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Juventus vs. AC Milan (05.03.2011)

Prediction

Juventus Juventus vs. AC Milan AC Milan

Saturday, March 5th 2011, 20.45 CET


Just a reminder, I will only be watching the second half of this game, since there’s an overlap with ADO Den Haag vs. NEC Nijmegen, where I have a 3-unit bet. For this italian clash of the titans I’ll go for a 2-unit bet. Let’s look over the two teams:

Juventus Torino are not in their best shape because of their (embarassing) loss at home against Bologna (11th place in Serie A) with 0-2. And even before that, they lost 2-0 against Lecce, who occupies the 16th (!) place in Serie A. To put it short: out of their last 6 matches, they won 2 (one against European champions Inter at home!) and lost 4. And they’re on the 7th place in Serie A, just under the line (and 5 points away) for the Europa League qualifications. There aren’t many games left this season, so the “vecchia donna” will desperately try to get into Europa League.

I am not very confident in Juventus’ coach, Gigi del Neri, and I tend to agree with some forum posters who say that they’re overrated. I mean, del Neri was sacked from Porto before the season began! They had a bit of luck winning against Inter last month, and their absentee list has a lot of important players:

  • Mohamed Sissoko, one of their best midfielders, out with an injury.
  • Aquilani, a world class striker unavailable for tonight.
  • Quagliarella, Juve’s star player.
  • Salihamidzic
  • Pepe
  • Grosso

In their defense, they don’t have many alternatives: they could start with Sorensen, which is not their best player, especially not against Ibrahimovic or Cassano. Their only consolation is that they are at home and they’re well rested for tonight’s game.

AC Milan is without a doubt one of the top Italian teams both at home and in Europe. They’re currently the leaders of Serie A, at a comfortable 5-point cushon from their Milanese rivals, Inter. Overall fantastic performance this season, and their last game against SSC Napoli (3rd place in Serie A) ended in a home victory for the Milanese side at 3-0. Their stats are not bad either: in the last 6 games they won 3 times, drew 2 times and lost once (in CL against Tottenham at home!).

I would say this is not the best time for a derby match for them: their last (exhausting) match against Napoli was 6 days ago, and 4 days from today they’ll face Tottenham again in the UK and revenge that 0-1 loss in Italy. Even so, a loss or draw today wouldn’t be a huge disappointment: they are still far ahead of Inter, and Juventus is a strong team when playing at home. And surely Juventus’s motivation for winning is greater than AC Milan’s. But not their strenght, though.

Compared to Juventus’s player crisis, AC Milan has more than enough players on their bench to substitute Antonini, and perhaps rest Robinho. Plus, the milanese have a great attack, too great for Juventus’s crippled defense. Nonetheless, I think in this game motivation will matter more than strength. A tie at 3.2 is really attractive on Bwin, and with Juventus desperate to win and repair their reputation, I think they have what it takes to earn 0ne point tonight.

Prediction: DRAW for 2 units

ADO Den Haag vs. NEC Nijmegen (05.03.2011)

 

Prediction

ADO Den Haag ADO Den Haag vs. NEC NijmegenNEC Nijmegen

Saturday, March 5th 2011, 19.45 CET

 

Closer to home, in the Dutch Eredivisie, ADO Den Haag is facing NEC Nijmegen this evening. Although many Dutch punters focused on the easier-to-predict games today, like Excelsior Rotterdam vs. PSV Eindhoven or FC Twente vs. NAC Breda, I’m really interested in how tonight’s game between ADO and NEC ends up. It’s true, the teams are 10 points and 5 places away in the Eredivisie, but ADO didn’t win their last 2 matches, and NEC didn’t lose their last 6. And with important changes in the teams’ line-up tonight, it will no doubt be an interesting match to see in a pub. And although the last half is overlapping the Italian derby between Juventus and AC Milan, I’m sticking to the Eredivisie tonight 🙂

 

ADO Den HaagADO Den Haag, now this is a side with a lot to talk about. If we consider it statistics-wise, during their last 6 matches, they won 4, tied one and lost one. And they’re currently on the 6th place in Eredivise, in front of FC Utrecht and (the disappointment) Feyenoord. I think it’s fair to say that ADO Den Haag has been one of the most constant teams in Eredivisie this year. They’re now in the play for the playoffs for the Europa league. There aren’t big chances that they make it to the 3rd place and secure a place in the Europa League, and teams like FC Utrecht and Heerenven are desperately trying to get in the playoffs.

They are constant indeed, and rather solid, but tonight they’re missing two key players:

  • Frantisek Kubik, ADO’s Slovakian striker, who is out with an injury.
  • Christian Kum, the German-born Dutch central/left defender, who is suspended.

These losses are tragic for ADO Den Haag, I believe. Take Christian Kum: this season he’s been a real pillar in his team’s defense. And now, when NEC Nijmegen are bringing in the Belgian start striker Björn Vleminckx, the royal city’s defense has a lot to worry about.

And what about Frantisek Kubik? What would Dmitri Bulykin do without his perfect team-mate in the attack? With a crippled defense (which had real problems during their last game against Breda), ADO Den Haag will try to compensate with their attack. But that’s (maybe less) crippled too. And with competition heating for the playoff spots, they have to come up with something that will keep them there.

 

NEC NijmegenNEC Nijmegen. They are specialized in drawing, for some reason. They drew 5 of their last 6 games, and they didn’t score in only one game. That’s ok, the team is not one of the kn0wn-forces in the Eredivisie, and they sit on a comfortable 11th place. So they’re safe from relegation, but they’re still far from those playoff places: at 8 points away from the closest playoff spot, they still have to get ahead of Utrecht, NAC Breda and challenge Roda just to get there. This may seem a bit too much right now, when the Eredivisie is slowly coming to an end, but it’s not impossible, and Nijmegen knows that.

I had always thought NEC Nijmegen have difficulties facing opponents with a “fighting” mentality. But they tied against FC Utrecht 1-1 in Nijmegen, and it is a well known fact (maybe only in the Netherlands) that Utrecht, like ADO Den Haag, are real fighters (mainly because they always fight for the playoff seats, where the competition is very intense). They had lost 0-4 in Utrecht previously, so that’s an improvement.

Their line-up is better than before: they recovered a lot of players injured previously, and they will use the services of the Belgian-born striker Björn Vleminckx, their main weapon against ADO Den Haag’s crippled defense. Plus, NEC can also rely on the Danish midfielder Zimling and on Sibum to keep things in order at the middle of the field.

 

With ADO Den Haag’s crippled defense and NEC Nijmegen’s good attack, NEC must score at least once. They’re not the favourites though, according to bookmaker Bwin (where ADO is set at 1.80 and NEC at 3.75). Maybe I’m being a bit too optimistic, but I’m going for an Over 3.5 goals at 2.55 on Bwin for 3 units. I couldn’t predict the winner here, but NEC has a good chance of getting out of their draw depression.

 

Prediction: Over 3.5 goals for 3 units

Newcastle United vs. Everton FC (05.03.2011)

 

Prediction

Newcastle Uinted Newcastle United vs. Everton FC Evertone

Saturday, March 5th 2011, 16.00 CET


Although it’s not the highlight of the Premier League this weekend (in favour of Liverpool – Man Utd, of course), the clash between Newcastle United and Everton FC looks promising. I’ve read a lot of debates on the sportsbetting forums last evening and this morning about this game, so I’m eager to share my point of view. Lately, the odds dropped for Newcastle amids comments on the forums that it was not fair for the teams to be rated evenly.

 

Newcastle UnitedNewcastle United, a team well-rested before tonight’s game, but without a strong morale: during their last 6 games (all in PL), they won one (away against Birmingham on 15.02), lost one (away against Fulham on 02.02) and drew 4 times. Their game against Arsenal on 05.02 (home, score 4-4) was a blast, and Newcastle really showed that they can take on anyone while home. They did tie against Bolton at home recently though, but playing in 10 in the last 45 minutes.

Here’s something to think about: Newcastle haven’t lost to Everton since a 1-0 defeat in the 2000/2001 season! They’re on the 9th place in Premier League at the moment with 4 wins, 6 draws and 4 losses. That’s not that bad, and they’re a point away from the 7th place, so winning tonight should be a chance not to be missed.

They’re missing a lot of players though. As one gambling site put it, “the injury list looks like something from the American civil war”. Let’s take a look at the likely absentees:

  • Shola Ameobi (broken cheek)
  • Joey Barton, likely to be absent but I’m not sure. His negociations with the club aren’t going very well and he missed the last game.
  • Hatem Ben Arfa, likely to be absent as well.
  • Ryan Taylor, suspended.
  • Dan Gosling
  • Danny Guthrie
  • Stephen Ireland
  • Tamas Kadar
  • Alan Smith

Overall, Newcastle United has great team spirit when they need to (we’ve seen that against Arsenal), they’re well rested and they’re playing home. Plus, out of the last 10 home games, they only lost twice!

EvertonEverton FC seems to have more problems than their rivals before tonight’s game. They lost away against Reading just 2 days ago with one goal difference in an FA Cup match, so their morale is bad. Two day’s is not enough to get ready for a game when playing at this level, but Everton proved to be unpredictable many times. After an away game lost 2-0 against Bolton, they beat Chelsea away 4-5! And looking at how unpredictable the Premier League has been this season, no result should be looked over!

The team have their own problems though: they lost 3 out of the last 4 away matches, and they have to deal with important injuries. I’m talking about two major injuries:

  • Marouane Fellaini, out with an ankle injury.
  • Tim Cahill, out with a foot injury.

With these players out, Everton’s coach doesn’t have many bright options to put on the attack. And it was obvious this season that Everton often had problems with their strikers. And they’re on the 11th place in the Premier League. And as the season closes in, they are pretty much clear from relegation, but they’re a lot of teams above them, so no chance in getting in the top 6 this season.

I’m glad the bookies sorted out this game and made Newcastle the favourites. Despite their many injuries, I think they have the right motivation and the right support from their fans to end the evening with a victory today. I’m betting 2 units on Newcastle to win (2.5 on Bwin), and 2 units on Over 2.5 goals (2.2 odds on Bwin).

Prediction: Newcastle to win for 2 units and over 2.5 for 2 units

VfB Stuttgart vs. FC Schalke 04 (05.03.2011)

 

Prediction

VfB Stuttgart VfB Stuttgart vs. FC Schalke 04 FC Schalke 04

Saturday, March 5th 2011, 15.30 CET



This one will surely be an interesting game to see, although the teams are not Bundesliga’s top teams. VfB Stuttgart, placed 17th in Bundesliga (out of 18 teams) is receiving FC Schalke 04, placed 10th. Let’s see where these teams come from:

 

VfB StuttgartVfB Stuttgart prepares its game home after a 0-2 away win against Eintracht Frankfurt (13) 6 days ago in Bundesliga. Although the win was somewhat predictable, it gave them a good morale and a lot of time to prepare the meeting with Schalke 04. They can’t be comfortable on the 17th place, so they will desperately try to win this one, helped by their fans at home.

The last games of VfB Stuttgart weren’t the best: although they come after an away win (which is great, since the team is way more comfortable home than away), they blew the double with Benfica in Europa Cup, losing 2-1 in Portugal and 0-2 in Germany. Note that they didn’t draw any of their last 6 games!

VfB Stuttgart faces some injuries, and some pretty major ones:

  • Jeronimo Cacau, who is unlikely to play.
  • Thomas Hajnal, out with a calf strain on Wednesday.
  • Mathieu Delpierre, the captain, was suspended for three matches.

They are clearly not in their best shape, but their morale and motivation are high enough to overturn Schalke 04, a team which didn’t go home since their game in Munich.

 

 

FC Schalke 04

FC Schalke 04, now this is an interesting team: they’re on the 10th place in Bundesliga, with many saying it’s been underperforming this season. They did beat Bayern Munich though: 3 days ago they won 0-1 in Munich! That must be a great morale booster for the team. After beating Munich, the team has now reached the final of the DFB Pokal, where they’ll face Duisburg (Bundesliga 2) in May. A win there and they’re in the Europa League next season!

However, the team hasn’t been home since their trip to Munich on March 2nd. After their won, the coach Felix Magath took them directly to Stuttgart to train for the next game. He may be right to do so, since the games are 3 days apart. But this leaves the team rather tired and already satisfied with their performance. Even if they go home with one or none points from Stuttgart, at least they beat Munich, and they’re place is not that bad in Bundesliga. Christoph Metzelder, FC Schalke 04’s captain said the team wants to confirm the earlier victory in Munich also in Stuttgart, so they’re not going to take a break.

FC Schalke 04 will pretty much start with the same team they did in Munich. One player is missing though:

  • Klaas Jan Huntelaar, the team’s Dutch goalscorer was injured at the knee in one of the team’s trainings.

There is some hope for VfB Stuttgart: the team below them, Borussia M’gladbach beat Schalke 04 2-1 at home on February 20th. And Schalke’s last game in Bundesliga wasn’t so great, with only a draw against Nuremberg.

The bookies are favouring VfB Stuttgart, but the odds difference is not that big. I would go for a tie at 3.4 (Bwin) for 4 units. Fingers crossed! 🙂

Prediction: DRAW for 4 Units

Betting plan for the weekend

This weekend has some promising matches all over Europe. There’s of course Liverpool vs. Man Utd on Sunday, and before that the italian “vecchia donna”, Juventus, meets at Torino the current Serie A leaders, AC Milan. It’s going to be a very enjoyable duel, but a pain in the ass to decide who to bet on for sure. So here are the matches I want to bet on this weekend:

Saturday

Vfb Stuttgart vs. FC Schalke 04

Newcastle United vs. Everton FC

ADO Den Haag vs. NEC Nijmegen

Juventus vs. AC Milan

Sunday

Liverpool FC vs. Manchester United

SC Freiburg vs. SV Werder Bremen

I’ll start browsing forums and statistics tomorrow before I make up my mind. You can find me on the most important sports betting forums. For a few of my mostly-used accounts, check the About section.