Another week done. Another week closer to a return to pubs and to stadiums. Another profitable week against the bookies.
This weekend, as always, is packed full of action across the continent. A reduced fixture list in the Premier League (courtesy of the FA Cup quarter-finals) means no less entertainment, whilst European leagues are in full tilt in the final week before the international break.
This week’s four-fold acca take us first to a Saturday afternoon double-header in Germany where titles and Champions League places are on the line, followed by a relegation six-pointer in the Prem, and finally Sunday’s late kick-off in Serie A where two of the league’s stalwarts go head-to-head in a hunt for European football.
It’s sure to be another cracker of a weekend, and hopefully another winning acca. So, let’s get into it!
As the Bundesliga title race intensifies — with RB Leipzig looking to dethrone the Bavarian dominance in Germany — current holders and leaders, Bayern Munich host 8th placed Stuttgart at the Allianz Arena.
Hansi Flick’s side are just one point clear of Leipzig, who won at lowly Arminia Bielefeld last night, with today’s game being the game in hand and the opportunity to widen the gap back to four points. They have lost just once in their last ten games, and have won their last three by an aggregate score of 12–4.
Stuttgart, meanwhile, are sitting pretty in 8th place. Pellegrino Matarazzo’s side are unbeaten in five, finally playing free from the shackles of any relegation worry after an unnerving start to the 2020/2021 season. They will be travelling to Bavaria with nothing to lose this afternoon, and everything to gain against the domestic, European and World Club champions.
No matter the result, both sides are likely to approach the game full of confidence, and full of goals. Bayern, predictably, are by far and away the most prolific side in the league, averaging 2.96 goals per 90–1.42 of these belong to Robert Lewandowski, who averages more goals per 90 than seven Bundesliga sides — whilst Stuttgart, perhaps more surprisingly, are joint 3rd in the league, averaging 1.84 goals per 90.
As seen below, both sides average over three total match goals per game they feature in, with both sides scoring in 80% of Bayern’s games and 72% of Stuttgart’s games, and whilst Stuttgart’s over 2.5 goals percentage is relatively low, Bayern’s 84% is sure to drag the likelihood of another goal-fest upwards.
Around 240 miles north-west, at the same time, Adi Hutter’s Eintracht Frankfurt side host FC Union Berlin at the Deutsche Bank Park.
Die Adler go into Saturday’s game without a win in three. They had previously won five in a row and not been beaten since the turn of the year. However, disappointing results against Werder Bremen and Stuttgart, followed by a draw at Leipzig stopped them from pulling clear of the chasing pack as the final holders of a Champions League place.
It is that 4th spot that they desire so greatly. They’re two clear of Borussia Dortmund — who play FC Koln this afternoon — and are desperate for a win to get them back on track.
A fairytale start to the season for Union Berlin — which saw them rise into the European places by the winter break — has dropped off as Urs Fischer’s side have wavered slightly. They are unbeaten in five, although three of them were draws, and have only won three in their last ten.
Frankfurt’s desperation for all three points is likely to push them to dominate the game in search for an early goal. Games at the Deutsche Bank Park average 14.17 corners per game, and Frankfurt themselves average 5.96 corners per 90 minutes.
They managed five corners to Berlin’s four in the reverse fixture back in November; an incredible game in which both sides bagged three goals in a 6-goal thriller in the capital, and their predicted dominance at home is likely to mirror that.
The last of Saturday’s fixtures comes from St. James’ Park as Newcastle host Brighton in a pivotal clash at the bottom of the Premier League.
The mood in Tyneside is grim to say the least. Steve Bruce’s side sit 17th, just two points ahead of Fulham, albeit with a game in hand on Scott Parker’s side. Winless in five, and with just two wins in their last 17 league games, the Magpies have plummeted into a relegation dogfight and are many people’s favourites to fill the final spot alongside Sheffield United and West Brom.
Whilst Brighton are only one point ahead of Newcastle, and three ahead of Fulham, the perceived gulf in footballing quality is clear. Pretty football doesn’t directly correlate with results, however, and the Seagull’s abysmal form in front of goal has them down with the likes of Newcastle and Fulham, scrapping for survival.
Saturday’s game is a case of a side who can’t finish their dinner against a side who have been malnourished since kick-off in September. Newcastle, damningly, will also be without the only three players in black and white capable of conjuring up any chances: Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron. It is believed that Joelinton will lead the line.
Brighton’s main man, Neal Maupay, has been decent this season and has been a main factor in a lot of the attractive football seen at the Amex. His finishing, however, leaves a lot to be desired, and whilst the Frenchman is Brighton’s top-scorer with seven goals, his total xG of 10.4 indicates some questionable composure in-front of goal.
Expect a cagey game on Saturday, with both sides desperate not to lose and both drained of any attacking confidence whatsoever. both sides average around one goal per game (Brighton average 1.04 and Newcastle average exactly 1.00) and less than half of either side’s fixtures have produced over 2.5 goals.
Almost 24 hours after game number three comes the final game of this week’s acca: A trip to Italy’s capital, and the Stadio Olimpico as Roma host Napoli in Serie A’s main event of the weekend.
Roma and Napoli sit 6th and 5th respectively, but both are aiming to propel themselves into the Champions League places as one of the tightest Serie A seasons of the last decade draws to its climax.
Napoli are the form side. Unbeaten in four (three wins and a draw), with recent wins against AC Milan and Juventus, Gennaro Gattuso’s side are hopeful of a strong finish earning them a place in the top four.
Roma’s embarrassing defeat to Parma last weekend epitomised their season, following back-to-back wins which looked to have started a push back into the top four. In the eight games that the Giallorossi have played against sides above them in league they are yet to win a single one, and in the reverse fixture they were thrashed 4–0 by the Azzurri.
Again, no matter the result, Sunday night’s game is a dead-set cracker. both Roma and Napoli are amongst the most productive sides in Serie A this season producing, on average, 9.52 and 10.00 corners per game respectively.
The underlying metrics for both sides also encourages use of the corner market. They are both amongst the highest in the league for shots per 90 minutes (Roma average 14.38 whilst Napoli average 16.73) and crosses per 90 minutes (Roma average 11.80 whilst Napoli average 12.70).
The above four-fold pulls odds of 4.08/1. As always, all four have been painstakingly researched to produce the best-value odds across all of Europe’s major leagues.
Four huge games at both ends of their respective leagues to keep an eye on throughout the next couple of days.
As always… Enjoy the Weekend!
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