Best value soccer picks for week one March 2019

This weekend’s fixture list from around Europe is one of the most exciting of the season so far, with derby games and title clashes galore in England, Spain, Italy, and Germany. In the Premier League the North London derby on Saturday could have huge ramifications for the final Champions League spot before the Merseyside derby 24 hours later offers Everton the chance to dent Liverpool’s title challenge.

Lazio versus Roma in the Rome derby is arguably trumped by Napoli versus Juventus in Serie A, but the biggest game of all is on Saturday night in La Liga: El Clasico presents Real Madrid with one last chance to ignite a title challenge at the Bernabeu.

Tottenham v Arsenal

Mauricio Pochettino’s outburst at the final whistle at Turf Moor hinted towards the knowledge that Tottenham’s title hopes are almost over, which could dent their confidence ahead of a huge game against high-flying Arsenal. Unai Emery’s side have sneaked into fourth, and a win at Wembley would make them favourites to grab the final Champions League spot. The contrasting momentum means the away side can take all three points.

However, the safest bet is a topsy-turvy match in which Arsenal’s erratic away form creates opportunities at both ends. They have only won two of their last nine away matches, against Huddersfield and Blackpool, which should give confidence to Harry Kane – scorer of seven goals in eight North London Derby games. 

Back over 2.75 goals at 1.91

Everton v Liverpool

Everton are plummeting down the table. They lost four of their last five league games prior to the midweek clash with Cardiff City and have picked up just 10 points from their last 14 in the competition. That’s relegation form for a third of an entire campaign, meaning defeat in the Merseyside derby on Sunday could spell the beginning of the end for Marco Silva, a man who has overseen a dramatic drop-off in all three of his jobs in England.

Uninspiring and leaky at the back, this is a great opportunity for Liverpool to build some momentum following a run of three draws from four matches. The visitors are unlikely to win big – Everton are happy to sit deeper for the big games – but nevertheless the league leaders ought to triumph at Goodison Park.

Back Liverpool to win at 1.57

Lazio v Roma

The Rome derby arguably represents the final chance for Lazio to challenge for a Champions League spot, their patchy form of late undermining what had been a successful campaign. Lazio sit seven points behind AC Milan in fourth and six behind rivals Roma following a run of just two wins in their last six Serie A games. Given that the hosts haven’t scored more than once in a home league game in 2019, Roma should take all three points on Saturday.

Eusebio di Francesco’s side are on a three-match winning streak, but more importantly have netted three times in each of their previous three away league matches. Their strong attacking threat on the road means the likes of Edin Dzeko and Stephan El Shaarawy will most likely outscore their hosts.

Back Roma to win at 2.62

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Napoli v Juventus

In a week when Maurizio Sarri has been fatally undermined at Chelsea, Napoli’s fall off from their successful 2017/18 season will come starkly into view when they face a Juventus side 13 points clear at the top of the table. The rest of the campaign is a title procession for Juve, and even despite the visitors’ recent Champions League disappointment they are heavy favourites to win in Naples.

Napoli have failed to score in three of their last five Serie A matches, and after Juve’s narrow 1-0 win at Bologna last weekend – in which Cristiano Ronaldo was quiet – the Italian champions will surely come roaring back with a big performance on Sunday.

Back Juve to win at 2.80

Real Madrid v Barcelona

Real Madrid are just about clinging onto a title challenge, but in mixed form this isn’t the best time for them to be facing Barcelona, who sit atop La Liga with nine points more than their rivals. It’s win or bust for Real, and the pressure of this scenario suggests Santiago Solari won’t get the win he needs.

Gareth Bale’s lack of celebration when he scored the winning penalty as Real squeezed past Levante last week spoke to the bubbling tension at the club, who were beaten 2-1 by Girona the previous weekend. Barcelona, by contrast, beat Sevilla 4-2 at the weekend courtesy of a Lionel Messi hat-trick; they are hitting form again and, likely to rest some key players for the Copa del Rey match against Real in midweek, should be the fresher of the two sides.

Back Barcelona to win at 2.47

Borussia Monchengladbach v Bayern Munich

Bayern have moved within three points of Dortmund and if they are to win at third-place Monchengladbach, they will have played all of their most challenging away games left this season. It’s a huge match at the top of the table, and fortunately for Bayern this is the perfect time to face Dieter Hecking’s side.

Monchengladbach are winless in three Bundesliga games, losing their last two on home soil by an aggregate score of 6-0. Bayern rotate with considerably greater regularity than their hosts, meaning Monchengladbach’s streak is likely to continue on Saturday. Needless errors have crept into their game; Robert Lewandowski will surely pounce.

Back Bayern to win at 1.57

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Posted on 2019-02-25

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