Weekend Preview 03/03/17

Highlights

English Premier League
Liverpool vs. Arsenal (Saturday 5.30pm)
BT Sport 1
This weekend threw up another big decision in terms of our headline game, but it is impossible to ignore the lure of Liverpool versus Arsenal in the Premier League. This has been quite a happy hunting ground for Arsene Wenger in the past and the visiting manager comes to Anfield with his team in better form, but perhaps a little rusty after almost two weeks without a fixture. The effect of such a break was seen in Liverpool’s terrible performance at Leicester on Monday evening, though having captain Henderson ruled out through injury didn’t help them.

He looks set to miss out again here, though does have an outside chance of returning at the time of writing, which would make the team news even. Lovren should recover to start in a boost, while for Arsenal it seems like Xhaka will return to partner Coquelin in midfield and that Ozil will shake off illness to begin. Things look incredibly well matched to us, which makes it a surprise to see Arsenal available at +0.5 and the goal line of 2.75 is also appealing to use as a combination. This leaves 1-0 or 2-0 as the only outcomes that can kill us.

Suggestion: Arsenal +0.5 @ 1.86 and Over 2.75 @ 1.95 

Italian Serie A
Roma vs. Napoli (Saturday 2pm)
Bet365
This looks like it could be superb and ran Liverpool versus Arsenal very close to be named as our headline game. Roma are fresh off a huge away win over Internazionale last week, while Napoli surprisingly lost at home to Atalanta to mean both sides are coming into this from very different angles. In addition the home side have the benefit of not playing again until Thursday night in the Europa League, while Napoli have a huge game with Real Madrid on Tuesday and were also in action in midweek when controversially losing to Juventus in the Coppa Italia.

Both sides are at relative full strength, with Roma only missing Florenzi and Napoli only without Allen, meaning that things are very steady and a little easier to judge in terms of quality. Given all of the scheduling advantages and recent form, we have to back the hosts with the security of a half loss on the draw, and we are also tempted by Over 2.75 but not willing to buy at a price of 1.78.

Suggestion: Roma -0.25 @ 1.83

German Bundesliga 1
Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayer Leverkusen (Saturday 2.30pm)
Bet365
Both of these sides have fallen quite a way in 2016/17 but this regional derby is always competitive and there are external factors that could make it closer than it initially appears. Dortmund are currently priced at -1 pushing -1.25, which looks a bit wide at first glance, especially when their massive Champions League second leg with Benfica is just on the horizon. Leverkusen only have the Bundesliga to focus on, but are struggling for belief and consistency.

In terms of the team news Dortmund are without Gotze indefinitely and have a 50/50 doubt over Papastathopoulos, which would weaken them at the back, while Leverkusen recover Wendell to be pretty much full strength. The visitors just have too many small edges to ignore off this sort of mark and we also think there could be value in Under 3.25 as a combination if the price moves a little beyond 1.80.

Suggestion: Bayer Leverkusen +1.25 @ 1.83

Spanish Primera Division
Eibar vs. Real Madrid (Saturday 3.15pm)
Bet365
Seventh placed Eibar welcome Real on Saturday, with this looking like a very difficult trip for Zidane’s men. Eibar have won 62% of home games this season, but their two losses of more than one goal were against Atletico and Barcelona, the only teams of Real’s calibre in the division. The visitors have a huge trip to Napoli in the Champions League to consider on Tuesday evening, but they cannot afford to let up having fallen behind Barcelona in the table (although they do have a game in hand). However, no Ronaldo or Bale makes this line look a little on the high side, especially with Real suffering their first wobble of the season. If Eibar show any belief they should have enough to trouble.

Suggestion: Eibar +1 @ 1.80

English Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Everton (Sunday 1.30pm)
Sky Sports 1
North London versus Merseyside bookends our highlights section this week, with second-placed Tottenham hosting in-form Everton in a contest that is usually very difficult to call. Kane, Alderweireld and Vertonghen are all minor doubts for the hosts, who definitely miss Rose, while Everton are again only without Bolasie and are generally very settled. The visitors should come here looking to deploy a cautious plan and they have been defending better recently, though haven’t really been tested too much in their recent run, while Tottenham will naturally look to come out firing. We think this one could be very tight indeed.

Suggestion: Under 2.75 @ 1.91

Ones to Watch

French Ligue 1
Bordeaux vs. Olympique Lyonnais (Friday 7.45pm)
BT Sport ESPN
Both of these sides have hit top form lately, having been frustratingly inconsistent for much of the season. Lyon have found their shooting boots with 20 goals in their last four matches, while Bordeaux have won their last five in all competitions. This looks like it has goals in it.

Suggestion: Over 2.75 @ 1.81

English Championship
Huddersfield Town vs. Newcastle United (Saturday 5.30pm)
Sky Sports 1
Newcastle won a huge promotion battle with Brighton on Tuesday and Huddersfield lost heavily to Man City in the FA Cup on Wednesday. This one is also pivotal because Benitez’ men could effectively eliminate Huddersfield from the promotion race with a win. It has the potential to be very volatile.

Suggestion: Newcastle DNB @ 1.88 and Over 2 @ 1.80

English Championship
Blackburn Rovers vs. Wigan Athletic (Saturday 3pm)
Bet365
We go from the top of the Championship to the bottom, where this is the pick of the Saturday 3pms. Blackburn are 22nd and Wigan 23rd, both within striking distance of Bristol City in 21st. The derby factor adds further spice, but we think it could be a cagey one.

Suggestion: Under 2.25 @ 1.76

Greek Super League
PAOK vs. Olympiakos (Sunday 5.30pm)
N/A
Olympiakos have a solid lead in the table but PAOK would love to throw a spanner in the works by beating them here. Both had midweek cup ties to contend with and team news is even, meaning we’ll back the hosts to use their motivation wisely off a DNB line.

Suggestion: PAOK DNB @ 1.75

German Bundesliga 2
Eintracht Braunschweig vs. Stuttgart (Monday 7.15pm)
BT Sport 1
Leaders Stuttgart head to fourth-placed Braunschweig in what looks like a very tricky away test, especially when considering star striker Terrode is a 50/50 doubt with a broken nose. His involvement will have a huge bearing on the line so checking the line-ups an hour before kick-off is vital here.

Suggestion: Stuttgart DNB @ 1.86

*Odds accurate at time of writing

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