Italian Serie A
Juventus 2-1 Napoli (Saturday 7.45pm)
The biggest game of the weekend was the one that we also had the best early read on, with our suggestion of a back of over 2.25 goals and Juventus -0.5 paying out handsomely. It always looked like a contest that would be decided by the odd goal and it was hard to have too much faith in a Napoli team without the on fire Milik, even though Juventus’ performances had been significantly below-par in recent weeks. Interestingly enough, however, our analyst fair score pegged this as a 1-1 and so perhaps we got away with it a little bit!
Of course it would be Higuain to get the winner after Jose Callejon had cancelled out Bonucci’s opener just four minutes after the defender found the net, with the Argentinian striker ensuring he took all of the headlines against his former employers. His goal came in the 70th minute and Juventus shut things down quite brilliantly from there, never allowing their visitors anything more than a poor chance (around 2% conversion) before the end. Ultimately they probably just about deserved to edge it thanks to this and they are already beginning to look unassailable at the top of Serie A.
English Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Leicester City (Saturday 3pm)
This looked much more like the Leicester of old, with Ranieri’s side seemingly in big trouble after Tottenham got the first goal but regrouping well at half time to come back and take a deserved draw. Conceding first has been a death knell for the champions in this campaign, but the fact that the goal came just before the break proved to be a blessing. The absolute key here was the return of Leicester’s defensive efficiency, with Spurs having plenty of possession and key entries but only being allowed one very good chance.
Last year’s title win was built upon this sort of resolute gameplan, though there were some elements of luck involved in this result as Vertonghen hit the bar late and Spurs had another penalty appeal wrongly ignored. On another day the over 2.5 goals recommendation could have come in quite easily, while we feel that leaving the handicap well alone was still the correct call in the circumstances. Leicester still need a few more of these days metrics-wise before we’ll be convinced!
English Premier League
Southampton 0-2 Chelsea (Sunday 4pm)
Chelsea produced their most complete performance of the season to date in earning this deserved win over in-form Southampton, ensuring that the hosts lost against the Asian Handicap for the first time in six matches. This was also a fourth clean sheet in a row for Conte’s side, with the Italian visibly delighted with the attitude and effort displayed by his players throughout the game.
It certainly seems like all of the big names have bought into his approach now, which is a little bit surprising given his disagreement with Diego Costa just last weekend. The under 2.5 line had jumped off the page at us pre-game, though we were somewhat perturbed by the fact that the Blues had regularly been shipping and scoring with more frequency than expected. However, it does now seem that their performances will now return to the sort of consistency levels displayed under peak Mourinho.
German Bundesliga 1
Hoffenheim 1-0 Hertha BSC (Sunday 2.30pm)
Hoffenheim were unfortunate not to win this game by more, having created a total of 23 chances to 5 over the course of the ninety minutes. For whatever reason third-placed Hertha just did not turn up, with the visitors thankful to their goalkeeper Jarstein for keeping them within touching distance. The first goal proved to be the key, with Hoffenheim visibly growing in confidence and continuing to pile on the pressure as Hertha wilted. That moment meant that our over 2.5 goals suggestion looked relatively sensible, but also that our lean towards the visitors on the handicap was ill judged. Ultimately this was a home win on the Asian line and an unders game, but Hertha could not have felt aggrieved by a 3-0 loss.
French Ligue 1
Saint-Etienne 1-1 Monaco (Saturday 7pm)
With the score 1-1 after 18 minutes we looked to be flying to a win on our recommendation of over 2.25, but Saint-Etienne’s equaliser took the sting out of things by resetting the game state to 0. From then on there was too much possession-based play and patience on show, with just one great chance to show between the sides by the end. Prior to this one Monaco had been over the natural goals line in 9/10 fixtures, but coming up against stubborn opposition who were happy with a point at home made for a half loss on the overs.
Ones to Watch
Feyenoord 2-2 Heerenveen (Sunday 3.30pm)
Both teams kept their unbeaten run going, but after five great chances Feyenoord will be wondering how they didn’t win.
Brighton & Hove Albion 5-0 Norwich City (Saturday 3pm)
Brighton were deserved favourites, though it was nowhere near being as close as we had expected and 5-0 flattered somewhat.
Aberdeen 0-1 Celtic (Saturday 12pm)
The league leaders overcame very difficult opposition in professional style, withstanding a lot of late pressure and deserving the 0-1.
Swiss Super League
Grasshopper 0-2 Basel (Saturday 7pm)
Even with numerous players back available this looked a big ask for Grasshopper, and so it proved as Basel cruised.
Austria Wien 2-0 Sturm Graz (Sunday 3.30pm)
The hosts displayed a greater cutting edge in the last third, winning their fourth in a row against the leaders.