Real Madrid v Galatasaray
Pressure is building on Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid after Los Blancos fell to a disappointing draw at home to lowly Real Betis on Saturday. Much more is expected after another summer of spending with big money being thrown on Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic. They’ve failed to take advantage of an underwhelming start to the season from both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona and it’s their own inconsistency that is worrying. A 50% win rate in all competitions is way below what should be par for the Galacticos.
They welcome a respectable Galatasaray outfit to the Bernabeu and the Turks will try and make it a challenge for their hosts. Club Brugge came to the Spanish capital without any pressure on them and they came away with a surprise draw and we’re even 2-0 up at one point. Gala will take heart from that sturdy effort and their squad is made up of quite a few European regulars who have experience at this level.
The reverse fixture ended in a 1-0 win for Madrid but the Aslanlar were certainly competitive and probably were unlucky not to score after accruing an expected goals figure of 1.25. They’ve only lost 3 times in all competitions this season and those were all defeats by just a single goal against Real, PSG and Besiktas, there’s little to complain about their.
The likes of Radamel Falcao, Steven N’Zonzi, Yuto Nagatomo and Ryan Babel currently ply their trade for the Istanbul-based side and they look a cracking bet at 1.750 with a +2.25 start on the asian handicap. I was very surprised at that line and this bet would see us profit even if the visitors lose by 2 clear goals.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Galatasaray +2.25 at 1.750
Dinamo Zagreb v Shakhtar Donetsk
Group C has been an extremely profitable one for this column and I see no reason to go away from that this week. There’s a real chance one of these two sides can make the knockout phase of this competition given Atalanta have lost all 3 of their fixtures so far. Both Dinamo and Shakhtar therefore have 4 points after an entertaining 2-2 draw at Shakhtar’s temporary home in Kharkiv a fortnight ago.
The Croatians really caught the eye in that fixture and they passed the data test too winning the xG battle 2.11-1.46. Dani Olmo is without doubt their star man, he was superb for the Plavi last season in the Europa League but was given a bigger stage at the Under 21’s Euros in Italy this summer where he revelled for eventual winners, Spain. Olmo was part of the La Masia academy in Barcelona growing up but took a left field move to Zargeb to gain additional playing time, it’s proved a worthwhile move and surely head scouts at the top European clubs will be keeping tabs on the classy midfielder.
Shakhtar will have been delighted with their smash and grab win in Italy against La Dea on matchday 2 but will have been disappointed that they couldn’t build on that in this reverse fixture two weeks ago. They’re chiefly made up of Ukranians and Brazilians but it was Israeli youngster Manor Solomon who got the vital winner in the San Siro. They always pose a threat going forward with the likes of Marlos, Taison, Moraes and Yehvan Konoplyanka but defensively they do look suspect.
Goals have to be the order of the day and I’m delighted we can get some 1.900 on over 2.5 goals. Over the three Zagreb games there has been an average of 3.33 goals per game but that actually rises to 3.9 when looking at xG. Shakhtar have also seen 3.33 goals per game but their games’ xG is at 3.71 so even though it’s been a group full of goals so far it could be argued that their should’ve been even more. It seems like the bookies haven’t cottoned on yet but I’m not complaining.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.50 goals at 1.900
Atalanta v Manchester City
Sticking in group C and sticking with goals as Atalanta welcome an in form Manchester City to their temporary champions league home in nearby Milan. The Citizens wiped the floor with La Dea in this reverse fixture recently, deservedly winning 5-1. Pep Guardiola saw his side rack up an expected goals figure 4.35 so it was no fluke. City look a different beast in this competition and the hierarchy at the club have longed for continental success that has so far not come to fruition. With Liverpool ousting all before them in the Premier League maybe it will be more sensible for a larger focus on this competition.
Many will look at the respective records of these two and be rushing to back the 1.490 on the away side but Atalanta do pose a real threat. Their gung-ho approach under the experienced Gian Piero Gasperini has been too hot to handle for most in Serie A but that’s not translated well on the continent. They employ an innovative 3-4-2-1 formation and even without last seasons top scorer Duvan Zapata, fellow Colombian front man Luis Muriel has stepped up to the plate. In Papau Gomez and Josip Ilicic they have quality in the final third of the pitch but their forward-thinking game can be to their defensive detriment.
The Bergamo boys have conceded a whopping 11 in their opening 3 champions league game, been smashed for 4 by Dinamo Zagreb a definite low point. They’ve averaged the most shots per game in Serie A but they’ve also conceded two or more goals in 9 of their 14 games this season and being so generous at the back doesn’t seem to cut it against the better teams.
Atalanta are seeing an eye-watering 4.4 goals per game in Serie A and that figure tallies with their European quest, in fact their expected goals is even higher at 4.9! Man City are seeing an average of 3.67 goals per game in this competition but the data indicates that should be more like 4.5, the same xG figure for their premier league clashes.
All the underlying numbers point to another shootout here and we’ve got data from a decent enough sample size now. I’m not surprised to see the goal line quite high here but there’s still merit in the 1.760 on over 3.5 goals I feel with the style of play of the pair and the attacking quality on show.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 3.50 goal at 1.760
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