As teams return from the international break, I look at 3 games that have a great potential to land us in the money to start of the weekend positively.
Swansea City and Everton take on this big fixture in the between 2 teams who will be looking to push on for the 4th to 7th spot for a place in Europe for next season. This game sees them both sitting next to each other in 7th and 8th spot respectively with both expecting these to be winning fixtures.
They have won both their home games with solid victories against Manchester United and Newcastle United. Andre Ayew and Baftemi Gomis have been the stars of the show so far, scoring all the 7 goals this campaign that Swansea have scored. Along with Montero, Shelvey, Sigurdsson and Cork; the 6 of them have produced some fluid and entertaining football for all of us to watch. Gary Monk has got the side believing that they can win games even against the biggest teams, and setting up his team with a lot of pace to counter attack at any opportunity that will be given to them. They were particularly unlucky not to win against Watford last week; but continuing with their away form, they have drawn 2 and lost that game last week. Swansea City will feel glad to be back with home comforts as they have comfortably delivered strong results.
Everton have managed the result of the season so far with a 3-1 victory over Chelsea at home last week, and this will no doubt give a lot of confidence to Roberto Martinez’s side who will be aiming to push on to get back in the top 7, after failing to make it last season. Everton’s games have been a mixed bag this season while they managed to win against Chelsea and Southampton; who were the strongest defensive teams last season; they struggled to a 2-2 draw with Watford and a 0-0 draw with Tottenham. They have gotten Ross Barkley back to superb form so far, who has been creating opportunities giving 3 assists and 2 goals so far. Lukaku has been solid holding up the ball and started to find his rhythm, while also Kone and Naismith have start delivering goals to make get their goal scoring exploits in rhythm. Defensively they will struggle due to injuries to Coleman, Oviedo, Hibbert, Baines who will have it weak for them on the wings.
Between these 2 teams, they have both scored in 4 out of the last 6 games, including both Premier League games at the Liberty Stadium. With both teams looking to go for a victory in this game, I expect it to be a purely entertaining fixture and this should have both teams to score tonight.
Leicester City Over 1.5 goals @ 1.80 (Bet365) – 2.5 points
Spain Premiera Liga
Atletico Madrid Over 1.5 goals v Eibar @ 1.96 (888Sport) – 2 points (#INPLAYMAGIC)
Atletico Madrid will be optimistic after putting in a top performance in mid-week in the UEFA Champions League by beating Galatasaray by a score of 2-0. While their season had started out slowly with a 1-0 win against Las Palmas; the team have slowly settled into an offensive rhythm back to where they were last season. Atletico then got a solid 3-0 victory away at Sevilla before they faced champions Barcelona and lost by a narrow 2-1 scoreline.
While they lost Manduzkic and Turan in the off season; they managed to add in some good players in Martinez, Luis & Vietto to give them enough power to handle the changes. They have set up now to have 2 strikers up front with options of Vietto/Martinez/Torres/Correa to play up front; while Griezmann can play on either wing or in a no.10 role to give him some freedom of attacking. In the midfield they still have Koke, Gabi & Oliver Torres who help create opportunities for the front two along with Greizmann.
Eibar on the other hand have been rather solid in defence conceding just 1 goal in their 3 games so far, but have not faced one of the big 5 top teams in Spain yet to provide a testing challenge for them. Their first challenge comes up against Atletico Madrid who have had the best of the games between the 2 sides. Last season Atletico Madrid managed 3 goals and 2 goals in the 2 games played.
Atletico Madrid after their success in the last game and the solid attacking performance against Barcelona last time around; we can expect them to find the net twice. I expect it to be tight; and thats why I am backing it at lower stakes.
Falkirk to beat Alloa @ 1.80 (Bet365) – 2.5 points
Falkirk travel away to struggling Alloa looking to keep up pace with Rangers who are sitting in top spot in the Scotland Championship. Falkirk have started out with 4 wins and 1 draw in their 5 games played so far, and have been playing some solid football in the recent weeks with 4 straight victories. Falkirk have managed 9 goals in those 5 games so far, and are the 2nd highest scorers in the league behind Rangers and this is pushing their positive results in the games so far. In their run of success they have beaten St. Mirren, Dumbarton and Raith who are above Alloa as well as Livingston who are just below them in the table; which should not make it difficult to see a Falkirk victory tonight.
Alloa have been quite horrible losing all bar 1 game which was against Dumbarton; which does not bode much success coming against a good team in Falkirk. Alloa have been extremely poor on the defensive end conceding 15 goals this season, out of which 5 were against Rangers and then another 10 in the other 4 losses that they have had so far. Hibs beat Alloa last weekend, who are rivals of Falkirk towards 2nd spot in the table; and I expect a solid Falkirk victory in this game.
Rangers Over 2.5 goals v Dumbarton @ 1.83 (Bet365) – 3 points
Rangers are coming into this game in top form having netted 22 goals in their 6 games so far, and will be aiming to replicate that performance against a Dumbarton team who are lower than them in the table.
Rangers have been in cracking form in their games so far, netting at least 3 games in 5 out of the 6 games, with the only one not going for that many goals was against rivals Hibernian; who will be pushing them till the end for the title in the Championship. Rangers strategy has been to smash as many goals and get as many victories at the beginning in order so secure the division early so that they do not have the playoffs details to get into like last season. Waghorn, Holt, Miller, Taverneir, McKay and Wallace have been a handful on the offensive end scoring 20 out of they 22 goals by Rangers in the league so far.
The Dumbarton team have been fairly awful where they have lost 3 and dawn 1 out of their last 4 games after starting out the season with 2 wins. During this time they have only scored 1 goal in the run of 4 poor games; and this has not helped them push on ahead. These 2 teams have met 4 times in the last 2 seasons; with Rangers hitting 3 goals at least in all those 4 games, and I am expecting a better, more offensive minded Rangers to continue with another 3 goals smashed past Dumbarton in this game.