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Match-Pack Acca - 20th/21st Feb 2021

Feb 20, 2021

As another weekend packed full of action closes in, we’ll take a look at 5 of the biggest games across Europe’s top-5 leagues, dive deep into the stats and the tactics and ultimately come out with a highly-researched 5-fold acca to follow over the course of the weekend.

Each game has been painstakingly researched, and each team thoroughly analysed, to give you the best-value higher-risk acca for the weekend’s play.

So, without further ado… let’s get into the numbers!

1. Lazio vs Sampdoria (Saturday @ 14:00): BTTS @ 4/6

Lazio form: WWWWL

Sampdoria form: WWLDW

Serie A’s early Saturday kick-off sees 7th placed Lazio host 10th placed Sampdoria at the Stadio Olimpico. Simone Inzaghi’s side fell do defeat for the first time in 2021 against Inter Milan last week, a year which has seen them win 6 and draw 1, propelling the one-time Italian giants towards a Champions League place.

They host a Sampdoria side sitting comfortably in mid-table, and performing exactly like it. A mix of 4 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses in 2021 has lifted Claudio Ranieri’s side further from the relegation scrap to a point where they can continue to play with the freedom of a side with nothing to fear.

Lazio and Sampdoria are amongst the most frequent teams to both score and concede in Serie A this season, with 68% of the home side’s games ending as such, alongside Sampdoria recording a BTTS scoreline 73% of the time.

Furthermore, Lazio’s midweek Champions League fixture against Bayern is likely to be on the mind of Inzaghi, who may well rest some key players for Saturday’s game in anticipation of a tough clash against the European (and World Club) champions.

The reverse fixture saw Sampdoria win 3–0 at home, with both sides recording 10+ shots — the absence of Lazio talisman Ciro Immobile was a huge miss for the Biancoceleste last time out. His return to the starting 11 will surely lead to conversion of such chances.

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Sampdoria 3–0 Lazio Shot-map (Provided by WhoScored.com)

2. Eintracht Frankfurt vs Bayern Munich (Saturday @ 14:30): BTTS & OVER 2.5 GOALS @ 1/2

Eintracht Frankfurt form: DWWWW

Bayern Munich form: WWWWD

The two most in-form teams in the Bundesliga go head-to-head Saturday afternoon as Adi Hutter’s Eintracht Frankfurt side host Lazio’s mid-week opponents — and recent Club World Cup Champions — Bayern Munich.

This one’s down to be one of the most exciting games across Europe this weekend. Frankfurt have taken the league by storm since the turn of the year, winning 7 and drawing 1 of their 8 league games — averaging 2.75 goals per game in the process. Their direct style of play paired with their devastatingly effective front-line had lead to Hutter’s side are running riot in Germany thus far.

His Frankfurt side are characterised by their line-breaking, penetrative passes into their main-man, Andre Silva — the leagues 2nd top scorer with 18 goals in 20 games (0.94 goals per 90 from an xG/90 of 0.82). Silva will be backed up by any of Hutter’s 4 majestically creative inside-forwards (Daichi Kamada, Luka Jovic, Amin Younes or Aymen Barkok) drifting between lines and within half-spaces, causing chaos against any defensive unit.

Their visitors, Bayern Munich, are…well… Bayern Munich. Titans of the Bundesliga year-upon-year and the dominant force in the league once again. Hansi Flick’s side are top — 5 points clear of Leipzig — and unbeaten in the league since the 8th of January. Averaging 2.90 goals per 90 (from an xG/90 of 2.17), Bayern are by far-and-away the most prolific side in the league — and in Europe for that matter — down mainly to Robert Lewandowski.

The Polish poacher has hit an astonishing 25 goals from 20 appearances (1.43 goals per 90) and shows no signs of slowing down in his quest for the Ballon D’or. He is also on course to break Gerd Muller’s Bundesliga goalscoring record — who scored 40 goals in during the 1971/1972.

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Statistical comparison of Robert Lewandowski and Andre Silva: two of the Bundesliga’s top marksmen.

3. Liverpool vs Everton (Saturday @ 17:30): LIVERPOOL TO SCORE IN 2ND HALF @ 1/3

Liverpool form: WWLLL

Everton form: LWDLL

The reverse fixture at Goodison has been argued to be the point at which Liverpool conceded their Premier League title defence — after Jordan Pickford’s horror tackle ruptured Virgil Van-Dijk’s ACL and put him out for the season — but the truth of the matter is that Liverpool maintained momentum after their 2–2 draw in October, until recently…

A 68 game unbeaten run at Anfield was followed by back-to-back defeats to Brighton and Man City, defeats compounded by an away defeat — and a 3rd league defeat on the bounce — to Leicester last weekend. A midweek win away to RB Leipzig (in Budapest albeit) will have boosted the confidence of a seemingly shellshocked Reds side.

Everton themselves are going through a more prolonged dip in form — winning just twice since the turn of the year — and will see their vulnerable rivals as an opportunity to push back in to the European places. Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s potential return will be a huge encouragement for Carlo Ancelotti.

What can be a cagey affair at the best of times may well be exacerbated by the relatively poor form of both sides, and their subsequent reluctance to concede too many chances to their rivals early doors. 20 of the 21 goals in Liverpool’s last 6 games have come in the 2nd half, and 58% of the Reds total goals have come after the 45th minute. Furthermore, the Toffees have conceded 55% of their goals this season in the 2nd half, so expect a cagey opening 45 to be followed my a more open and expressive 2nd half.

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Liverpool’s goals this season categorised by time-bracket

4. AC Milan vs Inter Milan (Sunday @ 14:00): INTER MILAN DRAW NO BET @ 4/9

AC Milan form: WLWWL

Inter Milan form: WDWWW

One to Rival both Munich vs Frankfurt and Liverpool vs Everton as Europe’s main attraction: the Milan Derby — arguably the the biggest meeting of the two sides in the last decade as both sides hope to become the first Milan side to win the title since the capital’s dominance of the late 00’s (AC were the last Milan side to win Serie A in 2010/2011).

Stefano Pioli’s AC Milan side have shown a slight wobble in recent weeks — a 14 game unbeaten run in 2020 was followed by 3 defeats in 8 since the turn of the year — and their 2–0 defeat at the hands of relegation-threatened Spezia was cause for huge concern for the Rossoneri, mostly down to the fact that the Italian minnows dominated Pioli’s side throughout the 90 minutes.

Milan’s defeat to Spezia gave Inter the chance to go top, and they took their chance emphatically, winning 3–1 at home to Lazio and going a point ahead of their city rivals. Antonio Conte’s side are the dominant force in Serie A in 2020/2021 and are now clear favourites for the Scudetto title.

With just 1 defeat in their last 10 (a 2–1 home defeat to Juventus) the Nerazzurri look almost unstoppable at the minute, and top-scorer Romelu Lukaku is in the form of his life, bagging 16 goals from 21 appearances — 2 more than Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, albeit with 4 more appearances.

Milan’s Thursday night 2–2 draw with Serbian side, Crvena Zvezda will have taken its toll of Pioli’s side who have only had a few days to focus on the derby. Milan were also without the luxury of resting their first 11, although Ibra was able to watch the game from the sidelines.

With no fans in the stadiums the only “home advantage” will come in the form of the bigger dressing room — both Milan sides share the San Siro — so any home/away advantage is out the window come Sunday afternoon.

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 Comparison of Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Serie A this season.

5. Arsenal vs Manchester City (Sunday @ 16:30): MANCHESTER CITY TO WIN @ 1/2

Arsenal form: WDLLW

Manchester City form: WWWWW

The last pick for this weekend’s Match-pack Acca, and Super Sunday’s main event comes from the Emirates Stadium — a classic master vs apprentice narrative — as Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side host Pep Guardiola’s Manchester city.

The Gunners sit 10th in their ‘transition’ season and unrest from the fans was somewhat suppressed last weekend, as Arsenal came out 4–2 winners against an entertaining, albeit worringly leaky, Leeds United side.

The return to form of the talismanic Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will have been encouraging for Arteta — the Gabonese international bagged a hat-trick against the Whites — however, Arsenal’s season has been defined by a ‘flash in the pan’ approach in which the former Premier League titans have shown signs of brilliance followed by prolonged periods of mediocrity.

Their visitors for Sunday’s clash have hit a patch of brilliance which shows no signs of dipping into mediocrity whatsoever. Guardiola’s City are on course for Premier League glory, and their record-breaking 16 game unbeaten league run (of which 14 were victories) has propelled them into 1st, and almost guaranteed the title by mid-February.

The return of Kevin-De Bruyne in City’s 3–1 win at Everton, paired with the return to fitness — albeit only for the bench at Goodison — of Sergio Aguero proves ominous for anyone lining up against Guardiola’s side in the near future, who have been unstoppable recently despite missing their two world-class players.

City’s midweek game will have done them no comparable physical harm also, with Arsenal having to make the midweek trip to Portugal on Thursday in their 1–1 draw at Benfica — a game in which Arteta was forced to play a full strength side nonetheless.

Fewest minutes trailing in the Premier League since Matchweek 10:
Man City - 0
Aston Villa - 191
Everton - 196
West Ham - 209
Man Utd - 214

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City’s 16-game unbeaten league run has shown them to not trail since November.

The Acca

5-fold acca with the above tips comes in at 6.22/1. High-risk but heavily researched, and something to keep an eye on over the course of the weekend. Above everything else, the above games have potential to be some of the most interesting a decisive games in Europe all season.

Enjoy the weekend!

 

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