Mark O’Haire’s European Football Tips – SundayStats
Real Madrid v Sevilla
Over the past 10 years, Real Madrid have met Sevilla on 26 occasions and those contests have produced an eye-popping 114 goals, at an average rate of 4.38 goals-per-game.
Real Madrid v Sevilla, Sunday 20th March 2016, 19.30, Sky Sports 1
Nineteen of those 26 fixtures have featured winning Over 2.5 Goals selections and 18 have banked in the Both Teams To Score market – 14 have broken the three-goal barrier.
Real Madrid have enjoyed the lion’s share of success – W16-D0-L10 across that sample, including eight successive home triumphs – with Cristiano Ronaldo proving particularly deadly, notching 19 goals in La Liga alone against the Andalusians.
So the stage has been set for another thriller. Madrid may not have anything major to play for in La Liga now but the expectant Los Blancos support will still want their money’s worth from the current batch of under performing Galácticos.
Ronaldo should be joined in a fearsome front three by Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez and the capital club are most definitely capable of turning on the style after another subdued display on their travels, at Las Palmas last weekend.
Boss Zinedine Zidane was far from impressed by their performance in the Canary Islands – goalkeeper Keylor Navas was again Madrid’s leading light with the two Real goals scored in the 2-1 success from corners.
Indeed, the difference between Madrid’s home and away displays is striking. Sure, Real’s results have often hidden their flaws and Atletico Madrid overturned Los Blancos at the Bernabeu but their home record under Zidane reads: 5-0 Deportivo, 5-1 Sporting Gijon, 6-0 Espanyol, 4-2 Athletic Bilbao, 0-1 Atletico Madrid, 7-1 Celta Vigo.
No side has fired in more shots than Madrid in La Liga this season and even when unconvincing against Roma in the Champions League, Zidane’s troops had 37 attempts on goal. With Sevilla conceding the most shots in the Spanish top-flight this term, Real could cut loose if they’re in the mood.
The visitors are the only side in Europe’s top-five leagues, along with Serie A’s rock-bottom club Hellas Verona, to fail to record three points on their travels (W0-D9-L5) and Los Rojiblancos were involved in Europa League action on Thursday night for the past fortnight. Will they be in peak condition? That’s questionable.
Unai Emery’s men have been beaten in each of their last eight away days at Barcelona or Real Madrid and whilst I expect that record to reach nine by Sunday’s conclusion, there’s better value ways of getting the hosts onside.
A Madrid win and Both Teams To Score is available at 23/20 and appeals with the hosts having recorded just three clean sheets in 21 La Liga outings.
Meanwhile, 18/34 (53%) of their Bernebeu league fixtures since the start of last season have featured both sides scoring as the capital club have churned out W28-D3-L3.
Since Emery took charge of Sevilla, Los Rojiblancos have W3-D1-L9 when taking on the big-two – losing all seven as guests. And all 13 of those fixtures have overcome the Over 2.5 Goals hurdle with 8/13 (61%) also featuring at least four goals. The Both Teams To Score selection has banked in all 13.
Real Madrid to win and Both Teams To Score (23/20)
AC Milan v Lazio, Sunday 20th March 2016, 19.45, BT Sport Europe
Milan haven’t lost at home to Lazio since 1989 – a run of W15-D10-L0 – and I’m more than happy to wager that the Rossoneri can extend that excellent streak with a victory on Sunday night, at even-money.
Sinisa Mihajlović’s reign has courted unfair criticism in recent weeks, particularly after Milan’s failure to score in a defeat by Sassuolo and then a draw against Chievo in their last outings. However, the Italian giants haven’t fired blanks in three successive league games since 2001 and I don’t expect them to do so here against a weary Lazio side.
The Romans were humiliated on Thursday night in the Europa League, falling to a 3-0 loss at home to Sparta Prague. Europe had proved the Biancocelesti’s salvation in a horridly below-par campaign but now Stefano Pioli’s injury-ravaged group are out, there’s little left to play for.
Pioli’s under huge pressure from the Lazio hierarchy. The side have impressed in patches but their only league success in four came against bang out-of-form Atalanta and although they’ve suffered just a solitary defeat in seven as guests, five of those matches have ended all square.
The Biancocelesti tend to struggle at the leading lights, too. Across Lazio’s last 18 visits to top-six clubs, they’ve been beaten in 11. A 12th reverse on Sunday night could well spell the end for Pioli.
Even-money quotes seem kind for a Milan side that’s bagged 11 victories from their past 16 at San Siro, as well as six W-W double results in eight when hosting top-half visitors.
And since losing 1-0 here to Bologna on the 6th January, the Rossoneri have played W6-D1-L0, conceding on only three occasions.
Indeed, Mihajlović’s men have shipped no more than one goal in each of their last 11 as hosts and since the start of last season, Milan have won 18/33 (55%) of their home Serie A fixtures; their push for a European place should be given a handy help here with another San Siro success on the cards.
AC Milan to win (Evens)
PSG v Monaco, Sunday 20th March 2016, 20.00, BT Sport 2
Four goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped Paris Saint-Germain to clinch their fourth successive Ligue 1 title with a rampant 9-0 rout of Troyes, thus becoming the first team to win the championship after 30 matches.
Ibrahimovic’s sensational nine-minute hat-trick followed first-half goals from Edinson Cavani, Javier Pastore and Adrien Rabiot. Following the interval Matthieu Saunier scored an own-goal while Cavani and Ibrahimovic also added late efforts.
PSG moved up to 77 points, 25 clear of Sunday’s visitors Monaco, winning the league with eight games to play. The championship is the sixth in the club’s history and the fastest-ever Ligue 1 victory, breaking the record set by Gérard Houllier’s Lyon in 2007, who won the title after 33 matches.
The capital club have taken top honours and look heavy favourites to clinch both the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue trophies too. With a Champions League quarter-final also booked in, Laurent Blanc’s boys are well on course to enjoy another hugely successful season.
With the international break on the horizon and PSG’s schedule easing, the squad will be keen to give their home supporters a decent show on Sunday before jetting off across the planet for national team duty.
Les Rouge-et-Bleu have W27-D7-L0 at the Parc des Princes in Ligue 1 action and this season they’ve shipped just nine goals as hosts. With each of their last eight top-six visitors downed and 16 of their past 20 guests put away in the W-W double result market, Les Parisiens could comfortably swat Monaco aside, if they wished.
However, I’m just not won over by the Asian Handicap market and a -1.5 hurdle, especially when you delve into PSG’s recent record against the principality club.
Blanc’s boys have returned W1-D8-L3 in their last 12 Ligue 1 duels with Monaco – six of the last seven ending all square. And surprisingly, Les Rouge-et-Bleu have failed to record a three-pointer in six (W0-D5-L1 when welcoming their southern counterparts to the Parc des Princes.
Monaco have managed to net in 12 of their past 14 trips to the capital and I’d much rather be cheering on an Over 2.5 Goals punt at 1.96 for this Le Cashico contest.
Les Rouges et Blancs have W8-D8-L1 in their last 17 – more recently that record reads W3-D4-L0 – and on their travels, Leonardo Jardim’s troops have W2-D5-L1. But results don’t always tell the full story.
Monaco hold a five-point advantage over third-placed Nice but they’ve loosened up in recent weeks and looked vulnerable at the back. With four goals conceded in their past two encounters and an attack that’s more individualistic than team-orientated, I’m not even convinced the visitors finish in the top-two.
On Sunday, Les Rouges et Blancs will be without playmaker Bernardo Silva or forward Nabil Dirar but I wouldn’t want to oppose them from scoring; they’ve done so in eight of their last 10 and still rank as third in Ligue 1’s sharpest shooters list.
Since Jardim arrived, 16/34 (47%) of Monaco’s road trips have featured Over 2.5 Goals winners, with 17 producing winning Both Teams To Score selections as the away side have only fired blanks on five occasions.
PSG have been involved in 33/52 (63%) home Ligue 1 games that have broken the two-goal barrier during Blanc’s reign, so with an average percentage success rate around 55% and implied odds of 1.80, I’ll take the value goals option on offer.
PSG To Win and Both Teams To Score (5/2)
*Prices correct at time of publication