The pick of the games across Europe this weekend comes in Serie A as Roma and AC Milan, just one point apart in the race for a top four finish, go head-to-head in Rome. However, this could prove to be a dull, low-scoring game given Milan’s ability to shut teams out this season.
Elsewhere Man City host Arsenal in the Premier League on a weekend in which most of the favourites are unlikely to fall short. For bitcoin betting, this means it could be a good weekend to place an accumulator bet. Here are six tips from games across Europe.
Man City v Arsenal
Arsenal’s old defensive issues have reappeared since returning to four at the back, but Unai Emery has little choice at the moment given the unfolding injury crisis at the club. That should mean plenty of space between the defenders for David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne to slip in through balls; the hosts will surely score several this weekend.
Arsenal were torn apart by the speed and directness of the Man Utd attack in the FA Cup, which suggests Pep Guardiola’s side will have no trouble on home turf. Shokdran Mustafi versus Sergio Aguero is a serious mismatch, while the pace of Leroy Sane will surely be too much for Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Back Man City to win at 1.30
Leicester v Man Utd
The hosts have performed several giant killings already this season, benefitting from playing on the counter-attack after absorbing pressure for long periods. Man United are particularly gung-ho at the moment, with the full-backs constantly driving forward and the centre-backs holding a very high line. That should mean Jamie Vardy and Demarai Gray make their mark on the break.
However, in Leicester’s wins against Man City and Chelsea Wes Morgan and Harry Maguire were able to outmuscle the nimble attackers – which is not the same as facing Romelu Lukaku or Paul Pogba. The physicality of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team still makes them favourites to win.
Back BTTS (both teams to score) at 1.73
Barcelona v Valencia
Valencia have lost three of their last four away matches in all competitions, which is a pretty bad omen when traveling to the Camp Nou. The visitors’ pragmatic football lacks a cutting edge when on their travels, meaning they won’t trouble a Barcelona side on an eight match winning streak in La Liga.
Lionel Messi has scored nine goals in his last seven matches and has scored in every game in which he has started since September 15; there is no way even Valencia, who boast the division’s third best defensive record away from home, can stop Messi.
Back Barcelona to win at 1.32
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Real Madrid v Alaves
Alaves’s league form has dramatically dropped off since the start of the season, most notably in away games. They recently lost 4-0 at Getafe, recording just seven shots on target in an abysmal performance. Alaves will be more comfortable in a deep-lying defensive blockade this weekend, but that still won’t be enough to stop a Real team on the up.
For the first time in months Real put in an excellent performance when they beat Sevilla 2-0 on January 19, and since then they have won consecutive matches by a 4-2 score line. The goals are returning – for Karim Benzema are in particular, who has three in the last two games.
Back Real to win at 1.25
Eintracht Frankfurt v Dortmund
Eintracht’s 3-5-2 formation has confused many a Bundesliga side this season, as is reflected in their fifth-place ranking, and yet Dortmund should be considered heavy favourites for this one. A 3-0 defeat for Eintracht at home to Bayern Munich in late December highlighted the gulf between the top two and the rest.
Dortmund have won nine and drawn one of their away matches in the league this season. What’s more, Marco Reus is back to his best with eight goals and three assists from his last 12 matches in all competitions; he can dominate from central attacking midfield against a team that are developing problems through the middle.
Back Dortmund to win at 2.11
Roma v AC Milan
Only one point separates Roma and AC Milan in the race for a Champions League spot, and indeed there is nothing to separate the sides when they go head-to-head this weekend. Milan’s three consecutive draws on the road, reflecting a cautiousness that will translate into less possession on Sunday, means a draw is the most probable outcome in Rome.
Roma have scored 15 goals in their last five games in all competitions, so Milan won’t be taking any risks here. Gennaro Gattuso’s side are very resilient defensively, conceding a mere three goals in their previous eight matches; they will double down on this stubbornness, creating a low-scoring game.
Back the draw at 3.40