For the coming weekend of football action across Europe I have picked six predictions to share.
AC Milan versus Parma
The red and black half of Milan have been a revelation ever since the COVID restart. As I mentioned in a previous article, they are currently playing the best football in Europe.
The likely returns of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Rafael Leao to the forward line will add more dimensions to the team, with the pace and flair of Leao and the hold-up play and priceless experience of Zlatan.
The defence has been impressive, but I want to highlight some stats involving the attacking third due to my prediction for this match. Milan have scored at least two goals in 20 of their past 21 Serie A games and have been extremely efficient in front of goal. They are also on a 22-match unbeaten run in the league, with their most recent loss coming against Genoa in March before the COVID shutdown.
For Parma, I am a fan of how they play on the counter-attack with the likes of Gervinho and Yann Karamoh, but there are certainly question marks at the back which can be very vulnerable. Expect the league leaders to expose Parma’s defensive frailties and put in another good performance.
AC Milan over 1.5 goals combined with Genoa +2.5
Genoa versus Juventus
This is a situational pick. I’m going with Genoa to start the game with a two-goal buffer.
Nine-time defending Serie A champions Juventus come into this game off a high from Thursday’s big 3-0 win over Barcelona in Spain to top G in the Champions League. As I mentioned in my NFL predictions article, teams coming off such a big high are a great value spot to go against them.
I haven’t been convinced by the football new coach Andrea Pirlo has tried to implement. If it wasn’t for Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata’s individual brilliance to bail them out in games, they would be sitting in a much worse position.
In the past five head-to-head meetings in the league, Juve have won three (all within a two-goal margin), lost one and drawn one.
Genoa like to sit back and absorb pressure from the top sides and look to hit on the break. Watch out for Juventus loanee Marko Pjaca to impose himself on the game to prove a point against his parent club.
The Old Lady haven’t found their form just yet to easily open up defences that drop deep, such as against Torino last round.
Expect a closer encounter than some people may think.
Genoa +2.5 combined with AC Milan over 1.5 goals
Atalanta versus Fiorentina
This game has value written all over it from a Fiorentina perspective.
Much like the Genoa-Juve matchup, this encounter is another situational spot as Atalanta have just pulled off a big win against Ajax away from home to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages.
I think this will take a lot out of Atalanta and they won’t be 100 per cent ready to play at their best. The overachievers from Bergamo have not impressed me this season in the league as they are scoring far fewer goals and don’t have that same cutting edge about them.
On the other hand, Fiorentina have been poor themselves and are fighting to stay above the relegation zone after sacking coach Beppe Iachini and replacing him with veteran Cesare Prandelli.
Although the team from Florence have been underwhelming since his arrival, I’m a big believer in Prandelli’s coaching style and his ability to get the best out of his players.
For those reasons, I can see Fiorentina getting a result from this game.
Fiorentina double chance (win or draw)
Everton versus Chelsea
It was such an awe-inspiring start from Everton as they won their first four games of the EPL season and drew with reigning champions Liverpool in Round 5.
Everton fans haven’t experienced such exciting football for a long time and with the likes of James Rodriguez, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, the future was looking bright. However, they have been rattled by a few bad performances which has led to them winning just one game in their past six in the league.
On the other side, there’s Chelsea, who will be refreshed after manager Frank Lampard put out a second-string side in the Champions League midweek. The Blues were inconsistent in the first few games of the season, especially at the back, however, I feel they are now finding their feet and playing some of their best football . They have won four of their past six in the league and drew with Tottenham and Manchester United.
The signing of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to replace out-of-form Kepa Arrizabalaga has helped solidify the defensive unit as they have kept four clean sheets and conceded only two goals in those six matches.
I fancy this spot for Lampard’s men.
Bayer Leverkusen versus Hoffenheim
Heading over to Germany now, this Monday morning (AEDT) clash is sure to provide viewers with an entertaining game.
Leverkusen are undefeated in the Bundesliga, sitting second on the table and they’ve impressed me, despite losing attacking midfielder Kai Havertz to Chelsea in the recent transfer window. In saying that, value stands out for me on the Hoffenheim side, as they too have played an exciting brand of football and love to score goals, hitting the back of the net seven times in their past two outings.
The last ten meetings in the league between the two sides has seen Hoffenheim win five, draw three and lose two. Leverkusen have failed to win in the last four. Although Hoffenheim sit in tenth place, they are underrated and proved they have the firepower when they beat Bayern Munich 4-1 earlier in the season.
Keep an eye out for Croatian striker Andrej Kramaric who has seven goals to his name in ten games in the Bundesliga. He will perform well and impact the game with his great hold-up play and test the Leverkusen defence, who have been a tad overrated.
Expect goals, entertainment and Hoffenheim to avoid defeat.
Hoffenheim double chance (win or draw)
Real Madrid versus Atletico Madrid
This prediction is more about statistical data more than anything else.
In La Liga, Atletico have found their defensive unity once again which has helped them be feared by the top European clubs over the years. After ten games played this season, they have been able to keep an astonishing eight clean sheets and have let just two goals in, and as a result, they have been rewarded with top spot on the ladder.
Coach Diego Someone prides himself on this rugged style of football that leaves nothing on the pitch and fights with hunger and grit. They have also found the balance in attack which has often been a criticism of this team, with the addition of striker Luis Suarez partnering up with rising star Joao Felix.
The past five head-to head meetings say it all. There have been three 0-0 draws along with 1-0 and 3-1 victories for Real Madrid. Goals are going to be hard to come by in this highly anticipated Madrid derby, especially due to the inconsistency that Real Madrid have shown this season in the attacking third.
Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak is a big reason why we will witness very few goals. A statistic that is difficult to comprehend is the Slovenian shot-stopper has kept 105 clean sheets in 201 La Liga appearances.
Both teams will play not to lose this game rather than play to win it . Simeone will set up his side to defend and not lose their comfortable lead at the top of the standings.
A low scoring affair is definitely on the cards.
Under 2.5 goals