Mark O’Haire’s European Football Tips – Sunday
With the Clasico taking place on Saturday evening, Atletico Madrid know their fixture at Real Betis represents a fantastic chance to capitalise on points dropped by either of their two title rivals.
Real Betis v Atletico Madrid, Sunday 22 November 2015 (19.30), Sky Sports 1
And Diego Simeone’s charges will be confident of claiming maximum points despite disappointing draws against the likes of Astana and Deportivo in recent weeks. The Mattress Makers are unbeaten in seven matches in all competitions and in league action have won three of their last four.
On the road Los Colchoneros have returned W6-D6-L0 in league action and victories in six of their last nine at promoted clubs should stand the high-class travellers in good stead. Sure, Atleti haven’t been their commanding selves too often in the past month but they still possess dominating qualities.
The Mattress Makers have leaked just six goals in Spain’s top-flight and have already accumulated 10 clean sheets across all outings. Atletico have conceded the fewest shots-on-target in La Liga and should enjoy enough openings to pinch a goal or two.
In contrast, Betis have attempted the fewest efforts on target this term and although Pepe Mel’s side have scored a goal in every one of their games at the Estadio Benito Villamarin, they have lost their last three in front of their adoring home supporters.
The Greens have enjoyed the second-best points tally on their travels but have struggled against the leading lights. The hosts have notched in all bar two of their matches since promotion but drawn blanks when facing both Real Madrid and Valencia.
Rather than take the 8/13 on Atletico to win, throw in Under 3.5 Goals to the equation and the odds are boosted to 23/20.
As we all know, Simeone’s side rarely venture above the Over 2.5 Goals line but selecting Under 3.5 protects our punt against a 2-1 away victory.
Atletico Madrid to win and Under 3.5 Goals (23/20)
Ingolstadt v Darmstadt, Sunday 22 November (16.30), BT Sport 1
The Bundesliga’s newly-promoted duo clash on Sunday afternoon and *spoiler alert* it’s not going to be exciting, pretty or enthralling. Don’t tune in!
Ingolstadt have W4-D4-L4 this term to sit above their visitors each matchday since promotion but their 2-0 win over Frankfurt five fixtures ago is their only success in seven as Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side’s bright start has started to turn a little sour.
The hosts are the league’s lowest scorers with seven – no player has netted more than once – with FCI being shut out on six occasions already. Ingolstadt have scored just twice in their five home games and neither of these came before the 78th minute.
Conversely, Die Schanzer have conceded just nine goals in 12 and so have the second-best defensive record in the league, behind only the imperious Bayern Munich. Not bad, eh?
Roger’s return from suspension will aid FCI’s defensive shape but Matthew Leckie’s ban means their attacking potential is blunted once more. So a low-scoring tie looks highly likely when considering all bar one of Ingolstadt’s matches have fallen below the 2.5 line with eight having fewer than two goals.
Darmstadt have managed a sole victory in six (against rock bottom Augsburg) and Dirk Schuster’s travellers are without leading marksman Sandro Wagner.
Their previous four have also featured Under 2.5 Goals, as have all bar one of their five on their travels.
These two clubs have posted the worst passing accuracy and lowest possession stats in the league and I’m happy taking Under 1.5 Goals at 7/4.
Under 1.5 Goals (7/4)
St Etienne v Marseille, Sunday 22 November (20.00), BT Sport 1
Marseille are worth supporting in the Draw No Bet market on Sunday night as they visit St Etienne.
Michel’s men are 11/10 and that holds plenty of appeal considering the state of play these two clubs arrive in.
Sainte might hold a seven-point advantage over Marseille but their devastating 3-0 derby defeat to Lyon before the international break came at a heavy cost. Key men Fabien Lemoine, Robert Berić and Florentin Pogba were unable to finish that fixture and are out of this weekend’s match whilst captain Loic Perrin is the hosts’ last senior centre-back available.
The visitors are close to full strength with only left-back Benjamin Mendy missing from their best XI as centre-back Nicolas Nkoulou and playmaker Remi Cabella return from suspension and winger Romain Alessandrini recovered from injury having missed Marseille’s 1-0 home defeat to Nice a fortnight ago.
L’OM are just starting to find their feet under their Portuguese boss having recorded back-to-back road wins and with only one reverse in 15 against Sainte, recent head-to-head records suggest they’re well capable of avoiding defeat.
Les Verts have bagged 10 wins from their past 12 as hosts and kept clean sheets in eight of their last 12 when welcoming Ligue 1 opposition but form and trends are worth ignoring this time around with team news looking a much stronger case to follow.
Marseille draw no bet (11/10)
*Prices correct at time of publication.