Weekend Review 02/05/17

Highlights

English Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Arsenal (Sunday 4.30pm)
A superb performance from Tottenham created a fantastic atmosphere at White Hart Lane and ensured that our prediction of Arsenal ending the season on yet another low note came to pass. This was one-way traffic for much of the contest, with the biggest surprise being that the visitors made it to half-time at 0-0 after Alli and Eriksen passed up a pair of Great Chances (~40% conversion) to give the hosts the lead. Tottenham are the real deal this season and even if they fail to lift the trophy, which looks increasingly likely, Pochettino deserves massive credit for their two-season performance.

Whether player 3-4-2-1 or 4-2-3-1, as they did here, Spurs are a well oiled machine and it’s easy to forget that they were effectively without four automatic starters here, as Rose and Lamela injured, Dembele not match fit and Walker left on the bench following a row with the manager. Arsenal saw Koscielny pass fit to be left without only Mustafi and Cazorla, demonstrating just how far off the top level this squad now is. Tottenham remain four points behind Chelsea but now only have four games left, but do have the advantage of playing first next weekend.

Suggestion: Tottenham Hotspur -0.5 @ 1.89
Actual Outcome: 2-0 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 2-0 (+1) 

Spanish Primera Division
Espanyol 0-3 Barcelona (Saturday 7.45pm)
Espanyol must wait yet another year for a Catalan Derby victory, with Barcelona sweeping them aside in the end but being made to work very hard to assert their dominance. Sanchez Flores sent his team out in a rigid and organised 4-4-1-1 that did a relatively good job of limiting the visitors’ threat. Espanyol even had the first significant chance of the contest when Jurado went through, but he lost his head and drilled wide when one-on-one.

After getting to half-time at 0-0 the hosts faced renewed pressure from Barcelona and after Suarez broke the deadlock after 50 minutes there was only ever going to be one winner. Jurado was again the villain of the piece, selling Lopez short with a terrible back pass to give the Uruguayan forward a Great Chance. The big question then became just how much Barcelona would win by and Espanyol had no further opportunities of real note despite opening up. All this did was give Enrique’s side more space to inflict damage to keep the pressure firmly on Madrid.

Suggestion: Espanyol +2.25 @ 1.80
Actual Outcome: 0-3 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 0-2 (+0.5) 

Spanish Primera Division
Real Madrid 2-1 Valencia (Saturday 3.15pm)
Marcelo has been immense this season and he stepped up again when his team really needed him, getting the winner in the 86th minute to immediately restore Madrid’s advantage after Dani Parejo had equalised for Valencia. The hosts looked nervy and displayed outright panic at times, which could be a feature of their run-in as they try to balance going for the title alongside going for a historic back-to-back Champions League win.

However, they were still superior throughout and fashioned enough chances to have just about deserved the two goals. Still, it will be very interesting to see how they get on next week at relegated Granada, playing in between the first leg of their semi-final with Atletico and directly after Barcelona host Villarreal. They’ll be in the same situation the following weekend as well, which could take its toll. Barcelona have to keep winning their own games, of course…

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

English Premier League
Manchester United 1-1 Swansea City (Sunday 12pm)
Mourinho’s side edged it, as so often they do at home, but it’s hard to claim that Swansea deserved anything less than a point from Old Trafford. We had actually fancied the visitors to spring an upset when the teams were announced and were much less confident on our overs suggestion, with Clement deploying a diamond that fielded Ki, Britton and Carroll behind the superb Sigurdsson. The Swans have improved significantly in defence since the new man arrived (though they could hardly get much worse) and a draw here was a huge bonus in their fight for survival. As for United, they passed up a huge chance to make serious inroads into the top four and their fixtures don’t get any easier from here on.

Suggestion: Over 2.5 @ 1.89
Actual Outcome: 1-1 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (-1) 

English Premier League
Middlesbrough 2-2 Manchester City (Sunday 2.05pm)
Guardiola’s decision to rest Sané and Sterling did not pay off at all, especially with Silva also failing to pass a late fitness test and missing out too. City never looked like beating the handicap and were actually second best to their hosts for must of the first half. Middlesbrough showed good balance between being tight defensively and maintaining just enough threat on the break, but were undone by a shocking penalty decision given when Sané went over in the box. There were two more goals from there, but a draw doesn’t look like enough for Boro at this stage.

Suggestion: Manchester City -1.5 @ 1.84 and Over 3 @ 1.82
Actual Outcome: 2-2 (0)
Fair Outcome: 1-1 (-2)

Ones to Follow

Italian Serie A
Roma 1-3 Lazio (Sunday 11.30am)
When you’ve got an unders suggestion, a goal for the away team after 12 minutes is hardly the ideal start, and so it proved as Lazio went on to record a great victory in the Rome Derby. They outscored their xG nicely and deserved to win, but not by two.

Suggestion: Under 3.25 @ 1.93
Actual Outcome: 1-3 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 1-2 (+0.5) 

Italian Serie A
Internazionale 0-1 Napoli (Sunday 7.45pm)
Napoli put on a clinic in a very tricky away game to take a fully justified victory, scoring on the stroke of half time after controlling proceedings. This was a huge step towards guaranteeing a top three finish, and it’s a result that pushes Pioli further towards the exit door.

Suggestion: Napoli DNB @ 1.73
Actual Outcome: 0-1 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 0-2 (+1)

English Championship
Leeds United 3-3 Norwich City (Saturday 3pm)
This was a must-win game for Leeds and although they fought back from 0-3 to record a hugely creditable draw, they are now out of the play-off picture. The game saw five goals in 21 minutes to smash through the 2.75 line and was a superb watch for the neutral.

Suggestion: Over 2.75 @ 1.96
Actual Outcome: 3-3 (+1)
Fair Outcome: 2-2 (+1)

English Championship
Fulham 1-1 Brentford (Saturday 3pm)
Brentford escaped from Craven Cottage with an unjust point despite being second best in almost every department, apart from the one that matters of course! The draw was enough for Fulham to effectively clinch the final play-off spot ahead of Leeds, but it has hurt their momentum a little bit.

Suggestion: Fulham -1 @ 1.81
Actual Outcome: 1-1 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 2-1 (0)

English Championship
Ipswich Town 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday (Saturday 3pm)
McCarthy rotated back to his best eleven but Ipswich never looked like beating the handicap, failing to hit the heights they showed against Newcastle recently. Wednesday were extremely professional and have kept their hopes of a third place finish alive, though they may see Huddersfield as better opponents than Fulham…

Suggestion: Ipswich +0.5 @ 1.88
Actual Outcome: 0-1 (-1)
Fair Outcome: 0-1 (-1) 

10 Suggestions
Total Actual Outcome: -2
Total Fair Outcome: -1

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