Spanish Primera Division
Real Sociedad 0-1 Villarreal (Sunday 11am)
In what was a weekend of 1-0s for our Weekend Preview, it’s quite fitting that we begin with Villarreal’s last minute win in Sociedad. The visitors looked to be in a very bad spot psychologically before this encounter, but again produced a resilient away display that limited their opponents to having just a pair of high quality scoring opportunities. Willian Jose was missed a fair bit more than we expected, with Juanmi really struggling to fill his boots, and in the end our suggestion of a Sociedad win was the least fitting outcome to the contest.
This is not a game that will go down in the annals and was probably a poor choice for the number on highlight of a relatively low quality weekend of action around Europe, but Villarreal greatly enhanced their European claims and showed a superb mentality to bounce back from their humbling loss to Roma on Thursday. Despite making just ten key entries in the game they fashioned three Great Chances, showing excellent attacking efficiency and continually frustrating Sociedad’s weakened attack. The hosts ended up with two “0” rated players on the pitch, showing that depth could be an issue for them during the run-in.
Suggestion: Real Sociedad -0.5 @ 1.94
Actual Outcome: 0-1 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 1-2 (-1)
Italian Serie A
Milan 2-1 Fiorentina (Sunday 7.45pm)
We billed this one as being a floundering Milan hosting an inconsistent Fiorentina and it was the hosts who came out on top, though our Analyst Fair Score believed 1-1 to be a more accurate outcome based on the events of the contest. Both teams benefited from some poor officiating in the first half, with Milan’s opener coming about after a softly awarded free kick and with some question marks over Bacca being offside, while Fiorentina’s equaliser was definitely offside and the goal should not have stood.
These decisions were largely to thank for us ending up with a 0 return here thanks to winning the Over 2.5 suggestion and losing the Fiorentina +0.25 one, though ultimately we deserved to take a -0.5 on a 1-1. After restoring their narrow advantage Milan saw things out relatively comfortably as the away team ran out of ideas, missing their solitary Great Chance of the second half before the hour and never creating anything better than a “Fairly Good” thereafter. The trick here was to avoid the handicap.
Suggestion: Fiorentina +0.25 @ 2.04 and Over 2.5 @ 1.86
Actual Outcome: 2-1 (0)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (-0.5)
German Bundesliga 1
Hertha BSC 1-1 Bayern Munchen (Saturday 2.30pm)
The hosts belied their recent wobble in form to produce an excellent team performance that came so close to snatching all three points, substitute Lewandowski breaking their hearts with an equaliser from the last kick of the game. We had backed Bayern to continue the momentum from the demolition of Arsenal in the Champions League here but were caught out by their minor rotation, not liking the -1 nearly as much when we saw their number nine named on the bench.
Before the weekend Lewandowski had scored 42% of their goals on the road, had 47% of their significant chances and had made 16% of assists. Even for a club with as deep a squad as Bayern it is almost impossible to effectively replace someone with this kind of output, which we saw clearly on Saturday afternoon. Interestingly the market barely priced it, with Bayern -1 continually hovering around 1.78.
Suggestion: Bayern Munchen -1 @ 1.78
Actual Outcome: 1-1 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (-1)
Portuguese Primeira Liga
Sporting Braga 0-1 Benfica (Sunday 8.15pm)
We signed off the Weekend Preview analysis of this game by advising the bolder amongst you to go for the Under 2.5s in addition to the handicap, which was sound advice and actually proved to be the best bet to take when looking at both the Actual Outcome and Fair Outcome together. In actuality it seems that we got a little bit fortunate to take the win on the handicap, but an unders bet would have paid out deservedly. Benfica won it late with another crucial goal from Mitroglou and continue their charge to the title, while Braga continue to post heartening displays despite terrible team news. They deserved more here and should have enough to hold on to their customary fourth place this season.
Suggestion: Benfica -0.5 @ 1.75
Actual Outcome: 0-1 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (-1)
Ones to Watch
Newcastle United 2-0 Aston Villa (Monday 8pm)
The Juventus of the Championship did it again last night, producing another result out of a performance that could be described as being “measured” at best, and “awful” at worst. 2-0 flattered them a little, with Villa doing a great job of disrupting their play before conceding a sloppy opener.
Suggestion: Newcastle United -0.75 @ 1.84
Actual Outcome: 2-0 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 1-0 (+0.5)
Vitesse 0-1 Ajax (Sunday 1.30pm)
A Klaassen-inspired Ajax were fully deserving of a narrow victory here, with the midfielder scoring, seeing a penalty saved and crucially clearing a van Wolfswinkel header off the line just before half time. -0.5 on the visitors always looked a bit on the small side, but Vitesse worked them hard.
Suggestion: Ajax -0.5 @ 1.75
Actual Outcome: 0-1 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 1-2 (+1)
Twente 1-0 Heerenveen (Saturday 5.30pm)
We ended up being off the mark with this, but it was a game with enough chances to have had a couple more goals. In the end our Analyst Fair Score of 1-2 reflects the fact that Heerenveen had enough opportunities to have won and Twente’s penalty was incorrectly awarded.
Suggestion: Over 2.75 @ 1.89
Actual Outcome: 1-0 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 1-2 (+0.5)
Greek Super League
AEK Athens 1-0 Olympiakos (Sunday 5.30pm)
This one always looked like being a big ask for Olympiakos, sandwiched between a pair of Europa League ties. In a very tense derby affair between two sides desperate not to give anything away we saw an enormous 12 cards but the solitary and deserved goal fell to AEK.
Suggestion: AEK Athens DNB @ 1.88
Actual Outcome: 1-0 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 1-0 (+1)
Total Actual Outcome: +1
Total Fair Outcome: -0.5