Why the smart money's on goals to flow and a Man City win at the Etihad on Monday
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Need some help ahead of the weekend's football action? Worry not, as Bet Butler are more than happy to steer you in the right direction.
They've got tips on two of Europe's biggest games this weekend, starting with Atletico Madrid up against in-form Real Sociedad at the Vicente Calderon on Sunday evening. Straight after that it's the Derby d'Italia, as Serie A leaders Juventus take on stuttering Inter Milan in Turin.
Meanwhile, the Premier League's most talked-about fixture this weekend actually comes on Monday night when title hopefuls Manchester City and Chelsea face off at the Etihad Stadium. With both sides in good form and just three points separating the pair, the game's result really could prove decisive in the destination of this season's title.
We'll also give you the lowdown on the sides missing key men and begging to be taken on - featuring Newcastle United, Sassuolo in Serie A and Ligue 1 side Guingamp.
Atletico Madrid vs Real Sociedad (Sun, 6pm)
Draws in each of their last two home games, against Barcelona and in-form Sevilla, have seen Atletico waste chances to top the table. At the same time it's allowed Real Madrid to narrow the gap behind the top two to just a point, and this is now a huge game for Atletico if they're to avoid falling away as they did in the second half of last season.
Diego Simeone's team won 3 of their 5 home matches against teams that finished 3rd-8th last season, and 2 of 3 home games against teams currently occupying those spots this term. However, they’ve won by more than 1 goal in just 1 of those 8 matches and lost this fixture a year ago.
Real Sociedad are in superb form having won 9 of their last 13 games, scoring at least twice 11 times. They’ve been thrashed in each of their 3 trips to current top-six sides this season, but 2 of those were at the Big Two. Madrid may win this game but Sociedad are the clear value on the Asian Handicap +1.5 at 2.0.
It would be a surprise if there wasn't goals here. Atletico have scored just 5 fewer than Barcelona this season, while only Real Madrid’s matches have featured more goals than Sociedad’s. In the visitors' case this is despite a fairly low-scoring start to the campaign; now 12 of their last 13 matches have seen at least 3 goals, and 9 of the last 11 have witnessed 4 or more. Moreover, their last 6 trips to top-six teams have averaged a massive 4.67 goals per game and 6 of the last 7 matches Atletico have conceded in have seen 3 or more strikes. This in mind, 2.55 for Over 3.5 Goals looks a steal.
Juventus vs Inter Milan (Sun, 7:45pm)
Juventus’ winning streak was ended last weekend, but they still salvaged a point despite playing most their match at Lazio with 10 men. Antonio Conte's men will now look to maintain their 100% home record this season, which has seen them record 6 wins by at least 2 goals in their last 7 home matches. Given Inter’s recent struggles, anything but a comfy home win would be a major surprise. The Milan side have won only 1 of their last 8 away matches, including defeats in the last 3, and they’ve also been struggling at home to slip 11 points off the Champions League positions.
Juve have won their last 10 home games against top-half teams – 5 by at least 2 clear goals – and also all 7 of their home matches since the start of last season when they failed to win the previous game. Inter, meanwhile, have lost 8 of their last 12 trips to top-six teams with 6 defeats by more than 1 goal. Juve are 2.25 to win by at least two goals and that looks great value.
Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente have been a huge boost to the Old Lady’s attacking threat this season, and in the 13 games they’ve started together, Juve have scored 36 times. Eight of their 10 matches this season have seen at least 3 goals, as have 6 of Inter’s last 9 trips to top-six sides. BetButler offer 1.70 for Over 2.5 Goals, and that should be snapped up.
Man City vs Chelsea (Mon, 8pm)
Man City turned on the style at White Hart Lane to move top in midweek. Chelsea are second favourites with the bookies, but a defeat here will leave them six points adrift with a vastly inferior goal difference.
Unfortunately for the Londoners a home win looks the only outcome, even with Sergio Aguero limping off against Spurs. City have won all 11 of their home games this season, with 9 wins by at least 2 goals, and this despite already hosting every other top-eight side other than Chelsea.
The Blues, meanwhile, are yet to win any of their 5 trips to the current top eight as they’ve found the net just once. Aguero’s absence is Chelsea’s biggest positive - the Argentine has netted in 18 of his last 21 appearances in all competitions. However, he didn’t start any of City’s last 3 home matches, and even without him they should be backed for the win again at 1.85.
The goals market looks a trickier proposition, though, with 14 of City’s 23 matches this season seeing at least 4 goals. Chelsea’s five trips to current top-eight sides, however, have seen just 3 goals combined. Nevertheless, there still looks to be some value in ‘overs’. Of those five Chelsea games, four were in their first five away days and the other, at Arsenal, was played in terrible conditions. With City having failed to score before half-time in just 1 of their last 12 matches, they could force Chelsea to open up the game early on and Over 2.5 Goals is a good price at 1.75.
Loic Remy (Newcastle)
Remy is suspended this weekend, and in the three games the Frenchman has missed this season Newcastle have found the net just once. Moreover, with Yohan Cabaye no longer at the club it’s worth noting that Newcastle won just 3/19 matches that the departed midfielder failed to start since the beginning of last season, and 2 of those wins were against relegated sides last term. Sunderland have won the last two derbies and are 2.0 on the Asian Handicap to take at least a point.
Luca Antei (Sassuolo)
Centre-back Antei has played 14 of Sassuolo’s 21 games this season. But in the 7 matches he’s missed, Sassuolo have conceded over 3 goals per game while picking up just 2 points. Verona have been significantly better than their fellow promoted side this season, and can be backed at 2.30 on the Draw No Bet.
Christophe Mandanne (Guingamp)
Guingamp have lost just 2 of the 15 games Mandanne has started this season. However, without him they’ve scored only twice in 7 matches and picked up just 1 point. Furthermore, the last 6 games he’s missed have all seen fewer than 3 goals. Dutching the 1-0 and 2-0 correct scores to Bastia at 7.25 and 11.0 works out as a 4.36 shot.