Spanish Primera Division
Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid (Saturday 3.15pm)
Before the game we bemoaned the scheduling throwing it up directly before a huge Champions League week, but in fairness to both sides there was good intensity on display from the outset. The contest unfolded in a largely expected manner, with Atletico putting the onus on their hosts to force the tempo and being happy to threaten on the break and from set pieces. Real were left relying on long shots for much of the first half, with Simeone’s side having the upper hand tactically. Things opened up significantly after the interval, however.
Real came out with renewed intent after some words from Zidane and Ronaldo missed a header before Benzema was denied brilliantly by Oblak, but Pepe of all people broke the deadlock soon after. This was the worst direction of a goal for our suggestion because Atletico had to come out, but thankfully they did so in their usual controlled style. Real kept looking to try and kill the game off with Bale missing some good openings, before Simeone’s changes paid off when Correa released Griezmann to equalise five minutes from time. Atletico saw it out with ease from there, but they probably didn’t deserve anything from this.
Suggestion: Under 2.75 @ 1.88
Actual Outcome: 1-1 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 2-1 (-0.5)
Italian Serie A
Lazio 0-3 Napoli (Sunday 7.45pm)
The late team news went against Lazio here, with de Vrij and Biglia missing out having been doubtful all week plus Lulic also joining them on the sidelines at the last minute. Napoli were largely full strength and took full advantage, establishing a lead in the first half, building upon this in early in the second and then putting the icing on the cake in stoppage time. In truth a three-goal victory was flattering based on the chances created, but Napoli exerted good control despite some shaky moments at the back.
Lazio did enough to have scored but there’s no doubt Napoli deserved the points, with the outcome pretty much ensuring that the Champions League spots are all wrapped up. Lazio now find themselves seven points behind Napoli with seven to play, while Atalanta are a further point back and have hit a bit of a sticky patch. Milan have always been too inconsistent to threaten, while Inter’s superb run under Pioli has come to a crashing end with back-to-back defeats against Sampdoria and Crotone.
Suggestion: Over 2.75 @ 1.84
Actual Outcome: 0-3 (+0.5)
Fair Outcome: 1-2 (+0.5)
German Bundesliga 1
Bayern Munchen 4-1 Borussia Dortmund (Saturday 5.30pm)
This always looked like it had goals in it and as soon as Bayern raced into a commanding lead after ten minutes we were sitting pretty. At that point the only option left to Tuchel was to go for it, because this isn’t the sort of fixture where you’re able to lie down or deploy damage limitation. In fairness to the visitors they did manage to redress the deficit quickly, but that only seemed to refocus the hosts who then went on to dominate the second half.
The only big moment Dortmund had after the break was Aubameyang’s one-on-one, which he made a bit of a mess of, and Robben duly punished him immediately after with a typical goal. This ended the contest and after it went to 4-1 the remainder was played out at a crawl, as both turned their minds to their impending Champions League ties in midweek.
Suggestion: Over 2.75 @ 1.81
Actual Outcome: 4-1 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 3-1 (+1)
English Premier League
Manchester City 3-1 Hull City (Saturday 3pm)
After their hard-fought 2-1 loss at Stamford Bridge in midweek, this was much more like it from Man City. Moving to the more cautious +2.25 handicap paid off nicely for us, but really in terms of the pattern of the game this was not a comfortable outcome by any stretch of the imagination. When Man City are such heavy favourites you are often just left relying on their attitude to trip them up and thankfully it happened again here, with Hull grabbing a poor consolation goal five minutes from time to earn us a half-win. Hull seemed to approach this like a team who knew their bigger battles for survival were still to come, never looking compact or organised enough to properly trouble Guardiola’s men.
Suggestion: Hull City +2.25 @ 1.81
Actual Outcome: 3-1 (+0.5)
Fair Outcome: 2-0 (+0.5)
English Premier League
Crystal Palace 3-0 Arsenal (Monday 8pm)
As soon as this one kicked off we were left wishing we’d gone with our instinct and backed Palace on the Asian Handicap, with Arsenal looking second best in terms of their psychology. It was one of those games where the classic “Palace” counter style of playing was perfectly suited to the opposition, who were desperately lacking leadership and quality at the back with Cech and Koscielny absent. It looks like the final nail in Arsenal’s coffin as far as the top four goes, but for us the writing was on the wall before the season began back in August.
Suggestion: Under 3 @ 1.80
Actual Outcome: 3-0 (0)
Fair Outcome: 2-0 (+1)
Ones to Watch
English Premier League
Middlesbrough 0-0 Burnley (Saturday 3pm)
Playing in a new 3-5-2 formation with Gestede partnering Stuani in attack there was no doubt Middlesbrough carried much more threat here, fashioning enough to have deserved a 2-1 win. Burnley had some good openings of their own but left the happier of the two. They’re almost home and dry.
Suggestion: Over 2 @ 1.88
Actual Outcome: 0-0 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 2-1 (+1)
Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Newcastle United (Saturday 5.30pm)
Newcastle have ridden their luck this season and this was one of those games where they were caught out by motivated opposition. Wednesday were able to make chances from the outset and our double trade always looked under threat, especially when Benitez lost Gayle to injury on the half hour.
Suggestion: Newcastle United 0 @ 1.75 and Under 2.5 @ 1.78
Actual Outcome: 2-1 (-2)
Fair Outcome: 2-1 (-2)
Aberdeen 0-3 Rangers (Sunday 12.30pm)
Rangers kept their slim hopes of a runners-up spot alive with a win that came against the run of play, thanks to three goals scored in four minutes. Aberdeen wasted too many chances and while the game always had enough intent to go over, it was too close for comfort.
Suggestion: Over 2.5 @ 1.98
Actual Outcome: 0-3 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 2-2 (+1)
Turkish Super Lig
Istanbul Basaksehir 3-0 Galatasaray (Monday 6pm)
Basaksehir now stand alone as the only team that can challenge Besiktas for the title, still sitting five points behind with seven to play. Galatasaray were blown out of the race here and are likely to change coach again this summer, because Tudor has barely made a difference since arriving.
Suggestion: Under 2.75 @ 1.91
Actual Outcome: 4-0 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 3-0 (-0.5)
Greek Super League
PAOK 3-0 Panathinaikos (Sunday 5pm)
Like the Galatasaray game, this outcome signalled something of a changing of a guard this season. PAOK have been more dangerous and consistent than Panathinaikos all term, especially at home, and comfortably beat the handicap to move clear in second. Olympiakos dropped points again and are just six ahead now.
Actual Outcome: 3-0 (N/A)
Fair Outcome: 3-0 (N/A)
Total Actual Outcome: 0
Total Fair Outcome: +2