With the second leg of the UEFA Champions League first knockout stage (and Ronaldo's mission for Juventus) under the spotlight, national tournaments present that extra bitcoin betting layer of opportunity. There aren’t many big games in the Premier League this weekend while the FA Cup draw has avoided any Big Six clashes, and so this week we’re focusing on some of the top fixtures from around mainland Europe.
The eye is immediately drawn to the Milan Derby this Sunday, with AC Milan heavy favourites to reassert their grip on the top four. Elsewhere Valencia can close the gap to Getafe in fourth to just three points, and we take a brief look at Arsenal’s potentially high-scoring game against Wolves in London.
Valencia v Getafe
Getafe’s superb season shows no sign of slowing down. A third successive victory in La Liga last weekend opened up some breathing space, putting four points between themselves and the chasing pack in the race for a top four finish. However, they face possible defeat this weekend against one of their main challengers, Valencia.
Valencia are undefeated in 13 matches in all competitions, but generally perform better when allowed to play on the counter-attack. Getafe sit bottom of the league for possession (43.6% average), meaning the hosts will be forced to hold the ball more than they are comfortable. The result, then, should be a fairly dull, low-scoring game.
Back the draw at 3.26
Real Betis v Barcelona
Barcelona are running away with the title, and they shouldn’t have any problems beating Real Betis this weekend. Barca have won four in a row in all competitions, including away games against Sevilla and Real Madrid (twice), reflecting their total superiority in Spanish football; Lionel Messi, with 38 goals or assists in 25 La Liga matches this season, is practically guaranteed to conjure goals in Betis.
The hosts haven’t won a home match since the beginning of February, most recently losing 2-1 to Getafe. Betis have also scored just 18 goals in the league at home this campaign; their chances of outscoring Barcelona are extremely slim.
Back Barcelona to win with a -1.25 handicap at 1.83
AC Milan v Inter Milan
Inter have hit a rough patch of form at just the wrong moment, failing to win in three consecutive games before a 2-0 victory against relegation candidates SPAL 2013 last weekend. On the road, they have won twice since late October – and both were fortunate 1-0 victories. All of this suggests they are under-dogs for the Milan Derby on Sunday, a game that could put Inter’s place in next season’s Champions League under threat.
By contrast, AC Milan are on a hot streak; they’ve won each of their last five Serie A matches and four in a row at home in all competitions. Given that Inter’s centre-backs are enduring a torrid time, making several key mistakes recently, emerging 23-year-old striker Krzysztof Piatek – with six goals in seven Serie A games this season – can make the difference.
Back AC Milan to win at 2.50
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PSG v Marseille
Paris Saint-Germain are closing in on a perfect home record in Ligue Un, and despite Marseille sitting fourth in the table there is very little chance the visitors can cause an upset here. PSG will be highly motivated following the ignominious defeat to Manchester United in their most recent home match, meaning Marseille will feel the full wrath of a refreshed team.
Marseille have won five and drawn one of their last six league games, but the Champions League contenders sit ninth on away form alone. That’s not a good enough record to end PSG’s 100% success rate on home soil.
Back PSG to win with a -1.75 handicap at 2.02
Lyon v Montpellier
Another team with an impeccable home record is Lyon, unbeaten since December and on an emphatic run that includes a 0-0 draw with Barcelona in the Champions League and a 2-1 victory over PSG at the beginning of February. Their fast-tempo possession football will surely be too much for Montpellier.
The visitors’ season has collapsed. They have won just two of the last 14 games, and somehow managed to draw 2-2 with Angers despite being 2-0 up when an opposition player was sent off in the 73rd minute. Their confidence is completely shot, making a Lyon victory a high possibility.
Back Lyon to win at 1.44
Arsenal v Wolves
This match has been postponed and the date is yet to be set, but we offer our take on how it should play out if circumstances don’t change.
Arsenal have an exceptional home record this season in the Premier League, winning each of their last nine matches at the Emirates, but they face a serious challenge this weekend from a side that held Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last weekend. Wolves will again sit deep, absorb pressure, and look to pounce on the counter.
The Gunners’ propensity to play wide, expansive attacking football means Wolves stand a good chance of scoring a couple. However, Arsenal’s strength at home means they should be more successful than Chelsea; it is hard to call this one, but there should be plenty of goals.
Back over 2.5 goals