Mark O’Haire – European Football Tips – Sunday
Barcelona and Real Madrid have scored over 100 league goals between them this season and have posted an aggregate goal difference of +73.
Atletico Madrid v Sevilla, Sunday 24 January 2016 (15.00), Sky Sports 4
But neither side top La Liga coming into the weekend. Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid continue to churn out results and set the pace in Spain despite rarely taking teams apart.
Last weekend’s 3-0 success away to Las Palmas was professional and clinical but it was also only the second occasion they’ve notched at least three goals in a league game this season – the third arriving in the dying embers of the match.
Over the last 10 fixtures, Atleti have scored 15 La Liga goals – Barcelona have hit 30 with their bitter rivals Real managing 33. But while the big-two have picked up 24 and 19 points respectively, the Mattress Makers have accumulated 27 (W9-D0-L1).
The league leaders have now triumphed in 14 of their last 15 outings across all competitions, losing just once. At their Vicente Calderon home, the hosts have succeeded in seven of their nine outings, scoring in each and grinding out five clean sheets along the way.
That solid defence has looked almost immovable at times and Simeone’s side have now kept their sheets clean in eight of their most recent 10 La Liga games whilst also posting Europe’s best defensive stats.
This weekend Atletico welcome Sevilla to the capital and I’m counting on the home side picking up maximum points once more at 8/13. They’re unbeaten in 12 against the Andalusians, winning six of their last nine meetings at the Calderon.
Sevilla have regrouped impressively after a dreadful start (W0-D2-L3) to take 30 points from their next 15 games. But Unai Emery’s men have taken 27 of those points on home soil and remain one of only two clubs yet to win on the road (W0-D5-L4) this term.
Los Rojiblancos have scored just five goals on their travels, firing blanks in four of their nine away trips. And with L-L double results in six of their most recent eight visits to top-six teams,
I can’t see the guests causing an upset on Sunday afternoon.
Atletico Madrid to win (8/13)
Juventus v Roma, Sunday 24 January 2016 (19.45), BT Sport Europe
Juventus’ terrible start to 2015/16 was well documented but the Old Lady are rampant right now and looking unstoppable.
The Bianconeri have bagged 10 successive Serie A victories, putting Max Allegri’s men right back into contention for the Scudetto. Juve are just two points behind league leaders Napoli and on Wednesday they reached the Coppa Italia semi-finals, winning away to Lazio.
Allegri has been rotating his team in recent weeks, possibly with this match in mind. Alvaro Morata started in midweek but we should expect both Mario Mandzukic and hot-shot Paulo Dybala to return as the Old Lady chase a 15th home triumph in 17 clashes with top-six teams.
Roma relieved Rudi Garcia of his duties with Luciano Spalletti being installed as their returning head coach. The club have managed just one success in 11 and failed to beat rock-bottom Verona last weekend with the new boss opting to field a three-man defence.
The Giallorossi have looked devoid of shape and defensive discipline all season and their backline displays have been the major reason they’re lagging nine points off the table-topping pace.
Although the capital club have seen fewer than three goals in six of their last seven league fixtures, similarly low-scoring ties in seven of their last 10 at top-six teams and Under 1.5 Goals in six of those contests,
I expect Juventus to have enough guile and craft to score at least twice.
Juve have netted two or more goals in each of their most recent seven Serie A showdowns and in 12 of their 20 matches overall this term. The hosts are unbeaten against Roma since 2010 and backing them to score Over 1.5 Goals at 5/6 makes more appeal than the home win at 4/6.
Juventus to score Over 1.5 Goals (5/6)
Lyon v Marseille, Sunday 24 January 2016 (20.00), BT Sport 1
Ligue 1’s two big underachievers lock horns on Sunday night, tied together on 29 points and five points off the Champions League qualifying positions.
Lyon fell to a desperately disappointing 1-0 derby defeat to St Etienne last weekend. Bruno Génésio’s men kept possession well but rarely looked like opening up their bitter rivals’ backline and deservedly left empty-handed.
It means Les Gones’ sole success in eight Ligue 1 fixtures (W1-D1-L6) was their 4-1 victory over beleaguered Troyes when christening their their new stadium earlier this month.
Including Lyon’s results at their old Stade Gerland ground, the club have only come out on top in 11 of their previous 20 when welcoming league opposition and the hosts look overrated in the markets.
Marseille are coming off two impressive wins in the league and cup against difficult opposition in Caen and Montpellier. It means L’OM have suffered just one reverse in 18 games now and although the vast majority of those matches have been drawn, Michel’s men thrive on the road.
Les Phocéens have W5-D6-L1 in their last 12 Ligue 1 contests but have taken 16 points from a possible 18 away from home. The guests have scored in each of their last eight on their travels and avoided defeat in 10 outside of their Stade Velodrome home.
I like the look of Marseille in the Double Chance market at 4/6 – we’ll get paid out should the visitors avoid defeat.
They’ve done so in six of their last 11 head-to-heads with Lyon, including five of the most recent six, as well as four of their last seven away to Sunday night’s hosts.
Marseille Double Chance (4/6)
*Prices correct at time of publication.