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We are back to club league football action starting this weekend with FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
England Premier League
Chelsea v Liverpool – Over 2.5/BTTS @ 1.95 (Bet365) – 2.5 points
Chelsea sit second in the Premier League table after their disappointing 2-2 draw against Swansea last weekend and now entertain a hot-scoring Liverpool side tonight. Antonio Conte’s sides have generally been extremely dependant on good defenders and a solid defensive midfielder but despite having that, Chelsea have conceded goals in 4 out of 5 competitive fixtures played till date. The absence of John Terry will also add the woes; although new signing David Luiz should slot right in, he is very prone to mistakes that could see Liverpool attackers take an advantage of. Up front Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Michy Batshuayi have shown great form to start the season, and it won’t be surprising if Conte decides to start both strikers up front today especially against a weaker Liverpool defensive unit.
Liverpool have started out focussed on scoring goals, and they have done exactly that in the 5 games that they have played so far this season. They have scored 9 goals in the 4 games played so far, including a 4-1 win against Champions Leicester and a 4-3 win against Runners-Up Arsenal. Those success boost the confidence level in the Liverpool lineup especially of their attacking players in Mane, Sturridge, Firmino, Lallana and Wjnaldum. They have really played extremely well, breaking on the counter attack with pace and gives your resemblances to the Dortmund team he had that won the Bundesliga. However, when you look defensively, there is a lot to be worried about. Simon Mignolet has been shaky at the back ever since he put on his red’s jersey; make shift left back James Milner has been struggling to match the pace and tonight against Ivanovic it will continue to be a struggle. At centre-back he has not decided what his best combination is yet with Loveren the only certain starter and he is shuffled around along with Matip, Lucas, Sakho; so whoever it is, it will take some adjustment getting used to which is where the mistakes happen.
Meetings between these 2 sides have always seen both score in 10 out of their last 12 matches against each other, and thats why the odds on that is poor; so we take Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals in that game.
Italian Serie A
Sampdoria v Milan – Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.95 (Bet365) – 2.5 points
Sampdoria will feel hard done by as they almost stole victory against Roma last weekend until the King Totti came and spoilt their party. Sampdoria have still managed to be in excellent form to start of this campaign with 6 points out of a possible 9 and sitting in 5th spot in the league. The offensive unit of Sampdoria is really what is making the difference to them with quality players now up front in Quagliarella (2 goals), Muriel (2 goals, 1 assist) and Alvarez (2 assists) and that is the reason for their early rise up the table. They will feel have mixed feelings after their display against Roma last week, especially on the 3 leaked goals which cause them to lose their game. Sampdoria made it difficult for Milan to beat them in the 2 home games played last season losing 1-0 and 2-0; but with a better offensive unit, you can expect them to be up for the challenge tonight.
Milan have continued to be in the same spot that they have been in last year, in the bottom half of the table. After a strong 3-2 win over Torino one the opening weekend, they got smashed by Napoli by a score of 4-2 after drawing the game and then lose 1-0 at home to Udinese last time around. Vincenzo Montella would not have envisioned such a poor start to this season and will find it even more difficult away to Sampdoria without Cristián Zapata and Andrea Bertolucci who are injured leaving Paletta and Romanogli to sit at the centre back and that has seen them leak 5 goals in their last 3 games. Up front Carlos Bacca has returned to good form netting 3 goals in the opening 2 games already while being ably supported by Suso and Niang as well.
This game has all the making of an entertaining one, something that you now usually associated Sampdoria with and to a certain extent Milan. I expect goals to be flowing in this game as both offences are in good nick while defences have been struggling so far. I am backing over 2.5 goals in this encounter.
Real Betis have played 3 games so far this season and leading scorer Ruben Castro has now found the back of the net 4 times already this season to showcase his talent and his ability despite being the ripe old age of 35. Betis have relied heavily on the talismanic forward to deliver the goods for them on the number of occasions and he did so last time around enabling them to go away to Valencia and win by a score of 3-2.
Castro is always the main guy to depend on for Betis because he taken all the penalties, set pieces for Betis in addition to being the furthest forward player for Betis. Castro will be looking forward to this encounter to take on Granada who have already shipped 8 goals so far this season without a single victory to their name. Poyet will definitely feel they have a scalp ready to be taken here, and its hard to shy away from Castro being the scorer for them in this encounter.
Holland Eerste Divisie
Maastricht v Ajax Reserves – Over 2.5/BTTS @ 1.80 (Bet365) – 3 points
Maastricht have begun this season in great form, losing just 1 out of their 6 games played so far, winning 3 and drawing the other 2. Their team has been on this good run due to their strong offensive performances netting 12 goals in the 6 games played. Kuiper’s has found the back of the net 3 times, while Croux and Guvenc have found the net twice to be able to push them to score in front of goal. The problem has been on their defensive end where they have conceded in 5 out of the 6 games played so far, which won’t bode well for their confidence especially in a tricky tie against the Ajax Reserves.
Speaking of the Ajax Reserves, they have been in tremendous form this season, sitting in 2nd spot with 1 loss from their 6 games, and have netted 21 times during those 6 games. The strong showing coming from their offensive unit including Cemy (5 goals), Cassiera (4 goals), Nouri (4 goals) and Zivkovic (3 goals) has been the cause for their great start this campaign. They will want to continue their rich vain of goal scoring form that will supplement their struggles on the defensive end where they have leaked a goal in every single game played so far.
My pick for this game will be over 2.5 goals and Both Teams to Score which would have landed in 4 out of 6 games for Maastricht this season while 5 out of 6 for Ajax Reserves this season; so it seems the best play in this encounter.