Weekend Review – 13/12/16

Highlights

Italian Serie A
Roma 1-0 Milan (Monday 8pm)
These two teams were joint-second in Serie A before kick-off, but a narrow and slightly unmerited win for Roma means that they now have three points of daylight back to I Rossoneri. Ahead of this one we thought that the -1 Asian Handicap on the hosts looked wide, but that the Total Goals line of 3 was fairly pitched based on the teams recent performances when home and away, respectively. In truth the first observation proved to be more accurate than the latter, though the goals line could have been under threat had Niang scored from the spot in the 26th minute.

Szczesny denied him after giving away the penalty in the first place, but even factoring this in the final xGoals values for both teams by full time were just 0.74 versus 0.72. Roma’s goal came from a poor chance and owed something to sloppy goalkeeping by Donnarumma, but the home side held out well after taking the lead and gave next to nothing away in the latter stages. Ultimately it is tough to justify a 1-0, with 0-0 or 1-1 more Fair Scores based on the very balanced nature of the play and the number of chances created.

Recommendation: N/A
Actual Outcome: N/A (1-0)
Fair Outcome: N/A (0-0)

English Premier League
Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur (Sunday 2.15pm)
Jose Mourinho clawed back three points on Tottenham in what felt like a pivotal win for the Portuguese manager at Old Trafford. He again saw his side create many more chances than they were able to score, but this time the opposition had a below-par afternoon and did not punish his players for their profligacy. Tottenham were surprisingly open given that their first choice back four was intact again, perhaps pointing to Dier’s importance as a screen in front of the them.

In the end the xGoals values for each team were 1.46 to 0.80, showing that United were deserved victors. This means that our recommendation of Spurs +0.25 was way off in actuality, though we were a little hard done by with the game not at least reaching two goals for a half-loss on the Over 2.25 call. We even got the relatively early one that we were looking for, but Tottenham’s best and only significant chance came from a set piece when Wanyama made a mess of a headed opportunity from Eriksen’s free-kick.

Recommendation: Tottenham Hotspur +0.25 and Over 2.25
Actual Outcome: -2 (1-0)
Fair Outcome: -1.5 (2-0)

French Ligue 1
PSG 2-2 Nice (Sunday 7.45pm)
A performance of supreme attacking efficiency saw Nice grab an unlikely 2-2 draw at PSG, comfortably beating the market line of +1.5 and giving us a solid win on our recommendation. However, the analyst covering this contest gave it a Fair Score of 3-1 because PSG created chances in every segment of the match, ending up with an xGoals number of 2.89 versus Nice’s 0.45. This is one that went our way and it’s rare to see such a swing on the Fair Score.

Edinson Cavani was front and centre for the hosts again here, scoring a brace but being guilty of numerous poor misses that could have given his team the comfortable victory that they deserved. It’s becoming cliché to criticise the Uruguayan’s finishing at this stage, but in such a strong team playing in such a weak league he should be much, much more decisive than he is.

Recommendation: Nice +1.5
Actual Outcome: +1 (2-2)
Fair Outcome: -1 (3-1)

Portuguese Primeira Liga
Benfica 2-1 Sporting CP (Sunday 6pm)
If we got away with the Nice recommendation then we had just been punished immediately before that one, with Benfica beating Sporting 2-1 despite the visitors having the better chances throughout the game. Indeed, Benfica’s xGoals was just 1.68 compared to Sporting’s 3.30, though the away side were trailing for over 65 minutes and so would naturally be expected to be pressurising and creating. The analyst adjusted for this with a Fair Score of 2-2, which would have given us a half-win instead of a full loss, which is a hefty enough swing. Benfica have now strengthened their grip on top spot and look formidable, especially with key striker Jonas due back imminently having played just 89 minutes of league football so far this season.

Recommendation: Sporting CP +0.25
Actual Outcome: -1 (2-1)
Fair Outcome: +0.5 (2-2)

English Premier League
Leicester City 4-2 Manchester City (Saturday 5.30pm)
Jamie Vardy and company reminded everyone of their explosive counter-attacking power in this one, ripping through a porous Man City backline to take a 3-0 lead by the 21st minute and never looking back from that point on. The visitors showed a lack of respect to the Champions in the circumstances, where they were significantly weakened at both ends due to team news, and were punished. We just ended up going with the Over 2.75 line in the end, which was never much in doubt, but we did not have enough conviction in our lean towards the hosts at +1.

Recommendation: Over 2.75
Actual Outcome: +1 (4-2)
Fair Outcome: +1 (3-2)

Ones to Watch

Italian Serie A
Torino 1-3 Juventus (Sunday 2pm)
Juventus survived a wobble to continue their imperious record in the Turin Derby, though the final score flattered them ever so slightly. There is no doubt that the Old Lady deserved to win after reacting well to going behind, but on total chances 1-2 was a more reasonable outcome here.

Recommendation: Over 2.25
Actual Outcome: +1 (1-3)
Fair Outcome: +1 (1-2)

German Bundesliga 2
Stuttgart 1-2 Hannover 96 (Monday 7.15pm)
An excellent contest between the two best sides in Bundesliga 2 ended with a justifiable narrow win for Hannover, who comfortably beat the handicap of +0.5 to provide a solid win for our recommendation. After this, we remain steadfast in our belief that they will be crowned champions come May.

Recommendation: Hannover 96 +0.5
Actual Outcome: +1 (1-2)
Fair Outcome: +1 (1-2)

English Championship
Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0 Leeds United (Friday 7.45pm)
It took two penalties to earn us a push here, but this was a comfortably fair win for Brighton. Leeds suffered badly from the early red card and penalty decision, creating just a solitary chance thereafter, while Brighton were professional enough to see out the job at the other end.

Recommendation: Over 2
Actual Outcome: 0 (2-0)
Fair Outcome: 0 (2-0)

Spanish Primera Division
Villarreal 3-0 Atletico Madrid (Monday 7.45pm)

This was a clear loss for our DNB recommendation, with Atletico suffering from some very uncharacteristic defensive errors and then struggling to attack cohesively enough to make a comeback. 3-0 was a bit of an unfair picture in the end, but there was no doubt that Villarreal deserved the win.

Recommendation: Atletico Madrid DNB
Actual Outcome: -1 (3-0)
Fair Outcome: -1 (2-1)

Austrian Bundesliga
Sturm Graz 0-1 Salzburg (Sunday 3.30pm)
A stop-start contest with a lot of bad blood ended up with a deserved victory for Salzburg, despite them playing the last 20 minutes with ten men. Our Over 2.5 pick did not come in on the actual score, but the game had enough chances to have beaten the line.

Recommendation: Over 2.5
Actual Outcome: -1 (0-1)
Fair Outcome: +1 (1-2)

10 Recommendations
Total Actual Outcome: -1
Total Fair Outcome: +1

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