I strongly believe that it is safe to say; when looking for that competitive edge in the top five leagues in Europe; the Italians have it on lock down; especially with the way the league’s leadership has chopped and changed over the last few weeks. The English are not let out; but there’s continues to be with a surprise element with the exploits of Leicester City; who currently top the Premier League after 15 games. Interestingly, the aforementioned teams will form part of the basis of this weekend’s preview as they will be engaged in some of the top matches across Europe.
Juventus v Fiorentina
Fiorentina currently top the Serie A after its victory last weekend over Udinese, it was a fine display as Paolo Sousa’s men putting in a class performance with Josip Ilicic at the heart of all that was pleasing about the Viola. Fiorentina have built very good form with their current run of six games without defeat heading to Sousa’s former hunting ground; Juventus who have been in good form as well in the Serie A with five straight wins.
Juventus have a commanding record against the visiting Fiorentina; even though in recent years the Viola have come close to getting a result; the Old Lady always find a way to put them to the sword. In Paolo Dybala; Juve have a rising star that has been fearless and committed to establishing himself as been integral to all Juventus plan to achieve this season despite their poor start to the season; with his seven goals so far this season, the young Argentine continues to drive the Turin side forward with his cultured left foot.
Fiorentina have only defeated Juventus once in their last six meetings; Juventus are undefeated in 29 of the last 32 matches between both sides; looks like a tough ask given that the Old Lady has kept a clean sheet in its last three games in Serie A.
My Verdict: Juventus to win
My Betting Punt: A combo is in order here; Juve win & over 1.5 goals comes at 1.85
Napoli v Roma
Roma interestingly kept a clean sheet in their Champions League encounter with BATE Borisov, which has been hard to come bye; this is their first clean sheet since the derby victory over Lazio. Roma have been poor defensively this season, conceding 18 goals so far which is the worst in the top six, they just cannot keep their rear in check, conceding 11 goals in their last six games in all competitions.
Rudi Garcia’s side travel to the San Paolo to face a Napoli side that is playing some entertaining football under Maurizio Sarri, but can also leave gaps behind that Roma can capitalize on. Despite Roma’s bad defensive record, the Romans are the top scorers in the league with 30 goals so far, so its safe to say we can expect goals in this one.
Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuan is the league’s top scorer with 14 goals and he must be rubbing his hands now at a chance to face this vulnerable Roma defense; even though we know Roma will definitely give back as much as they get. Napoli lost last weekend surprisingly to Bologna, thereby relinquishing the top spot; but will go into this game confident in the fact that they have won their last 4 matches against Roma and are on a six game winning streak at home in Serie A.
My Verdict: Napoli to win
My Betting Punt: I will be going for goals here; over 2.5 goals is @1.65
Leicester City v Chelsea
Even though the game is on Monday, its still a big game; as I would advise you also ignore Chelsea’s current league position. This is a game between the Champions and the current league leaders. Leicester City been top of the league definitely is stuff of dreams as I still have to pinch myself every time I look at the table and see the midlands club at the summit.
Chelsea have, well bee woeful; the least that’s said their current situation the better; however this provides a great opportunity to turn the corner with their Champions League performance still fresh in the mind. The Blues have a great record against the Foxes with a six game winning streak ongoing; unfortunately this is a different Leicester, playing with swag, drive and fearlessness. Also, there’s a score to settle here; Claudio Ranieri would love nothing more than to heap the misery on Jose Mourinho due to the years of ridicule he has had to endure from the Portuguese manager.
Leicester have only failed to win once in their last six games, a sign of a team with very high confidence levels; spare a thought for Chelsea though; seventeen points separate them from Leicester and are winless in their last 5 away fixtures in the premier league.
My Verdict: Leicester to win
My Betting Punt: Both teams to score @ 1.69 or over 2.5 goals @ 1.87
Villareal v Real Madrid
Real Madrid flexed their attacking muscles in mid week with their demolition of Malmo in the champions league. For all the attacks and criticisms Rafa Benitez gets for his so called defensive style, his team has scored 21 goals in their last five matches.
The yellow Submarines have found form had to come bye in recent weeks, which has potentially put paid to most of their ambitions for this season considering their good start to the season.
Real Madrid are undefeated in their last 10 matches against Villareal, so its safe to say Los Blancos will win this as Villareal have only got 7 points from their last five games.
My Verdict: Real Madrid to win
My Betting Punt: A combo is in order here; Real win & over 2.5 goals comes at 1.96
Paris Saint Germain v Lyon
Lyon have been poor of late and we can ignore their win in the Champions League away to Valencia as this team has under achieved this season. This is the year many expected that they would step it up a gear or two to match PSG this season as their youngsters develop; instead its been one inept performance after the order.
PSG are coasting to the Ligue 1 title, completely unchallenged, 15 points clear at the top, undefeated and what makes for even more amazing reading is the fact that it is newly promoted Anger that are in second place dreaming of Champions League qualification.
Laurent Blanc’s team have been immaculate thus far, scoring goals a plenty; maintaining an unbeaten run at home stretching back to the 2013/2014 season. PSG have kept a clean sheet in their 5 of their last 7 games against Lyon, with only a loss in their last six meetings.
My Verdict: PSG to win
My Betting Punt: A combo is in order here as well; PSG win & over 2.5 goals comes at 1.60
**** A N500 punt should fetch you N8,600
*** Stats courtesy www.whoscored.com