Saturday Soccer Stats

25/04/2015 | By | Reply More
PREVIEW: Espanyol v Barcelona (Sat, 15:00)

With six games remaining Barcelona have the advantage in the title race against Real Madrid. But it’s only a slender lead and while Espanyol have tended to be woeful at this time of year in recent seasons – in their final eight games since 2009/10 their record is W7-D11-L24 with a greater than 50% loss if you’d backed them in all those matches – you can guarantee they’ll be motivated for this clash.

Unfortunately for the home side their record against the Big Two doesn’t give much cause for optimism. Since 2009/10 they’ve managed just four draws from 22 games against the Big Two, including a W0-D3-L7 record at home. However, Barca have scored just four goals here in their last three visits. Espanyol are also in decent form having gone six games without defeat whilst keeping four clean sheets. They’ve lost just three home games all season and recently held Atletico to a goalless draw.

Defence is certainly Espanyol’s priority as they’ve conceded fewer goals at home than all apart from the top five, and only Granada and Getafe’s home games have seen fewer goals this season. Furthermore, each of their last five home games against the Big Two have had fewer than three goals and nine of the 10 since 2009/10 have had fewer than two first-half goals.

Barcelona rode their luck to beat Valencia last weekend but they’ve won six of their last seven away matches with their only failure coming at Sevilla, who own the longest unbeaten home streak in the league. Moreover, they’ve won 11 of their 15 trips to middle-third teams since the start of last season with four draws. Interestingly, eight of their most recent 11 trips to middle-third teams had fewer than three goals with six of the games being goalless at half-time and nine having fewer than two first-half goals. So expectations of a high-scoring encounter should probably be kept in check.

Espanyol have the potential to make life difficult for their neighbours here and with a draw being like a win for them in this fixture the 6.5 to finish all-square looks to offer some value. 
However, the half-time draw at 2.9, Draw/Barcelona HT/FT double at 4.5 and Under 3.0 Goals at 2.06 look the best bets here.

PREVIEW: Arsenal v Chelsea (Sun, 16:00)

Chelsea did what Chelsea always seem to do last weekend, as they beat Manchester United despite only having 30% of possession. That win puts the destination of this season’s Premier League title beyond any doubt, reflected by the Chelsea players’ celebration after the game. Arsenal, meanwhile are exhibiting their usual end of season good form, silencing those who suggested early in the season that this might finally be the year that Wenger’s side don’t finish in the top-four. This is undoubtedly the best Arsenal side in recent years and Wenger will be keen to establish how his side stack up against the benchmark of a Premier League winning side, in the hope that should this match be taking in a year’s time the outcome might have a significant bearing on who wins the league.

Since suffering their only home defeat of the season against Manchester United, Arsenal have gone on to win their last nine home matches and have led at half-time in the last eight of these games. Despite this impressive record, questions must be raised about the calibre of sides that they have beaten: the only win against a top-six side amongst those was against Liverpool in their last home game, but it should be noted that Brendan Rogers was unable to call upon the services of Skrtel, Gerrard, and Sturridge to start that game. As well as the defeat to Man United, Arsenal have recorded draws against Spurs and Man City in their other home games against this season’s top-six teams. Furthermore, Wenger’s struggles against Mourinho have been well-documented; not winning any of his 12 meetings with the Special One in all competitions (D5-L7).

After something of a blip following their Carling Cup success that saw Chelsea scraping a 1-0 win over West Ham, being knocked out of the Champions League by PSG, and being held to a draw at home by Southampton, Chelsea have now won their last four matches, as well their last five on the road. Nonetheless, there is still a sense that Chelsea have been grinding out results of late, with their last seven wins by just one goal, a far cry from the early parts of the season. What cannot be argued, however, is that Mourinho knows how to get the job done, particularly in the ‘big games’: if we look at games against Man City, Liverpool, Man United, and Arsenal since Mourinho returned to Chelsea last season, as well as games against Liverpool, Man United, and Arsenal from his first spell in charge, Mourinho has remarkably only lost two of these 32 matches, with the defeats coming away in 2005/06 to Man United and in 2006/07 to Liverpool.

With Mourinho’s record in these big games in mind, and particularly his record against Wenger’s Arsenal, 
backing Chelsea +0.25 at 1.91 on the Asian Handicap looks to be the way to approach this game. It is also noteworthy that 12 of Mourinho’s last 13 away ‘big games’ had fewer than three goals and as such, Under 2.5 goals at 1.75 looks a decent price. Furthermore, Chelsea have scored first in their 20 games in all competitions so far this year and a price of 2.3 about them to make it 21 is worth taking, considering Chelsea scored first in their trips to Man City and Man United this season, as well as in their home games against the Manchester clubs and Arsenal. Despite the fact that Chelsea already have the league sewn up, Mourinho will surely stick to his usual blueprint in the big games by playing Zouma or Ramires alongside Matic in central midfield, as he will be reluctant to relinquish his unbeaten record against his old foe Wenger. 

Player Analysis:

Using Form Lab Black’s player analysis tool we’ve looked for some important players that are going to be missing this weekend. 

Stoke v Sunderland
Wes Brown and Sebastian Larsson, Sunderland

Larsson has missed 16 games since the start of last season and without him Sunderland have lost 13 times. Sunderland have lost 36% of the 42 matches Brown has played in this time whilst conceding just 1.19 gpg but in the 28 games he’s missed they’ve lost 64% of the time whilst conceding 2.07 gpg – a 74% increase. 
Sunderland have lost four of their last six away games and it is 1.95 they lose again here.

These stats are brought to your by our friends over at Football Form Labs. Check out their site and the powerful software that sits behind these comments

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Category: Football trading strategies

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I left a good job in the consumer technology industry to go a trade on Betfair for a living way back in June 2000. I've been here ever since pushing very boundaries of what's possible on betting exchanges and loved every minute of it.

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