Mark O’Haire’s European Football Tips – Sunday

It’s crunch time for Sevilla and Valencia. Having enjoyed excellent campaigns last season, two of La Liga’s big guns are struggling for form, performance-levels and consistency.

Sevilla v Valencia, Sunday 29th November 2015 19.30, Sky Sports 3
The duo lock horns on Sunday with defeat possibly resulting in the removal of the head coach of the unlucky loser; it’s that bleak.

Sevilla were involved in a 4-2 loss at Borussia Monchengladbach in midweek – a reverse that signalled the end of their European adventure for 2015/16. It’s been a deeply disappointing campaign for Unai Emery, who had guided the Andalusians to back-to-back Europa League titles and rejected the overtures of Milan in the summer to kick the club on.

Los Rojiblancos weren’t as bad as the scoreline suggested at Gladbach and although they were out-shot and out-fought, on another day Sevilla could have easily sneaked a win and notched a few more goals. There was enough verve, promise and intent to believe they’ll turn the corner.

Five defeats in seven certainly doesn’t look too good on Emery but four of those came on their travels and the hosts do boast a fearsome record at their Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan home during domestic action. Across the past two La Liga campaigns, Sevilla have W17-D5-L3 in front of their home supporters.

Since Celta Vigo and Atletico Madrid departed with maximum points in the early stages of this season, Sevilla have beaten both Barcelona and Real Madrid and scored 13 goals across their last four when welcoming La Liga opposition.

The home side hold a 68% win ratio at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan since the start of last season and with that in mind, I’m keen to get involved on a play involving a home win.

Sevilla are 4/5 in the Match Odds market but lets be brave and chuck Over 2.5 Goals into a mix for a 31/20 poke. After all, Sevilla’s league fixtures have seen three or more goals in 15/25 (60%) at HQ, including their most recent eight.

Like their hosts, Valencia do their best work on home soil and across the same sample, Los Che have W9-D7-L7 in league action. It’s three La Liga losses in four on their travels and although the 5-1 victory at Celta stands out, that game was most definitely an anomaly with Vigo dominating proceedings for large swathes.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s under huge pressure to turn Valencia’s form around but the Bats are struggling with injuries and suspensions. Key defender Shkodran Mustafi is missing once more and following abject showings against Las Palmas, Zenit and Gent in recent weeks, the Portuguese head coach looks unlikely to stem the bleeding on Sunday night.

Sevilla have scored at least twice in 10 of their last 12 and a repeat of their rampant home ways could see Nuno out of work come Monday morning.

Recommended Bet:
Sevilla to win and Over 2.5 Goals @ 31/20

Bayer Leverkusen v Schalke, Sunday 29th November 2015 16.30, BT Sport Europe
The Bundesliga consistently boasts the highest goals-per-game ratio across Europe’s five major leagues and in 2015/16 only 28/117 (24%) of fixtures have seen fewer than two goals. Across all games, the average goals-per-game figure is currently standing out 2.87 and the forecast for another goal-heavy game seems to have been underestimated slightly here.

Bayer Leverkusen were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw at BATE Borisov in midweek – the eighth occasion in 10 Roger Schmidt’s side have failed to record maximum points.

But Die Werkself have been popular and profitable in the goals markets. That Champions League stalemate represented the ninth game of that 10-fixture streak to feature both sides scoring with the average goals across all matches a huge 3.70.

Despite all six of their Bundesliga matches at the BayArena coming against bottom-half dwellers, Leverkusen have kept a solitary clean sheet (W3-D1-L2) and are unlikely to be able to keep out a Schalke side that’s scored in all bar one of their away days.

The Royal Blues are in their own mini-rut but caused Bayern Munich plenty of problems in Gelsenkirchen during their most recent Bundesliga outing. But having conceded at least three goals in four of their five domestic trips to top-five clubs under Andre Breitenreiter, getting a result on Sunday looks a tall order.

Schalke have lost 13/23 (57%) of their away domestic fixtures since the start of last season whilst Leverkusen have won 13/23 (57%) home ties in the same sample. Should we combine the two records and throw the BTTS angle into the equation, Bayer look well worth an interest at 11/5 on Sunday.

Recommended Bet:
Bayer Leverkusen to win and Both Teams To Score @ 11/5

Marseille v Monaco, Sunday 29th November 2015 20.00, BT Sport 2
A rather tame Derby de la Côte d’Azur to conclude the weekend’s action from Ligue 1. Unlike fixtures of a similar nature, there’s little loathing between the two south-coast neighbours and so fireworks will be kept to a minimum at Stade Velodrome.

After a difficult start and untimely departure of Marcelo Bielsa, Marseille finally appear to be finding their feet. Les Phoceens have pocketed victories in four of their last five under Michel before their Europa League tie against Groningen on Thursday and are now just six points off fourth. Baby steps.

Impressively, the majority of performance data used to evaluate clubs is also shining bright on Marseille. L’OM have fired in more shots-on-target than all of their Ligue 1 rivals bar PSG and Lyon, for example. But their Velodrome form (W2-D2-L3) in 2015/16 is enough to shy away from backing the hosts.

Instead, I prefer a play on Both Teams To Score at a chunky 10/11. Michel’s men have seen the BTTS bet win in 4/7 in front of their home supporters this season but since the start of 2014/15, it’s had a success rate of 15/26 (58%) when Marseille have welcomed domestic opposition.

Caen and Nice both shutout the hosts this campaign but with Monaco facing more shots-on-target than all bar three teams this term, it would be a surprise if Leonardo Jardim’s group could repeat the feat.

The guests kept 11 clean sheets on the road in league action last season but have managed just two this time around.

Les Rouges et Blancs have figured prominently in the BTTS market with 5/7 trips proving successful in our chosen market and 13/26 (50%) since the start of last season – not bad when taking into account their excellent clean sheet record from last year.

Putting the two teams’ trends from their past 26 respective home/away games together, we’re right to assume the Both Teams To Score bet has a 54% chance of winning on Sunday night. In betting terms, that percentage chance equates to a 17/20 shot, making the 10/11 decent value.

Recommended Bet:
Both Teams To Score @ 10/11