English Premier League
Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United (Monday 8pm)
Every time you bet against Jose Mourinho, he reminds you why he has been winning big matches at big clubs for years and years now. As soon as the team news was released last night it was clear what to expect from Man Utd, as the visiting manager gambled on a compact approach from open play and looked to try and do some damage from set pieces with his array of aerial weapons. He didn’t get the 0-1 that he was looking for, but in the end his side were good value for the point and the clean sheet.
The biggest surprise from the game was that United were able to equal Liverpool’s intensity, with Mourinho clearly having done a brilliant job of motivating his players pre-match. The hosts were left ruing the decision to use Lallana from the bench instead of from the start, though Klopp would probably have preferred to not use him at all. In the end this was another “big game” that gave ammunition to those who religiously back the draw in such circumstances, and it was clear as soon as an early goal didn’t go in that under 2.75 was the bet to be on.
English Premier League
Chelsea 3-0 Leicester City (Saturday 12.30pm)
The market was rightfully fearful of another Leicester collapse here, as they again conceded early from a corner and then failed to reorganise quickly enough to deal with Chelsea’s weapons from open play. The Champions have some serious problems this season and Kante’s imperious performance in the blue shirt of their hosts was a timely reminder of part of what they are missing. Amartey is nowhere near as aggressive or intelligent as the French international, while his replacement Mendy has picked up a fresh injury.
Ranieri showed where his priorities lie with the benching of Mahrez and Slimani ahead of an upcoming Champions League match, but he was let down by the performances of both Musa and Schlupp. We’ll hold our hands up and say we got this one wrong as well, with the -1 handicap being comfortably beaten, though on the balance of chances created this was more a 2-0 than a 3-0. Safe to say that’s the last time we’ll be recommending Leicester in a league game against quality opposition for a while…
Italian Serie A
Napoli 1-3 Roma (Saturday 2pm)
Roma deservedly came out on top in another clash against Champions League rivals after their recent win over Inter, temporarily fixing their problems at the back and deploying a plan that worked nicely against a relatively toothless Napoli. Milik did indeed prove to be a big miss for the hosts, who we thought looked a little too heavily favoured on a -0.5 Asian Handicap line.
This win earns Roma some trust from us after we were sceptical that they could wave a magic wand to stop leaking chances, because despite Milik’s absence this was a Napoli side with an imperious recent home record. We always liked the look of over 2.75 here, though expected that the best opening goal to help us on the way to that would be a Napoli one. Ultimately a 1-2 or 1-3 scoreline looked the fairest result on the balance of play and chance totals.
German Bundesliga 1
Borussia Dortmund 1-1 Hertha BSC (Friday 7.30pm)
Some media outlets criticised Thomas Tuchel for his rotation policy in the wake of this result, obviously not realising that Borussia Dortmund were ravaged by injury heading into Friday night. In truth the home side created enough to have edged this one 2-1 by the end, which would have made for a win on the Asian Handicap and a push on the Total Goals line. However, our suggestion was that the brave back was Hertha +1.5 and under 3 goals, which thankfully proved to be a huge success in the end. The visitors’ solid defence and ability on the counter always looked a nice bet against an understrength Dortmund, while it was clear the market had also underestimated their recent form and current league placing.
French Ligue 1
Nice 2-0 Olympique Lyonnais (Friday 7.45pm)
A rare Balotelli penalty miss lost us our recommendation on the over 2.5 goal line, but in truth the game was a 2-0 any day of the week. Nice continue to defy the odds to lead Ligue 1 and are still unbeaten, building on their Ben Arfa inspired campaign last time out in great style. Lacazette not making the pitch from the start proved fatal for Lyon and the overs, with the team a shadow of their early-season selves when both he and Cornet are absent. This one really showed the importance of getting the line-ups correct in the Preview.
Ones to Watch
Melbourne Victory 1-4 Melbourne City (Saturday 9.50am)
Tim Cahill announced his return home with a scorcher and City ran riot from there. They’ll be tough to stop.
Huddersfield Town 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday (Sunday 12pm)
Huddersfield failed their first big home test of the season; with Wednesday’s three Great Chances meaning 0-1 was very fair.
German Bundesliga 2
Union Berlin 2-1 Hannover 96 (Sunday 12.30pm)
Union shaded it, despite the absence of their star striker. Our lean towards Hannover at DNB proved to be misjudged.
Norrkoping 1-2 Malmo FF (Sunday 2pm)
Malmo were full value for this win, deploying a clever counter-attacking approach that worked wonders against their out-of-form title rivals.
United States MLS
Montreal Impact 2-2 Toronto (Sunday 8pm)
Montreal came into this in better form, but in the end Toronto were somewhat unfortunate to leave without a win.