European football weekend preview8th Feb 2018 |
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal (Premier League)
One of the highlights of the European football weekend takes place at Saturday lunchtime, when north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal will go go head-to-head at Wembley. Spurs have enjoyed a positive last fortnight, beating Manchester United at home and drawing with Liverpool away, but they remain outside the Champions League spots and will be wary of letting sixth-placed Arsenal climb back into contention for the top four. The Gunners thrashed Everton 5-1 last time out and appear buoyed by the arrival of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose speed could cause Spurs serious problems in transition. I like the look of 21/20 on Aubameyang to score anytime.
Fiorentina v Juventus (Serie A)
There is no love lost between Fiorentina and Juventus, and the duo will renew hostilities in the Friday night fixture in Serie A. Max Allegri’s men thrashed Sassuolo 7-0 last weekend, but while the number of goals scored inevitably caught the eye, it is significant that the reigning champions have now conceded just once in their last 10 matches in the Italian top tier. Fiorentina have been plagued by inconsistency this season and could struggle against such a well-organised backline, which is why I’d recommend a flutter on an away win to nil at 7/4.
Manchester City v Leicester City (Premier League)
There is little doubt that Manchester City will win the Premier League title this season, but the fact they have now drawn their last three away games shows Pep Guardiola’s side are not quite as dominant as they were towards the start of the season. City are still playing some incredible football, though, and their record at the Etihad Stadium this term is close to perfect. Leicester therefore arrive as huge underdogs on Saturday, but their counter-attacking pace means it should not be beyond them to find the back of the net. It is thus worth considering the 4/5 odds on both teams to score.
Bayern Munich v Schalke (Bundesliga)
Bayern Munich have dominated German football in the last few years, and their reign shows no signs of ending any time soon. The Bavarians have been almost flawless since Jupp Heynckes replaced Carlo Ancelotti at the helm, and while Schalke are having a decent campaign themselves, it is hard to look past a comfortable home win here. My betting tip at the Allianz Arena is Bayern to score more than 2.5 goals, which is available in the sportsbook at a price of 1/1.
Southampton v Liverpool (Premier League)
Liverpool threw away 1-0 and 2-1 leads in their crunch clash with top-four rivals Tottenham last weekend, while Southampton collected a much-needed three points at West Bromwich Albion. That win relieved some of the pressure on Mauricio Pellegrino’s shoulders, but he knows defeat here could plunge Saints back into the bottom three depending on other results. Liverpool to triumph at 4/5 looks like a good option to add to any weekend accumulators.
Real Madrid v Real Sociedad (La Liga)
Real Madrid’s woes continued last weekend, when the Spanish champions were held to a 2-2 draw by Levante. It has been a season to forget for Zinedine Zidane’s charges so far; not only have their title chances long since evaporated, Los Blancos have a battle on their hands to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League. Real Sociedad have also had a frustrating time in 2017/18 – they are just four places above the drop zone at the time of writing – and I expect them to come unstuck at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday. A home win with over 3.5 goals scored in total could be worth a punt at 7/10.