Okay, we'll get straight to it and give you it straight. We haven't picked any big games for this week's Continental Breakfast. We've picked absolutely mahoosive ones! Title hopes and European football in the 2017-18 campaign could come down to one slip up, one moment of magic, a howler from a goalkeeper or a wonder strike. It's exciting times and even more exciting to be taking in jaunts to Italy, Spain and Germany for a fantastic foursome. Jump on board and come fly with us...
A juicy Turin derby is on the cards this weekend as Torino and Joe Hart make the short trip across the city to take on their big brother that is Juventus. The Italian giants are once again having a fine season and look likely to be the ones lifting the Serie A title come the end of the campaign now. They’re also doing well in the Champions League, so if Carlsberg did decent seasons then this would be pretty close to it.
Juve are absolutely dominant at home this season, winning all 17 of their games on home turf and conceding just eight goals as well – the plus side of having Gianluigi Buffon in goal and the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli, we suppose!
What We Sayin’?
Easy pickings for Juve, who’ll earn the bragging rights once again. They’re so good at home this result leaves very little doubt. Torino are shaky on the road, too. A 3-0 home win is a bold shout, but that’s what we’ll be egging on at a pretty decent 10/1.
Roma are the closest challengers to table-topping Juve and this week they go from one fine city to another as they make their journey to the San Siro to take on fallen giant AC Milan, who have been pretty average all season. They’re three points ahead of rivals Inter Milan in sixth place and eight points off fourth place Napoli with only four games remaining. It’s pretty much must win for the hosts if they are to creep into Europe for next season.
Roma are pretty good on the road. Only Napoli and Juventus are better than the club from the capital are on their travels. They have, however, only one once in their last five trips to the San Siro to take on AC, which may cause concern. The positives? Well despite a slightly surprising defeat to city rivals Lazio in the feisty Rome derby last week, they have won seven and drawn one of their last nine games.
What We Sayin’?
We’ll cut to the chase and tell you Roma will get back to winning ways – especially with the big clash against Juventus next week on the horizon. That one could be massive. Their focus will have to remain on AC though and we fancy them for a 1-3 away win at 12/1.
We’re surprised at these odds considering Hoffenheim are no mugs and are currently higher than Dortmund in the Bundesliga. Whilst their home form is the best in Germany, away from home they’re pretty damn decent too. Only Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig have better records on the road than them in terms of points gained, in fact the visitors have only lost three times.
Dortmund are yet to lose at home domestically this term, which is good going, and they do know a win will see them leapfrog their opponents into third place in the Bundesliga, which is some sort of incentive despite the fact the title has already been wrapped up by Bayern. Again.
What We Sayin’?
Hoffenheim will be aiming to cling on to third until the end of the season, which would represent an excellent season for them. They’ll dig in and nab a draw. Back the draw straight up at 4s, if you’re feeling slightly more dangerous then get behind a 1-1 result at 7/1.
Remember when the football world was shocked when Villarreal were relegated to the Segunda a few seasons back, just a couple of years after pushing what was a very decent Arsenal side close in the Champions League? Well, they’re back again and hunting down a place in that exact competition again, just without Juan Roman Riquelme – and what a player he was, by the way.
Ironically, Riquelme was a former Barcelona player and it’s at the Nou Camp where two of his old employers will battle it out for very different reasons this weekend. Villarreal – as we’ve said - are chasing European football, but Barca have their eyes on the slightly bigger prize – the title. They sit at the top of the tree, but Real Madrid – level on points with the Catalans – do still have a game in hand on them.
What We Sayin’?
You can’t really bet against Barcelona, can you? They haven’t lost to Villarreal in the last 17 meetings – winning 11 of those clashes. Dropped points here would be catastrophic, but there’s usually goals in this one. We’ll precisely predict a solid 4-1 home win at 11/1.
*All prices subject to fluctuation. Make sure to check StanJames.com for up to date prices.
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