Albion should be just about ready for Premier League action when they take on Espanyol today.

It is, after all, their final dress rehearsal.

The same, it appears, cannot be said for their opponents from Barcelona. Far from it.

They have changed head coach and staff and seen 11 players depart, with three more possibly on their way soon.

It also appears 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 single minute in the four pre-season fixtures.

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

But pre-season has been generally positive so far.

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

Jordi Luengo, who covers Espanyol for La Grada newspaper and website, told The Argus: “The sensations so far are positive.

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

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

“But there were a lot of changes in that one and a lot of young players.

“It was 0-0 and Espanyol had various chances but Linense scored on 89 minutes.

“It was the first goal conceded in this pre-season.”

Espanyol’s attack will probably be led today by a striker familiar to English fans, the former Newcastle and Stoke man Joselu.

He signed recently from relegated Alaves, having scored 14 goals last term for the team who finished rock bottom.

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

Central midfielder Sergi Darder, who has played for Lyon and Spain under-21s, is among the men who might catch the eye of fans at the Amex today.

Spanish sides have usually offered Albion a different, interesting and very flexible tactical challenge when playing at the Amex in previous pre-seasons.

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

Luengo said: “Diego Martinez showed in Granada great tactical variation.

“He changed things around quite a lot.

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

“Up to now at Espanyol, he has mainly used 4-2-3-1, more than anything because up front he only has Joselu.

“Other strikers haven’t been playing.

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

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

But they fell away in the second half of the season, during which time they had one of the worst records in LaLiga with 16 points from their 19 games.

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

“In the first half of the season, they were very good.

“They were eighth, ninth, and above all they did well at home.

“In the second half of the season, it was the time to take a step forward and chase seventh or so but the team became a bit settled with what they had done.

“With about eight games to go they were just about safe.

“With two games to go they got a draw away to Alaves to mathematically secure safety – and the next day the coach Vicente Moreno was sacked, along with all his staff.”

The subsequent summer of change has seen an Albion namesake leave the club.

Midfield man David Lopez, formerly with Napoli and NOT the Seagulls’ Spanish Dave, has made the short move to Catalan rivals Girona.