Spanish Primera Division
Atletico Madrid 1-2 Barcelona (Sunday 3.15pm)
Our headline game of the weekend started off with such promise for our suggestion, as Atletico came out of the blocks quickly and demonstrated good control of the contest until past the half hour mark. Here fatigue from their midweek excursions in Europe began to play a part, though, as Barcelona wrestled back the ball and were largely the better side until they opened the scoring through Rafinha after the hour. This was the signal for the intensity of the game to climb again quite dramatically, with Godin (who else?) scoring on his return to make it 1-1 before Messi (who else!?) won it for the visitors.
All-in-all Barcelona did enough to deserve the narrow victory, with Atletico running out of steam and failing to capitalise on the momentum generated by their equaliser. This was not Barcelona at their absolute best but they showed a clinical edge when it mattered and belied the negative press to take a pretty enormous win. They sit within just one point of Real now, although Sevilla have recovered form and continue to be a pest even this late in the season. It would still take a brave man to oppose Ronaldo and company, however.
Suggestion: Atletico Madrid +0.25 @ 1.82
Actual Outcome: 1-2 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 1-2 (-1)
Italian Serie A
Internazionale 1-3 Roma (Sunday 7.45pm)
Roma cemented their status in the top three with a completely deserved win over Inter, although the final score of 1-3 was a little bit on the flattering side and callously gave us a double loss. This was a game decided by the early goal from Nainggolan, which came after 12 minutes. From that moment things looked pretty bleak, with recent Serie A statistics showing that when a home team goes 0-1 down in the twenty minute time band there is only around a 40% chance of the game going 1-1 and only around a 35% chance of it staying under 2.5 goals (many thanks to SOTDOC for the numbers!)
In the end this one fell into the ~40% of games that end up with over 3.5 goals, as Icardi gave Inter some brief late hope before Perotti played the role of super sub and sealed the deal from the bench for Roma. Inter deserved nothing but their outside chance of a top three finish lingers on thanks to Napoli’s surprise home loss to Atalanta.
Suggestion: Internazionale DNB @1.87 and Under 3 @ 1.80
Actual Outcome: 1-3 (-2)
Fair Outcome: 1-2 (-1)
French Ligue 1
Olympique Marseille 1-5 PSG (Sunday 8pm)
Interestingly we as a company ended up with a decent position on PSG by the time kick-off arrived and it was known that Sanson was joining Gomis on the sidelines for Marseille. PSG recovering Thiago Silva for definite was also big news, which brought the visitors into play and also removed any temptation we had for an Under 2.75 trade. In the end this turned into a procession, with the early goal from Marquinhos knocking the stuffing out of Marseille.
The attitude of the hosts was very concerning and though they did manage to draw back to 1-4 with twenty minutes left, Matuidi promptly added a fifth for PSG to extinguish any semblance of an insane comeback. These sorts of results are what make PSG so frustrating this season, as they could be racking up huge wins every weekend if they were even half as motivated as they were here.
Actual Outcome: 1-5 (N/A)
Fair Outcome: 0-3 (N/A)
Feyenoord 2-1 PSV (Sunday 1.30pm)
The narrative is that Feyenoord won this huge game in the Eredivisie by “millimetres” and with thanks to goal line technology, but our Analyst Fair Score believed the hosts to be fully deserving of the 2-1 that effectively removes PSV from the title equation. We thought being able to get Feyenoord at DNB looked like good value and they were never really in a position where the handicap looked in danger, being pegged back to 1-1 after leading early and then grabbing the late winner. This was a typically high quality contest between two of the Netherlands’ very best and with Ajax easily overcoming Heracles it leaves us with a two-horse race for the remainder of the season. Feyenoord haven’t won the league since 1998/99…
Suggestion: Feyenoord DNB @ 1.80
Actual Outcome: 2-1 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 2-1 (+1)
Spanish Primera Division
Villarreal 2-3 Real Madrid (Sunday 7.45pm)
We kept out of this one and given the way it unfolded we didn’t feel at all bad about that decision, with Villarreal getting into a superb position at 2-0 just before the hour and being overcome by Real’s attacking power late on. It is always difficult for teams to withstand such constant attacking threat for an entire game, especially when a team like Real end up with nothing to lose, but there is no way Villarreal deserved to leave empty-handed. On paper they still look unconvincing to us overall, but they keep churning out performances in big domestic games.
Actual Outcome: 2-3 (N/A)
Fair Outcome: 2-2 (N/A)
Ones to Watch
English Premier League
Leicester City 3-1 Liverpool (Monday 8pm)
The big story here is how Leicester’s players suddenly became committed again once Ranieri was gone, which is something we did not manage to successfully predict, although it seems we weren’t alone in that! Liverpool were terrible and played into Leicester’s hands, meaning we should have stayed out of this.
Suggestion: Liverpool -0.75 @ 1.80
Actual Score: 3-1 (-1)
Fair Score: 3-1 (-1)
Leeds United 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday (Saturday 12.30pm)
The home side won a potentially pivotal play-off battle with a controversial goal, with the contest being an extremely tight one played at a frenetic pace and with a lot of tension in the air. Wednesday do consistently poorly in these sorts of circumstances, but they deserved a draw here.
Suggestion: Sheffield Wednesday +0.25 @ 1.82
Actual Outcome: 1-0 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (+0.5)
Brighton & Hove Albion 3-0 Reading (Saturday 5.30pm)
Hughton’s side look the real deal and prepared perfectly for Tuesday night’s visit of Newcastle by effectively eliminating Reading from the automatic promotion race. The 3-0 score was completely deserved, making them look cheap off a line of -0.75 in front of their own fans, which is usually the case.
Suggestion: Brighton & Hove Albion -0.75 @ 1.91
Actual Outcome: 3-0 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 3-0 (+1)
Italian Serie A
Napoli 0-2 Atalanta (Saturday 5pm)
We thought Napoli’s upcoming semi-final against Juventus would be a distraction, and so it proved. Atalanta have been tremendous lately and while they did not deserve to win they easily deserved to beat the +1 handicap, which did not pay them enough respect pre-match. They remain in contention for Europe.
Suggestion: Atalanta +1 @ 1.92
Actual Outcome: 0-2 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (+1)
Turkish Super Lig
Galatasaray 0-1 Besiktas (Monday 5pm)
Another tight game at the top in Turkey ended in a narrow away win for Besiktas, who look sure to be crowned champions now. It took a deflected free kick to take the points and chance creation was largely even throughout, which meant that we probably didn’t deserve a full loss.
Suggestion: Galatasaray +0.25 @ 1.81
Actual Outcome: 0-1 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 0-0 (+0.5)
Total Actual Outcome: -3
Total Fair Outcome: +1