Form Labs Weekender

COURTESYFOOTBALL FORM LABS

Cardiff v Man City – Sunday 16:00, BBC 1

Cardiff are part of the battle for the runners-up spot behind Wolves in the Championship and so could well be hosting Pep’s men again next season in the league. Recent history suggests they don’t have much of a chance of an upset here though as Premier League teams are W10-D1-L3 when travelling to Championship opposition at this stage since 2013/14. However, the hosts did manage to score in 11 of these games and so we’re backing a City win and both teams to score.

City were without a clean sheet in five in all competitions before their visit to Bristol City in midweek, but they’ve had no problems at the other end of the pitch as they’ve scored at least three times in four of these five games. Cardiff have netted at least four times in two of their last three in all competitions too and so everything points to there being goals. Furthermore, seven of the 10 trips Premier League sides have made to Championship teams in the 4th Round since 2014/15 have seen Over 3.5.

Guardiola picked a strong side in the victory over Burnley in the last round as Aguero, Sterling and Sane all lined up. However, those three are all understandably at the forefront of the betting and so instead we’re interested in the other goalscorer against the Clarets – Bernardo Silva. The Portuguese netted in the defeat at Anfield from the bench but is likely to be given a starting berth here, and he also opened the scoring in City’s League Cup away win over Leicester in December.

Weekend Team News Analysis

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

Chievo v Juventus – Saturday, 19:45, BT Sport 1

Paulo Dybala (FW), Juventus

Juve have won 13 of 14 unbeaten games Dybala has started this term but they’ve won just four of the last nine he’s failed to line up in going back to the end of last season. Indeed, they average 2.3 goals per game in the 40 matches he’s started since the start of last season but this drops 20% in the 19 he didn’t. Chievo have held Roma and Napoli to goalless draws in the last two visits from top-six opponents, while Juve have scored more than once in just two of their last seven, and one of those was at second from bottom Verona. With Higuain not producing the same sort of numbers he usually does this term, Juve may well struggle to break down Chievo and so we’re backing Under 2.5 Goals.

Best Bet Under 2.5 Goals at 2.16

Crotone v Cagliari – Saturday, 14:00
Joao Pedro (AM), Leonardo Pavoletti (FW), Nicolo Barella (CM), Marco Sau (FW), Cagliari

Joao Pedro, Pavoletti and Barella are all suspended for Cagliari, whilst Sau is an injury doubt. The former three are Cagliari’s three top scorers this term while they’ve lost 14 of the 21 (67%) games Sau has failed to start since the start of last season compared to just 18 of 38 (45%) he did start. Furthermore, six of the eight away defeats he’s missed have been to nil compared to five of 12 with him. After a tough run of fixtures that saw them go to Lazio and Milan and host Napoli, Crotone eased to a 3-0 win at Verona last time out and prior to that tough run they won at home to Chievo. Cagliari have lost four of their last five and 20 of their 29 road games since the start of last season and so we’re backing the hosts.

Best Bet: Crotone Win to nil at 3.9

Barcelona v Alaves – Sunday, 19:45, Sky Sports Tomas Pina (CM), Alaves

Alaves have lost five of the six games Pina has failed to start this term, failing to score in four of these, whilst they’re W5-D1-L8 with Pina in the team as they’ve failed to score in just two of his last 11 starts. Barca’s 5-0 win over Betis was the fifth time in six games that they’ve won without conceding and at home, six of their eight wins this term have been accompanied by a clean sheet. Alaves recorded a famous win here last season but they’ve lost and failed to score in six of their nine away games this term, including at Atletico in their only trip to a top-six side to date. We’re backing Barca to win to nil once again.

Best Bet: Barcelona Win to Nil at 1.83

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