right now and Espanyol are very unfortunate to be in their path of destruction. The Blaugrana put a 5–0 win on Espanyol’s head when they played back in September. This will get ugly, folks, like 6–0 aggregate ugly.
Atlético de Madrid vs Sevilla FC
Atlético are flying high and currently find themselves second behind Barça in La Liga. With the return of Diego Costa, who appears to be in excellent form coming off his long sabbatical from club football after leaving Chelsea, it appears they have added a power scoring option to pair with Antoine Griezmann and are a more dangerous club to face. As for Sevilla, they’ve had some issues with management and form. With the recent arrival of Vincenzo Montella as manager, who replaced Eduardo Berizzo, this will be an early test for him. Their last 3 matches in league play have resulted in a 0–0 draw against Levante, a 3–1 lost to Sociedad, and a 5–3 lost to Real Betis.
Prediction: These are two top flight clubs in Spanish football that are going in two different directions. Atlético should be favored by having Diego Costa back at the club. Sevilla have the players but this comes down to Montella’s tactics for me. I have Los Rojiblancos edging out a 3–2 aggregate.
Valencia CF vs Deportivo Alavés
This is the fun matchup in the Copa del Rey. Valencia are having a remarkable season in league play so far after coming close to relegation last season and are just 2 points behind second place Atlético Madrid. Alavés, who sit 18th in La Liga, a point from safety, have been playing their best football in the Copa. They have only conceded once in four Copa games so far this term and will hope they can contain the firepower of Rodrigo, Zaza, and Gonçalo Guedes.
Prediction: Valencia are the much better squad by a mile but Alavés have defended at will in their previous Copa matches and will hope for a bit of luck for themselves & some misfortune for Valencia. I can see Valencia cruising to the semis 4–1 on aggregate.