European football weekend preview15th May 2018 |
Manchester United vs Chelsea (FA Cup)
The 2017/18 campaign comes to a close in traditional fashion in England, with Manchester United and Chelsea set to contest the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday evening. The Red Devils finished the Premier League season three places higher than their upcoming opponents – second versus fifth – but both sides rather limped over the finish line in the final week of the season. Jose Mourinho’s record in cup finals is superior to Antonio Conte’s, but perhaps the most sensible bet here would be under 2.5 goals. Both managers are on the cautious side and will not want to give anything away easily, so a low-scoring encounter could be on the cards.
Milan vs Fiorentina (Serie A)
Fiorentina’s defeat by Cagliari last weekend means they can no longer overtake Milan in the race for the Europa League. In fact, it is now hugely unlikely that La Viola will qualify for the competition at all, with seventh-placed Atalanta holding a three-point advantage and possessing a superior goal difference heading into the final day. The Rossoneri will be keen to keep hold of sixth spot, though, not least because that would send them straight into the group stage of Europe’s secondary competition. A home win and both teams to score looks to be good value at 11/5.
Bayern Munich vs Eintracht Frankfurt (DFB-Pokal)
After wrapping up yet another Bundesliga title last month, Bayern Munich are now fully focused on winning the DFB-Pokal for a record-extending 19th time. Eintracht Frankfurt stand in their way, with an interesting sub-plot in play: their boss, Niko Kovac, is the man who will replace Jupp Heynckes in the Allianz Arena dugout next season. For now the Croatian will be fully focused on securing Frankfurt’s first piece of silverware since they won this trophy 30 years ago, but Bayern will probably prove too strong at the Olympiastadion in Berlin. Take up odds of 3/2 on the Bundesliga champions triumphing despite a -2 handicap.
Lyon vs Nice (Ligue 1)
The race for the top three has been thrilling for much of the second half of the Ligue 1 season, and three clubs are still in with a shout heading into the final day. Europa League finalists Marseille are outsiders at the time of writing – although they will automatically qualify for the Champions League if they beat Atletico Madrid on Wednesday – with Monaco and Lyon in pole position to secured second and third spot. Nice will be tricky opposition for the latter, though, and it could be worth a sneaky punt on an away win at tempting odds of 11/2.
Barcelona vs Real Sociedad (La Liga)
Barcelona’s shock 5-4 loss to Levante last weekend leaves their hopes of an unbeaten league campaign in tatters. That is a major disappointment for the Blaugrana, whose season now appears a little underwhelming following their meek Champions League exit at the hands of Roma. They will nevertheless be keen to end 2017/18 on a high when Real Sociedad visit the Camp Nou on Sunday, but this is likely to be a game lacking in intensity – with that in mind, consider over 4.5 goals at a price of 19/20.
Lazio vs Inter (Serie A)
This is essentially a Champions League play-off between fourth-placed Lazio and fifth-placed Inter: the former will qualify for the tournament with a draw or win, but the latter need to triumph at the Stadio Olimpico if they are to climb above their opponents. The advantage is therefore with Lazio, who have been boosted by the news that star striker Ciro Immobile is fit to play in Sunday’s showdown. This match will probably swing in either direction throughout the 90 minutes, but the best bet is probably a draw at 5/2.