Rubi's new-look Periquitos side hit the ground running, with just two defeats in their first 11 La Liga games. They have also been playing with a lot of style and panache, with their progressive coach favouring in a 4-3-3 shape solid at the back, flexible in midfield and exciting in attack.
Stand-out results included the 2-0 home victory over Valencia and 3-1 defeat of Villarreal in front of their own fans.
Caught the eye
Striker Borja Iglesias has certainly caught the eye, with eight goals in his first 13 La Liga appearances. Already 25 but in his first season in the top flight, Galicia-born Iglesias regularly found the net in the lower divisions, first for Celta Vigo's B team and then a prolific 23 in 43 games when on loan at Real Zaragoza in Segunda Division last season.
An old-fashioned goal scorer with a laid-back attitude, the 25-year-old is known as 'Panda' from his liking for the 2015 trap tune by Desiigner.
At the other end of the pitch, defender Mario Hermoso has impressed so much that he earned a first senior Spain cap in November's 1-0 friendly win against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Hermoso, 23, came through the ranks at Real Madrid's youth system, spending the 2015/16 season on loan in Segunda Division with Valladolid, and then joining Espanyol in the summer of 2017.
Quick to anticipate danger and good in possession, left-footer Hermoso also added important goals for Espanyol in early season games against Celta and Eibar.
A fine record at the RCDE Stadium has been particularly important for Rubi's side, who won each of their first five La Liga home games before slipping to a 1-3 defeat in another Catalan derby against Girona last weekend.
Espanyol fans are now really looking forward to their next trip to the stadium. It's been 11 years since los pericos won a Barcelona city derby in front of their own fans. Given their excellent form so far, this could be the weekend that Rubi's side get that long-awaited win over their neighbours.