Mark O’Haire’s European Football Tips – Sunday

Don’t be fooled by early season league tables. Inter Milan had flattered in the early Serie A exchanges and were ruthlessly exposed by Fiorentina when leading the Italian top tier.

Inter Milan v Juventus, Sunday 17th October 2015, 19.45, BT Sport Europe
La Viola ran out 4-1 winners at the San Siro and Roberto Mancini’s men followed it up with a poor 1-1 draw at Sampdoria.

Inter’s winning spree was based on small margins falling their way – late goals, penalties, free-kicks all contributed – with four of their fives arriving by the same 1-0 scoreline. Inter have actually scored exactly one goal in six of their seven Serie A fixtures whilst their three home wins came against teams that finished 10th or lower last term.

When welcoming Italy’s elite in 2014/15, the Nerazzurri struggled. Inter W1-D2-L2 against top-five clubs in Milan – throw in their loss to Fiorentina this season and that record begins to look a little bleaker. Interestingly though, five of these six games featured Over 2.5 Goals, with Both Teams To Score banking in five.

Juventus travel to Turin for this Derby D’Italia date knowing they must start turning positive performances into results. T

he Old Lady have W3-D2-L0 in the last five head-to-heads against their old rivals and lost just one of their previous 11 showdowns with Inter.

Significantly, the most recent six have also proven profitable for BTTS hunters and that’s an angle worth exploring on Sunday night.

Despite their toils, Juve have won four of their last six and although Alvaro Morata, Paul Pogba and Martin Caceres picked up niggling injuries on international duty, Massimiliano Allegri’s troops are beginning to find their feet once more. Of course, the Bianconeri have made their worst start to a top-flight season since 1980 but they’re more than capable of churning out a result.

Last season Juventus W10-D6-L3 away from home with W2-D2-L1 at top-six rivals.This term they’ve already lost 2-1 at Napoli and Roma but being offered 10/11 on the visitors in the Draw No Bet market could well be made to look a little silly come 10pm Sunday night, I’ll get on.

But back to the goals angle, four of those seven away days at top-six sides resulted in Both Teams To Score winners and with the Old Lady keeping their sheets clean just once in 2015/16 and BTTS being a successful selection in five of their last six, it looks a handy option at 5/6.

Recommended Bets:
Juventus Draw No Bet @ 10/11
Both Teams To Score @ 5/6

Real Sociedad v Atletico Madrid, Sunday 17th October 2015, 15.00, Sky Sports 3
The excuses for David Moyes are fast running out. Handed all the tools he needs to make things work at Real Sociedad, results just aren’t working out in the Scots favour.

Before the international break, Sociedad were beaten 3-1 by Malaga – the same Malaga that had failed to score in their first six games. Strangely, La Real actually produced one of their better performances of the season but once again, sloppy defensive errors and wayward finishing left them pointless.

The San Sebastian club have just six points on the table and in his 34 matches in charge, Sunday’s hosts have W10-D13-L11 – that’s an average of 1.26 points-per-game – not good enough. Moyes’ boys have W7-D6-L3 at Anoeta but in 2015/16 that return reads W0-D2-L2. Again, not good enough.

Not since 2006 and the season La Real were relegated have they gone five without a win at their Basque home base and with Atletico Madrid arriving this weekend, I expect the record to be equalled. Atleti have W4-D1-L0 at Anoeta in recent years with Diego Simeone succeeding on three occasions at Anoeta.

In fact, the Mattress Makers have W7-D1-L2 in their last 10 with Sociedad and make the journey with only Luciano Vietto absent. The return of Koke to full fitness is a huge boost and although the visitors have to pick up maximum points against Villarreal, Benfica and Real Madrid in recent weeks, they have come out on top in 14 of their previous 20 at bottom-half dwellers.

Understandably some are pointing out flaws in Simeone’s side but as he put it himself, “We have new players and it is not easy to come here and get used to our systems. Thirteen points in seven weeks is not too bad. We have played Sevilla, Barcelona, Madrid, Villarreal, Eibar away”.

I’m happy to put my faith in the travellers getting the job done this weekend and intensifying the pressure on David Moyes. Atletico are surprisingly odds-against at 21/20 to collect a win and it might also be worth having a wee poke on the 13/5 on an Atleti win and Under 2.5 Goals.

Since Moyes arrived in Spain, Sociedad have recorded Under 2.5 Goals in 21/34 (62%) of La Liga games and in 9/16 (56%) at home. The visitors also average well over 50% in the same market since the start of last season.

Recommended Bet:
Atletico Madrid To Win @ 21/20
Atletico Madrid To Win and Under 2.5 Goals @ 13/5

Rennes v Nice, Sunday 17th October 2015, 20.00, BT Sport 1
One of my favourite bets this season has been to back Nice in the Both Teams To Score market. The French Riviera club have been a treasure trove for goal-hungry punters and before the international break they were level at 2-2 at half-time against shot-shy Nantes; however, torrential rain forced the abandonment of that match.

Still, there’s plenty of reason to go back in again for Sunday night’s trip to Rennes with 20/23 on offer for BTTS. The stats, trends and team news all stack up in our favour and I’ll attempt to summarise the best bits below.

Nice have scored 20 goals in their first eight fixtures – their best return since 1975 – and a huge 17 of those have come from open play. Claude Puel’s troops have won three on the spin, scoring at least three goals in each. The hosts boast the most prolific attack in the league (despite playing a game fewer following that abandonment) and have Hatem Ben Arfa in the form of his life – not since 2008/09 has he netted six goals or more at this stage.

Nampalys Mendy and Maxime Le Marchand were red carded in their last success and both will be suspended at Rennes. Without Mendy, their defensive shield, you do wonder if the Eagles have a chance to end a barren run of 14 top tier games without a clean sheet. Mendy’s only missed five matches since the start of 2013/14 and Nice have conceded 12 goals – double their rate with him in the team.

The Eagles have had defensive selection issues all season long and this weekend Puel will be forced to field third-choice goalkeeper Yoan Cardinale between the sticks. Striker Alassane Pléa remains sidelined but with Ben Arfa and Valère Germain still available to lead the offence, the visitors should continue to reward goal-hungry punters.

Rennes have proven just as fruitful. Les Rouges et Noirs have notched in all their Ligue 1 outings, a record only PSG can match, with Both Teams To Score proving profitable in all bar two of those nine encounters. Highly-rated Paul-Georges Ntep won’t feature but Giovanni Sio and Yacouba Sylla return from suspension to bolster Philippe Montanier’s men.

The hosts have W10-D5-L0 in their last 16 when welcoming Nice to Brittany and Rennes also approach this match with a W4-D4-L0 return from their first eight. Their past four have ended in 1-1 draws, mind. A repeat at Roazhon Park in front of the live cameras on Sunday night is a big runner.

With Rennes’ boasting their own excellent BTTS record, Nice have followed suit in 7/8 themselves this term, in 13/23 (57%) on the road since the start of last season as well as seeing Over 2.5 Goals collect in nine of their last 11 plus 16 of their previous 20 going further back. At almost even-money, it’s a steal.

Recommended Bet:
Both Teams To Score @ 20/23

*Prices correct at time of publication