FFT's betting partner, Bet Butler, points you in the right direction ahead of this weekend's action around Europe...
Our good friends at Bet Butler have returned with more vital titbits to help influence your tipping as the weekend's key clashes approach.
Saturday lunchtime's heavyweight showdown sees fourth-placed Manchester City host table-topping Arsenal, while Spurs will bid to break back into the top four against second-placed Liverpool at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
This weekend also sees Sevilla hosting Athletic Bilbao in La Liga, with the Basque side currently fourth in the standings having beaten Barcelona 1-0 last time out.
We'll also give you the lowdown on the sides in Italy and France missing key men and begging to be taken on - featuring Chievo, Cagliari and Ajaccio.
Manuel Pellegrini's men have been superb at home this season, winning all seven games with some eye-catching performances. All of those victories have been by at least two clear goals, and as well as averaging more than four goals per game they’ve also conceded just twice.
Arsenal, meanwhile, can point to a five-point gap at the top and 10 wins in their last 12 away matches as proof of their title credentials going into Saturday's showdown. However, they have lost at the only top six contender they’ve travelled to in that time (Manchester United) and in the previous four seasons their record away to top-four finishers makes unpleasant reading, W1 D1 L10.
In contrast, City have won 6 out of 8 home matches against top-five finishers in the past two seasons and have already thrashed Spurs, Man United and Everton at home this term. The Blues look a great price to win this weekend, but Arsenal might keep things closer than other sides have done, with their last 11 away defeats all by just one goal. City to win by one goal is 4.15.
While City’s home matches have averaged 4.42 goals per game this season, few would expect a repeat of the goal rushes seen against United and Spurs. Eight of Arsenal’s last 10 matches have featured 2-3 goals while six of their last 10 away defeats have been 2-1 scorelines.
Moreover, nine of their 12 trips to top-four finishers in the past four seasons finished with 2-3 goals and that can be backed to happen again at 2.15 with Bet Butler.
Sergio Aguero has scored in 12 of his last 15 appearances in the Premier League and Champions League, and since he joined City he’s netted in 20 of the 34 home games he’s started in the league. At 5.25 the Argentine striker looks well worth backing to find the net first this Saturday.
While Liverpool have certainly been the more eye-catching of these two teams this season there is just three points between the sides as they meet at White Hart Lane. Spurs produced two battling wins on the road last week and now must improve their home form. Liverpool, meanwhile, have a poor away record this season, where they’ve been vulnerable at the back.
Spurs have won this fixture in each of the past five seasons and should fancy their chances against this Liverpool defence that has conceded 13 times in their last six away matches. Spurs have won 12 and drawn four of their last 16 home matches when scoring while Liverpool have won just two of their last 15 trips to top-half teams while losing seven times. Furthermore, they are missing both Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge and Spurs look a great price at 2.5.
Tottenham games have not been overflowing with goals this season and six of their last 10 home matches against top-half teams have featured fewer than three strikes. Liverpool’s matches, however, have been quite the opposite as nine of their last 10 games have featured four or more goals. Without Gerrard and Sturridge we’d expect their goals output to drop, but on balance the goals markets look best avoided.
Sevilla are up to eighth in La Liga after they followed up their first away win in more than a year by immediately claiming a second to make it three wins on the spin a fortnight ago. Athletic, meanwhile, ended Barcelona’s unbeaten start, and deserved to.
Sevilla have won 13 of their last 18 home matches and it’s their home form that has maintained their top-half status in recent seasons. In the past two terms they’ve won 8/14 home games against top-half non-Big Two finishers.
Athletic have conceded in 16 of their last 18 away matches and have lost four of their last six on the road – they also rely on their home form. In the past two seasons they’ve W1 D4 L10 away to top-half non-Big Two finishers, although that win was at Sevilla. It's hard to look past home advantage here and Sevilla can be backed at 2.06.
Goals, however, looks the best way to go in this match. Sixteen of Sevilla’s last 17 home matches have featured at least three goals and they’re unlikely to be changing tactics now. Eight of those matches actually involved four or more goals, while this fixture has witnessed more than a brace in four of the last five years.
Six of Athletic’s last nine away games have also seen at least three goals scored and six of their nine trips to top-half non-Big Two teams since the start of last season have seen at least two first-half goals with none being goalless at the break. Twenty-one of Sevilla’s last 22 home games that have featured first-half goals have had +2.5 strikes, with 12 having +3.5. Over 2.5 Goals looks a great price at 1.75 with Over 3.5 worth considering at 2.78.
Drame has secured the left-back spot this season but is suspended at the weekend. Since the start of last season Chievo have won 42% of the 31 matches he’s started but just 14% of the 22 he’s missed. Not only have they conceded 49% more goals per game when he’s been missing but they’ve but they’ve also scored 38% fewer. Furthermore, they’ve won just one of the last nine home games he’s missed. Sampdoria can be backed on the Double Chance at 1.7.
Cagliari captain Conti is serving his second suspension of the season this weekend and his side lost their only other match without him 2-0. Since the start of last season the holding midfielder has missed just nine games but Cagliari have lost six times as they’ve conceded 40% more goals per game than when he’s been playing. Parma look a good price to win at 1.83.
Cavalli has had the most assists in the Ajaccio team this season, as he did last term, but is suspended this weekend. The Corsican side have won none of the last 15 matches he’s not started and completed at least an hour, with eight draws and seven defeats as they’ve scored just five goals. Seven of these matches have had fewer than two goals, including 4/5 at home. Under 1.5 Goals is a juicy-looking 2.90.
Odds correct as of December 12. Odds subject to change.