Following the international break, your weekly dose of Continental Breakfast is back, people, and this week we have some big clashes to preview once again - a derby in Spain and one in France, whilst the likes of former giants Valencia and AC Milan are two of the other four sides we take a look at this weekend. Anyway, we'll stop waffling and let you get your teeth into it...
Two unbeaten sides meet at the Mestalla on Saturday with both hosts Valencia and visitors Atletico Madrid having an identical won one and drawn one record after two games of the campaign. It’s been a number of seasons now that Valencia have struggled to get back to their glory days and surely that has to change at some point. It also shows that there demise wasn’t all down to Phil and Gary Neville, too.
However, they have lost their last four clashes against Atleti and scoring just once in those defeats. The visitors were boosted earlier in the week with news that boss Diego Simeone has extended his contract with the club until 2020 and the Argentine coach will be hoping to celebrate that with the three points on the road.
What We Sayin’?
We’re going for an Atleti victory for this one and with it to continue their great record against Los Che. They’ll also be hoping that this is the start of a good first half of the season – at least following last term’s poor beginning. A 0-2 away win at 9s.
A Catalan derby to contend with in the north of Spain and despite many claiming Barcelona are in a crisis, they have won two from their first two La Liga games. Who needs Neymar, eh? Yes, we all know the Brazilian has departed for pastures new, but the capture of Ousmane Dembele from Dortmund looks the perfect replacement both for the here and now, and for the future. The France international is set to make his debut for Barca on Saturday, and he could be in the same side as ex-Tottenham flop Paulinho, too.
Espanyol have a little hoodoo against their Catalan neighbours and are without a victory in this clash in the last 15 meetings. In fact their last victory at the Nou Camp in a competitive fixture came all the way back in 2009. It’s been a pretty poor start for Espanyol so far without a win in any of their opening two fixtures and with Barca up this weekend, we doubt their luck will change, either.
What We Sayin’?
We’re behind a debut goal for Dembele. He’s 6/5 to score anytime in the derby, which doesn’t look a bad price for an attacking player like him.
Another derby this one, set in the luxurious location of Nice in the south of France. Attempting to Google search the distance between the two – which turns out to be just eight miles – the third automatic search leads to ‘Nice to Monaco by helicopter’, which shows you how wealthy you have to be to live in that neck of the woods. Speaking of wealthy, Monaco have been left to count their notes following the sales of Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Benjamin Mendy to English clubs and the loan to buy move of Kylian Mbappe to domestic rivals Paris SG.
Hosts Nice went very close last season to shocking everyone and they’ve managed to keep hold of their star names, with the likes of Mario Balotelli, Jean Michael Serri and Wylan Cyprien still with them, whilst also adding proven quality in the form of Dutch legend Wesley Sneijder, whose experience should really help what looks like a very youthful squad.
What We Sayin’?
The departures haven’t hampered Monaco’s start. Their one of two sides who have a 100% record – along with PSG – and have scored an average of three-and-a-bit goals per game, conceding just four. So, if our maths is correct, surely a 1-3 Monaco win is certain to come off at 10/1, right?
Two of the Italian big hitters clash in the capital as the new look AC Milan make the trip to Rome and with two wins from their opening two matches in Serie A. They’ll tackle a Lazio side who have a slightly worse record of a win and a draw from their couple of games, but with both sides unbeaten, this could be a tricky game to call.
Lazio flogged star winger Balde Keita to Monaco last week in a late and somewhat surprising deal considering the calibre of clubs after the midfield man’s signature and it means the pressure will be on others, such as Felipe Anderson, Nani and Ciro Immobile to produce the goods in his absence. It’s certain to be a lively atmosphere in the Stadio Olimpico – as it always is when a big game like this one comes around.
What We Sayin’?
Milan have looked strong in their opening couple of games and will fancy their chances at getting the three points in this one. They have a focal point in Andre Silva in attack and a rock at the back in the form of Leonardo Bonucci. Milan towinand BTTS at 17/4 would be our selection for this one.
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