Form Labs Weekender

COURTESYFOOTBALL FORM LABS

Brighton v Everton, Sunday 13:30

It’s clear that any chance Brighton have of survival will be reliant on their home form. They’ve lost three of four winless games on the road where they’ve scored just one goal, but at the Falmer Stadium they’ve beaten Newcastle and West Brom and only lost to Man City after holding them out for 70 minutes.

The Seagulls are certainly well-organised under Chris Houghton and should cause problems for this Everton side that have failed to score in four of their last five during their poor start to the season. Albeit they had a tough run of fixtures to begin with, the manner of the defeats and their most recent loss at home to Burnley together with some dire performances in the Europa League have called for some to question Ronald Koeman’s position at the club. Indeed, the Toffees are winless in their last 11 away from Goodison and have an overall away record of W4-D7-L11 under the Dutchman, and so this looks an excellent opportunity to take them on at what looks a short price.

Everton have drawn five of six winless trips to promoted sides over the past two seasons and while we wouldn’t put anyone off the draw, we’ll side with Brighton +0.25 on the Asian Handicap at 1.87 as it wouldn’t surprise us to see the hosts claim all three points. With the likes of Bolasie and Barkley out injured and Sandro Ramirez yet to score this season, we think Everton may well struggle to find the net here- the home clean sheet’s a 3.1 shot.

Atletico Madrid v Barcelona, Saturday 19:45

Many expected Barca to struggle this term after the sale of Neymar but it is in fact they not Real who have a five point lead at the top of La Liga having won all seven of their matches. However, they’ve played only one side currently in the top half, Real Betis on the opening day, and so this will be by far their toughest test to date and better indicator of their title credentials. They travel to an Atletico side that are in excellent defensive form having conceded just once in their last five and whilst they remain unbeaten, they’ve drawn three times and so are already six points off the Catalans.

Atleti have a new home this term but it’s normal order for Simeone’s men as they’ve won their opening two games at the Wanda Metropolitano 1-0 and 2-0. They’ll be hoping for a change of fortune in their new stadium when hosting their main title rivals as their record against Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Vicente Caldron under Diego Simeone was just W1-D3-L6, which includes four defeats from five winless matches if you strip away Real. Indeed, three of the top five won at the Calderon last term and since they were thoroughly outplayed and eventually beaten when Chelsea visited in the Champions League, Barca look a fair price at 2.65.

Messi continued his sparkling form by almost single-handedly securing Argentina’s spot at the World Cup, netting a hat-trick against Ecuador earlier in the week. He has 22 goals in 21 La Liga appearances against Atleti since 2006/07 but he might have to wait until the second half to break down the Atleti defence. Although Barca have netted 23 times this season only one of these has come in the first-half on the road, while the first has also been goalless in each of Barcelona’s last five league visits to Atleti. With that in mind, we’ll back Draw/Barcelona HT/FT at 6.5.

Weekend Team News Analysis

N.B. Appearances mentioned below relate to starting and completing an hour unless otherwise specified.

Watford v Arsenal

Shkodran Mustafi (CB), Arsenal
Since joining the club early last season Mustafi has started 31 of 43 matches for Arsenal and they’ve conceded 29% more goals per game when he’s been missing. That includes six away matches he’s missed and they’ve failed to keep a clean sheet in any of those. Furthermore, Laurent Koscielny and Saed Kolasinac are both due to face late fitness tests while Calum Chambers remains sidelined.
The Gunners are W4-D2-L9 in their last 15 road games and they come up against a Watford side that have looked much-improved under Marco Silva- we’re siding with them on the Double Chance at 2.38

Crystal Palace v Chelsea

Wilfried Zaha (RW), Christian Benteke (FW) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (AM), Crystal Palace
Zaha is close to a return but is unlikely to be rushed back this week, while Benteke is out for another month and Loftus-Cheek is unavailable against his parent club. The last eight times Palace have lined up without Zaha have all ended in defeat and all without scoring. Benteke has only missed three matches since joining but again all those have resulted in defeats to nil.
Chelsea are W13-D2-L0 on the road under Conte excluding trips to top-six opponents with nine of these victories without conceding- we’re backing the Blues to win to nil once again at 2.38

Werder Bremen v Borussia Monchengladbach

Max Kruse (FW), Werder Bremen
Kruse will be out for another month and since the start of last season Werder have scored 1.78 goals per game in his 27 starts but just 1.14 gpg in the 14 matches he’s missed.
Gladbach are yet to win on the road but they’ve picked up a point at top-six sides Leipzig and Augsburg, while they won five of their final nine road games last term, including a 1-0 win at Bremen, who have now lost six of their last eight at home to top-half opponents. We’re backing an away win at 2.6

Putting these three in a treble gives you a tasty 13/1 shot

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