European football weekend – including La Liga14th Feb 2018 |
Eibar v Barcelona (La Liga)
Barcelona extended their unbeaten run in La Liga to 23 encounters last weekend, although they were left disappointed after behind held to a goalless draw by Getafe at the Camp Nou. Manager Ernesto Valverde will have more than half an eye on his side’s upcoming Champions League clash with Chelsea, but the Catalans should still have more than enough quality to overcome Eibar on Saturday. With Barca likely to rotate, it could be worth sticking some money on back-up striker Paco Alcacer to score at 9/10.
Chelsea v Hull City (FA Cup)
Chelsea reached the final of the FA Cup last season but fell at the last hurdle, losing 2-1 to Arsenal at Wembley. They will be looking to make amends this season, but Championship Hull stand between them and a place in the last eight; the Tigers have had an underwhelming campaign up to now and are only just outside the bottom three of the second tier, which is why the Blues are overwhelming favourites to come out on top in the Friday night fixture. Odds of 9/5 on a home win with both teams to find the back of the net look tempting.
Huddersfield Town v Manchester United (FA Cup)
Huddersfield secured a much-needed victory last weekend, thrashing Bournemouth 4-1 to climb out of the bottom three. Premier League survival is still their priority this term, but that triumph perhaps means they will be able to take this FA Cup clash a little more seriously than they may have done otherwise. Manchester United, meanwhile, will be desperate to win some silverware in the coming months given how far behind the top of the Premier League table they have fallen, and an away win with fewer than 2.5 goals scored in total could be the best bet here.
Torino v Juventus (Serie A)
Turin rivals Torino and Juventus will go head-to-head in the early kick-off on Sunday, with the latter looking to make it nine wins in a row in Serie A. Max Allegri’s men have been brilliant since a 3-2 defeat by Sampdoria, taking 31 points from a possible 33 to keep the heat on league leaders Napoli. Torino are in good form themselves having gone seven games unbeaten, although four of those matches ended with the scores level. It is difficult to see Juve slipping up here, though – I like the look of an away win to nil at 31/20.
Borussia Monchengladbach v Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga)
Borussia Dortmund ran out 2-0 winners over Hamburg in their last encounter, a result which moved them into third spot in the Bundesliga standings. This has been a hugely frustrating campaign for BVB after a fantastic start under former manager Peter Bosz, but there is still plenty to play for – both domestically and in the Europa League – in the final three months of 2017/18. Borussia Monchengladbach could launch a late top-four challenge if they come out on top here, but I fancy a draw – which is offered at a price of 53/20.
Wigan Athletic v Manchester City (FA Cup)
Wigan upset the odds when they beat Manchester City in the 2013 FA Cup final, before repeating the trick with victory over the same opposition in the last eight the following season. They will be hoping to make it a hat-trick when Pep Guardiola’s men visit the DW Stadium on Monday evening, but the Premier League leaders will surely prove too strong for the League One table-toppers, even if Guardiola does opt to shuffle his pack. Manchester City to win both halves is my betting tip for this game.