Mark O’Haire’s European Football Tips – SundayStats
It’s seven games since David Moyes was given the boot at Real Sociedad and although Eusebio Sacristan’s tenure started with a 2-0 win over Sevilla, the San Sebastian side have leaked 13 goals in six league outings.
Real Sociedad v Valencia, Sunday 10th January 2016, 15.00, Sky Sports 2
The Basques are now winless in five in all competitions and have been beaten in four of their previous eight.
Traditionally strong at their Anoeta home, Sociedad have bagged just two triumphs in nine La Liga fixtures in front of their home supporters and it’s now eight matches without keeping their sheets clean. There are clearly glaring issue for La Real to address.
Gary Neville remains winless in league games as Valencia’s new head coach but last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Real Madrid bought him plenty of credit. Los Che followed that entertaining draw up with a 4-0 hammering of Granada at the Mestalla in the Copa del Rey with Alvaro Negredo hammering home a hat-trick.
Neville’s troops should be full of confidence following that midweek thrashing and although this fixture brings together two coaches whose combined La Liga careers add up to just 11 games, ticking ‘Yes’ on the Both Teams To Score option looks a decent option to explore.
The visitors still have Jose Gaya and Shkodran Mustafi and it’s worth noting six of their last eight matches recorded BTTS winners whilst Sociedad have followed suit in four of their most recent five.
We can back both teams scoring at an attractive 20/23.
Both Teams To Score @ 20/23
Celta Vigo v Atletico Madrid, Sunday 10th January 2016, 19.30, Sky Sports 2
Make no mistake, Atletico Madrid are most definitely in the running for the La Liga title. Last weekend’s late 1-0 win against Levante won’t win prizes for aesthetics but it was the type of result that typified a major contender grinding out maximum points when most in need.
The capital club are now Spain’s pace-setters, leading Barcelona by two points having churned out W9-D1-L1 since holding bitter rivals Real Madrid 1-1 back in early October. Diego Simeone’s side have leaked just four goals across those 11 matches, recording a hugely impressive seven clean sheets.
The visitors should be fresh for battle in Balaídos with Simeone resting and rotating 10 players for their midweek Copa del Rey clash against Madrid foes Rayo Vallecano and their W6-D1-L2 road record this term suggests they’re more than capable of picking up another three points.
All six of those triumphs came ‘to nil’ with five arriving by a 1-0 or 2-0 correct score.
Considering the guests have delivered Under 2.5 Goals winners in each of their last eight away La Liga games, a repeat could well be on the cards this weekend.
Celta were top of the table in early October but their following 10 matches have only produced W4-D1-L5 as the Sky Blues have slid down to fifth. Eduardo Berizzo’s boys have lost each of their three encounters with top-half teams in Galicia during that sample and will be forced to shoulder on without their star man Nolito in attack.
Barcelona are chasing the highly-rated but injured forward and it’s telling that, of the nine matches he’s failed to start since the start of last season, Celta have won just once. Eight of those nine fell below the 2.5 line and four have ended in 1-0 losses.
Normally associated with attacking football, the Vigo club have delivered Under 2.5 Goals winners in each of their last five as well as eight of their previous 12 when welcoming top-six teams to Balaídos.
Both Malaga and Athletic Bilbao have shut the hosts out in their last two outings and without Nolito in tow, it’s difficult to see them breaking down one of Europe’s tightest defences on Sunday.
We can back another Atletico Madrid win with Under 2.5 Goals at a bulbous 5/2.
Atletico Madrid to win and Under 2.5 Goals @ 5/2
Sampdoria v Juventus, Sunday 10th January 2016, 19.45, BT Sport Europe
Five points from their first 18 on offer represented Juventus’ worst start to a Serie A campaign for 103 years but the Old Lady, chasing a fifth successive Scudetto, have fought back valiantly.
Max Allegri’s now guided the Bianconeri to eight successive victories – his best run of results with Juve – and they’re now worthy title favourites once more.
On Sunday they visit a Sampdoria side that are starting to show signs of life under talented boss Vincenzo Montella. Samp were cruising at 3-0 in the derby against Genoa in midweek but were forced to hold on after a rousing response from their bitter city rivals and the resolve shown should stand them in good stead for the remainder of the season.
The Blucerchiati are looking re-energised and carry plenty of threat in attacking areas thanks to the talents of 11-goal man Eder. And back at their Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Sampdoria are rarely embarrassed – since the start of last season Sunday’s hosts have returned W12-D12-L4 as hosts.
However, Juventus were one of those victors whilst other top-three placed sides (either now or last season) in Fiorentina and Lazio have also left the Genoese club with maximum points.
This will be a tricky test for the Turin travellers but I’m counting on them once again producing the goods. But we’ll not get rich quick by backing the champions at miniscule quotes. Instead, add a Both Teams To Score dynamic to proceedings and the price boosts to a much more enticing 29/10.
Juve conceded twice at lowly Carpi in their last away day, have leaked in half of their road trips as well as keeping just 13/28 (46%) clean sheets when away from the Juventus Stadium in the Allegri league era.
Sampdoria have only failed to net in five fixtures during the same 28-game sample on home soil with 16/28 (57%) rewarding BTTS backers.
Juventus to win and Both Teams To Score @ 29/10
*Prices correct at time of publication