Weekend Review – 17/01/17

Highlights

English Premier League
Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool (Sunday 4pm)
We expected that we’d see a similar game here to what we saw from their first meeting this season and it did largely pan out that way, despite Liverpool taking a relatively early lead thanks to Milner’s penalty following Pogba’s madness. If the contest was as close as the one at Anfield, the difference was that Liverpool edged this, much like United had edged it when they were the away side. Despite their poor team news and the drift to -0.5 on United before kick-off when it emerged Matip, Coutinho and Sturridge weren’t starting, Liverpool’s game plan was much more effective.

Klopp was furious that his team weren’t able to take maximum points, but the performance must have heartened him considering the amount of firepower he was missing. Mourinho was forced to resort to route one football to recover a point, and though you have to applaud him for having the bravery to go so direct and for the ploy to work, it did not make for handsome viewing in one of the marquee games on the calendar. Our pick of Manchester United -0.25 never looked likely to come off, while we were a little fortunate to only lose half.

Recommendation: Manchester United -0.25 @ 1.91
Actual Outcome: -0.5 (1-1)
Fair Outcome: -0.5 (1-1)

Spanish Primera Division
Sevilla 2-1 Real Madrid (Sunday 7.45pm)
This loss was much harder to take, as Real surrendered a 0-1 lead in the last five minutes of normal time despite never conceding anything more than a great chance to Sevilla. Indeed, the hosts only came out of this with an xG value of 0.6, despite the fact that they were behind for a quarter of the contest, although Real were hardly a creative force themselves and ended with a final value of 0.88. Still, our Analyst Fair Score had the outcome as a 0-1 to Zidane’s men, which would have given us a full win on our -0.25 pick.

As it was we ended up with a loser from a game that was played at great pace in a brilliant atmosphere, although the one small positive is that it throws open the La Liga title race and entrenches Sevilla as deserving holders of second place. Still, we would have liked Zidane to have made more intelligent use of his bench to preserve the win, as he ended the game with two substitutes unused.

Recommendation: Real Madrid -0.25 @ 1.78
Actual Outcome: -1 (2-1)
Fair Outcome: +1 (0-1)

English Premier League
Everton 4-0 Manchester City (Sunday 1.30pm)
Two of Everton’s young guns took the headlines here, as Davies and Lookman added late gloss to an excellent win for Koeman’s side. Manchester City’s fall from grace continued, with Guardiola almost admitting that his side were now out of the title race in his post-match interview. Fernandinho continues to be a huge, huge miss and a midfield combination of Toure and Zabaleta is always going to struggle with the intensity of games like this, offering next to no protection to a shaky back four.

Our prediction of Over 2.5 goals came in relatively easily, though our Analyst Fair Score had the contest at a much closer 2-1 with the xG values for each team being 1.05 and 2.04 respectively when not taking game state into account. Whichever way you slice it, this was an “overs” contest, but we really missed a trick not backing Everton as decent underdogs pre-match.

Recommendation: Over 2.5 @ 1.85Actual Outcome: +1 (4-0)
Fair Outcome: +1 (2-1)

English Premier League
Leicester City 0-3 Chelsea (Saturday 5.30pm)
Our confidence in this call took a little hit when news of Diego Costa’s absence broke late the night before, but we were quick to remember the Bournemouth game where he was missing and Chelsea produced a slick and fluid performance to win 3-0. The same result was repeated here, with Alonso finally making the most of getting into so many scoring positions and almost grabbing a hat-trick, while Pedro continued his resurgence with another goal. All of this added up to give us a half return from our double stake, but based on the Analyst Fair Score we were unlucky to not take this one all the way to the bank. The xG value was 0.52 to 1.28, with Chelsea fully deserving winners (again).

Recommendation: Chelsea -0.75 @ 1.89 and Under 2.75 @ 1.82
Actual Outcome: +0.5 (0-3)
Fair Outcome: +2 (0-2)

French Ligue 1
Olympique Marseille 1-4 Monaco (Sunday 8pm)
No such redemption from the Analyst Fair Score in this one, where we quickly learned that you never go against Monaco, and if you do you certainly never combine that with a trade against unders! On paper this looked a huge test for them, with Marseille having the best recent form in the division and being unbeaten at home all season, but they again passed with flying colours and again they scored four goals. Ultimately they showed no sign of a hangover following the winter break and look set to push PSG all the way for the title this season.

Recommendation: Marseille +0.25 @ 1.89 and Under 2.75 @ 1.89
Actual Outcome: -2 (1-4)
Fair Outcome: -2 (2-3)

Ones to Watch

Spanish Primera Division
Granada 1-1 Osasuna (Sunday 5.30pm)
Osasuna got a rare point on the board and generally edged a tense contest, with our feeling that a -0.5 line in such a tight game being well founded. Osasuna’s final xG value was almost double that of Granada, but the Analyst Fair Score agreed with the Actual Score regardless.

Recommendation: Osasuna +0.5 @ 1.92
Actual Outcome: +1 (1-1)
Fair Outcome: +1 (1-1)

English Championship
Burton Albion 0-2 Wigan Athletic (Saturday 3pm)
This relegation battle had a much clearer outcome, with Wigan deserved winners and the 0-1 Analyst Fair Score probably showing we were right to keep out of the Asian Handicap trading. Even a solid-looking Under 2.5 trade would have had lots of risk, with the total xG value equalling 2.42.

Recommendation: N/A
Actual Outcome: N/A (0-2)
Fair Outcome: N/A (0-1)

Italian Serie A
Lazio 2-1 Atalanta (Sunday 2pm)
We ended up with a bigger position on Over 2.5 than Atalanta +0.5 here, once late team news was confirmed and our models had been readjusted. That one paid out on both the Actual and Fair Score, but Atalanta were deserved losers on both to give us a -1 here.

Recommendation: Atalanta +0.5 @ 1.96
Actual Outcome: -1 (2-1)
Fair Outcome: -1 (2-1)

Turkish Super League
Osmanlispor vs. Besiktas (Monday 4pm)
Besiktas’ early goal set them on the way to beating the handicap here, with Osmanlispor competing but never creating enough chances to seriously look like making a comeback. Besiktas kept finding gaps the later it got and ended up as deserved winners, though the final score was a bit flattering.

Recommendation: Osmanlispor +0.25 @ 1.89
Actual Outcome: -1 (0-2)
Fair Outcome: -1 (1-2)

Greek Super League
Panathinaikos 0-0 AEK Athens (Sunday 5.30pm)
This result summed up both teams’ seasons, as both failed to capitalise on Olympiakos dropping points. Panathinaikos pushed and pushed but were denied by a supreme goalkeeping performance from Barkas, meaning we ended up with a loss instead of the win we should have had on the Analyst Fair Score.

Recommendation: Panathinaikos -0.5 @ 1.87
Actual Outcome: -1 (0-0)
Fair Outcome: +1 (1-0)

11 Recommendations
Total Actual Outcome: -4
Total Fair Outcome: +1.5

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