Mark O’Haire’s European Football Tips – Friday
Three wins in seven days culminating in a convincing 2-1 success over Valencia last weekend has seen Atletico Madrid’s transformation and delicate balancing act from beast to beauty almost complete.
Deportivo La Coruna v Atletico Madrid, Friday 30th October 2015, 19.30, Sky Sports 2
Los Colchoneros head to Galicia on Friday night now knowing a fourth victory on the spin would send them top of La Liga, if only for 24 hours.
The teething problems that blighted Diego Simeone’s side in the early part of the campaign look long gone as the Mattress Makers swept aside Los Che last time out in a performance described by the boss as, their ‘best for a long time’. The capital club dominated proceedings and the summer investment in flair and panache appears to be working seamlessly alongside Simeone’s thirst for discipline and organisation.
Atletico are 3/4 shots to pocket maximum points from their visit to Deportivo and the visitors do travel with an almost fully fit squad. Jackson Martinez is set to start once more in attack whilst Yannick Ferreira Carrasco’s impressive recent showings should ensure a place in the XI for the Belgian.
Since Los Rojiblancos were crowned La Liga champions at the end of 2013/14, Simeone’s side have W12-D6-L5 of their subsequent 23 road trips in league football. More recently they’ve suffered just one reverse in 12 on their domestic travels and shut out their hosts in five of their last seven away from the Vicente Calderon.
Clearly, Atletico are a tough team to tackle but intriguingly, only three of those 12 away wins were secured by a margin of two goals or more. BoyleSports are giving us the option to support the guests to win by a one-goal margin at a hunky 23/10 and that holds plenty of appeal.
Deportivo have made a superb start to 2015/16 (W3-D4-L2) and although last weekend’s loss to Malaga stalled their progress, the Galicians have earned plenty of warranted praise for their new-found attacking approach under Victor. La Coruna have netted at least twice in five of their nine starts – a far cry from last season’s dreary and dour football at the Riazor.
The Brancoazuis have been hampered by their lack of clean sheets though – just two this term – and it’s worth pointing out, they’ve yet to face a side of the might of Atletico. Cani returns to the first-team frame for the hosts who may also opt to play with just one forward to add a bit more security to the midfield.
Last weekend’s loss on the Costa del Sol was Deportivo’s first by at least two goals since Victor took charge with the hosts losing by more than a one-goal margin on only three occasions in 23 at the Riazor since promotion back to the top-flight.
Atletico Madrid to win by exactly one goal @ 23/10
Eintracht Frankfurt v Bayern Munich, Friday 30th October 2015, 19.30, BT Sport Europe
Bayern Munich are bidding to continue their conquest of German football on Friday night when they take their 10-match Bundesliga winning streak to Eintracht Frankfurt. No other Bundesliga side has ever won their first 10 fixtures and on Tuesday night, Pep Guardiola’s men sauntered to a 3-1 success in the DFB Pokal at Wolfsburg.
The Bavarian giants and two-time defending league champions are also defending a stunning record in matches played before Christmas. Bayern have now gone 52 league games without defeat before the winter break (W44-D8-L0) and head the standings by seven points.
Eintracht will hope to make the match a bit of a contest but recent form suggests the Eagles may find the going a little too tough to handle. Armin Veh’s men were 2-1 winners at Hannover last weekend but were knocked out of the DFB Pokal on Tuesday night by 3.Liga side Erzgebirge Aue on Tuesday night.
It’s just one success in seven for Veh’s troops who’ll also have to do without the trio of Sonny Kittel, Emil Balayev and Bamba Anderson at the Commerzbank-Arena. Frankfurt will look to pack the midfield, use Haris Seferovic as a target man and ask talismanic captain Alexander Meier to provide the attacking inspiration but even so, their task looks a little too hot to handle.
Gladbach stuffed the Eagles 5-1 in their most recent outing in front of their home fans and should Douglas Costa, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski come anywhere close to their rip-roaring performances of 2015/16, you fear for the hosts. Bayern Munich should win but finding a decent value price is difficult.
The Bavarians can be supported at 5/4 to win both halves and did just that in last season’s 4-0 romp at this venue and are well equipped to do so again on Friday.
Bayern Munich to win both halves @ 5/4
Rennes v PSG, Friday 30th October 2015, 19.30, BT Sport 2
PSG have strolled into a seven-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 thanks to an outstanding W9-D2-L0 start to the new campaign in France. But you won’t get rich quick backing the capital club to win on Friday night.
Since Laurent Blanc arrived at the Parc des Princes, the Parisians’ road record has steadily improved and Les Rouge-et-Bleu head to Roazhon Park in almost flawless form. PSG have recorded nine wins from their previous 10 Ligue 1 away days, including accumulating 16 points from a possible 18 this term.
However, in none of the visitors first six away trips have Blanc’s men led at half-time (W0-D5-L1) and despite their 56% win return on their travels since the start of last season, PSG have been held to half-time draws in 12/25 (48%) of their matches.
Rennes are now six weeks and six games without tasting Ligue 1 success but Philippe Montanier’s men have managed to net in all 10 of their league fixtures. Like their guests, the Brittany club have proven profitable in the half-time draw market with 12/24 (50%) of their Roazhon Park dates level after 45 minutes.
Les Rouges et Noirs tend to keep things tight on home soil – a huge 16/24 (67%) of those matches featured fewer than three goals – and with PSG facing a tough Champions League tie against Real Madrid next midweek, the visitors might not be at their overpowering selves from the first whistle. Therefore, I’ll take Draw-PSG in the Half-Time/Full-Time market at an inflated 14/5 on Friday.
Draw-PSG Half-Time/Full-Time @ 14/5
*Prices correct at time of publication