Matchweek 2 Preview

What a great start to the Premier League season we had as Manchester United, Man City, Arsenal, and Liverpool all get their wins while Chelsea, Southampton and Watford all underwhelmed. Sheffield got a surprise point away at Bournemouth while Leicester and Wolves drew in what was an a disappointing match. Brighton and Burnley both surprised everyone with 3-0 wins as well and currently sit 4th and 5th respectively.

This Season: 7-2-1 (+5.1 Units)
Matchweek 1: 7-2-1 (+5.1 Units)

We have another great slate of matches this week so let’s build on Matchweek 1.

Saturday, August 17th
7:30 am EST

Burnley @ Arsenal (TV: NBCSN) – Burnley are coming off their great result at home to Southampton where two Ashley Barnes goals guided them to a 3-0 win. Arsenal meanwhile had a somewhat dodgy win at Newcatle, but getting a clean sheet away from home with a ‘B’ squad was big (they had only 1 away clean sheet in 19 matches last season). I expect water to find its level as Arsenal will likely have Ozil and Kolasinac back with the rest of their ‘A’ squad and their return to the Emirates will surely spark some good form. I think Burnley regress to their poor away form from last season and in general and fall to Arsenal handily here. Arsenal -1.5 (-110).

10:00 am EST

Bournemouth @ Aston Villa (TV: CNBC) – Villa Park should be raucous for this one as Aston Villa host Bournemouth in their first home match in the Premier League. Bournemouth are coming off of a disappointing draw at home against Sheffield while Villa lost to Spurs 3-1, but showed some really positive flashes for the first 60 minutes. Bournemouth meanwhile had trouble against a newly promoted team who many believe will finish 20th. I love Villa in this match not just because of the home-field advantage but also because I think their aggressive attack can and will cause Bournemouth some issues. I’ll take Villa on the pickem line even with the juiced price. Aston Villa Pickem (-135).

West Ham @ Brighton – Brighton might have been the story of Matchweek 1 as they went to Watford and beat them 3-0. Yeah three goals is great but I think the fact that they kept the clean sheet is the biggest thing to take away from that game. West Ham aren’t a tall task and their 5-0 loss to City is surely an outlier, as they can surely end up fighting for a top 10 spot this season. I actually think Brighton regress just a bit while West Ham, who are desperate to get their first set of points, will come out of the gate firing. I’ll lean West Ham on the pickem line with the positive price. West Ham Pickem (+105).

Watford @ Everton – Just like West Ham, both of these teams will be desperate for points but for different reasons. Watford, coming off an embarrassing home loss to Brighton, are looking for their first points of the year and to not lay a goose egg after two matches. Everton are looking to build off of a draw at Palace where they had to hold on for the point after a Schneiderlin red card. Everton actually played well enough as they had a 1.22 xG (expected goals) and the majority of chances, but the last 15 minutes they were resorted to seeing out the draw. I’m not going to put my trust in Watford just yet and I’m expecting Everton to get three points here. Everton -0.5 (-135).

Newcastle United @ Norwich City – *checks notes*, ah more teams looking for points. Both of these teams might be fighting each other to survive come April and May and this could end up being a big match for both. Newcastle did not look good against Arsenal and their attack is of big worry to me. Norwich meanwhile actually held their own against Liverpool in that second half and even ended the match with an xG of 0.84, while Newcastle at home only mustered a 0.37 xG. I think Norwich get their first win of the season here against a Newcastle team who might take a while to find their identity. I also love their price at (+115). Norwich City -0.5, (+115).

Liverpool @ Southampton (TV: NBCSN) – I hate trying to predict what managers will do after a short week with travel (especially from Istanbul) but I can’t imagine Klopp plays his full starting XI. It is also being reported that Adrian, the keeper who has come in to replace the injured Alisson, was injured after the penalty shootout in Istanbul. This might now leave third string goalie Andy Lonergan, who has never played a Premier League match, the starting role for this match. Southampton meanwhile are coming off of a big loss at Burnley where their xG and almost all other stats actually outperformed their opponents but they still lost 3-0. That says a lot about their lack of execution but I think they have a lot of value as one-goal underdogs here. They’re home, playing an ill-rested and possibly weakened Liverpool team and they’ll be hungry to prove themselves. I’ll take the home dogs with a positive price. Southampton +1 (+110).

12:30 pm EST

Tottenham @ Manchester City (TV: NBC) – We get to the match of the weekend with two of the top six’s best squaring off in Manchester. City obviously are the team to catch this season but this would be a great moment for Spurs to gauge where they stand against the league’s best. But one thing that worried me about Spurs this past weekend was their poor start and how they allowed Villa to take it to them for a lot of the first half, at home no less. That won’t fly when playing City who can put multiple goals past you in the first 20 minutes. I think City will be the ones with the statement here at take it to Spurs who will find trouble getting a foothold early on in the match, eventually coming back to bite them with a possible large halftime deficit. Manchester City -1.5 (-105).

Sunday, August 18th
9:00 am EST

Crystal Palace @ Sheffield United (TV: NBCSN) – Sheffield look to build off their impressive draw in their first Premier League home match in twelve years. Palace meanwhile aren’t trying to build off their draw because they probably believe they should have gotten three points this past weekend. Points for Palace are much more of a necessity here than it is for Sheffield and that’s way I’ll take them on the pickem line. Crystal Palace Pickem (+105).

11:30 am EST

Leciester @ Chelsea (TV: NBCSN) – I can’t get a feel on this match at all. On one hand I think Leicester are massively improved and could be a team that top 6 teams should fear, but on the other hand Chelsea just impressed this week in the Super Cup. But then we go back to the concern of travel, rest and possible lineup changes for Chelsea and I’m hesitant to pick them. I also don’t think Leicester are ready to take three points from a team like Chelsea but the Foxes can make it really tough on them. So I’m going to try to pinpoint some value here and nail the draw which has a great price at well over 2/1. DRAW (+260).

Monday, August 19th
3:00 pm EST

Manchester United @ Wolves (TV: NBCSN) – This is a match that could rival City/Spurs for match of the week. Wolves were known top 6 killers last season and in the three times Wolves played United, they had 2 wins and 1 draw. United had a great start to the season with their big 4-0 win over Chelsea but I think they’re due for some sort of regression. Teams coming off of big wins and having to travel to tough opponents tend to find that regression and I think Wolves might be one of the last teams United want to see. Yes, Wolves had a Thursday Europa League qualifier match but they played a lot of reserves, it was at home and it might actually help them prep for this match since they’re getting a lot of their bench/reserve players some quality minutes. I’m taking the home dogs here in Wolves. Wolves +0.5 (-140).

That’s all for this weekend’s Premier League action. All of the marquee matches are at reasonable times (10:00 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm and 3:00 pm) this weekend so make sure you catch some footy and possibly make your wallet just a bit bigger on Monday morning.

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo 

Matchweek 34 Preview

Wednesday Recap:

  • Ajax and Juventus drew 1-1 in a match that either team could have won. Both teams passed up scoring chances all match, but a Ronaldo header right before halftime broke the deadlock after Ajax failed to track his run into the box. Ajax then responded with a goal right out of the gate in the second half, catching Juventus sleeping. It’s all up for grabs in the second leg.
  • Barcelona went into Manchester and dominated the first half, scoring a goal only 12 minutes in. The goal was built by a 48-pass build up where every player on the field touched the ball for Barcelona. They kept United at bay for the rest of the match and will be taking their one-goal lead with the away goal advantage back home for the second leg.

This Season’s Record: 184-154-42 (+8.4 Units)
4/10 UCL Quarterfinals: 3-0 (+4.3) Units)

A great Champions League Quarterfinals for me as I went 4-1 and completely nailed Wednesday predicting both games to a T (is that how you say it? Idk, we’ll carry on). Let’s see what we can get from this weekend.

Saturday, April 13th
German Bundesliga
9:30 am EST

Borussia Mochengladbach @ Hannover – Hannover are currently sitting at the basement of the Bundesliga and are on their way to being relegated. They’ll face a Gladbach team who are fighting for a chance to play in the Champions League next year, as they sit four points out of that final spot. Although they’ve hit a slight blip in form, I just don’t see them dropping points to a Hannover team who have gained points from a match once since mid January (going 1-10 in that span). I think Gladbach’s quality will show and they could honestly run away with this one. Gladbach (-1, -105).

English Premier League
10:00 am EST

Bournemouth @ Brighton – Both teams are in bad form going into this, as Brighton have had three straight losses in all competitions and Bournemouth with two straight. But two of Brighton’s losses came against Chelsea and City while Bournemouth’s came against Leicester and Burnley. Two things stand out to me here with the first being the disparity of Bournemouth’s away results compared to their home results. They stand in 10th in points at home but away from home they’re 16th with a record of 4-0-12, they have the most goals conceded with 37 and have the third worst goal differential.

The other thing that stands out to me is the fact that Brighton still have some work to do relegation-wise. They’re sitting tied for the last safe spot with a game in hand of Southampton and Cardiff, the two teams next to them. A win here would really help their race away from the relegation zone, especially with Cardiff having back-to-back away matches and then they are home to Liverpool. I like Brighton to go out and get a win, just a week shy of holding Man City to a 1-0 win in the FA Cup Semifinal, to all but assure their safety. Brighton (-0.5, +125).

Cardiff @ Burnley (TV: NBCSN) – Much like Brighton, Cardiff could really use a result here to help keep their race for survival alive. The only difference is that they’re going away from home to face a Burnley team who have won two straight against Wolves and Bournemouth. Adding to that, Cardiff have had real trouble this season allowing a large % of shots on target, ranking 5th most in defensive shots on target/shots (Def SoT/Sh) with 36%. Meanwhile Burnley rank 1st in scoring % at 53.7%, a stat which calculates the amount of goals per shot on target. Cardiff allowing a lot of shots this season versus a team who scores the most off of their shots on target does not bode well for a Cardiff team who have trouble scoring themselves, letting in the third most goals in the league this year.Burnley (-0.5, -110).

Everton @ Fulham – This match doesn’t look like a good one for Fulham. They’re already relegated, have lost 13 of their last 14 matches and are facing an Everton team who have won three straight against Chelsea, West Ham and Arsenal. According to Lowe Down Stats, they rank last in their Three Factors Ranking, an offensive and defensive combination of shots/96 mins, shots on target/shots and scoring %. Adding even more to that, they rank in last place in goal differential average. The only reason they hung around that long was because of a few good results after a managerial change earlier in the year. I think Everton will breeze through this one with the chance to get back to their usual spot of 7th place. Everton (-0.5, -125).

Italian Serie A
12:00 pm EST

Udinese @ Roma (TV: ESPNEWS) – This line almost feels like a trap with Roma as a one-goal favorite at home. I know Roma haven’t been themselves this season and only have two wins from their last seven, but they’re facing an Udinese team who have been even more below their average this season. Yes, Udinese are fighting for their lives towards the bottom of the table and are undefeated in their last three, but they’ve been beyond poor away from home this season with one win from 14 matches. Against the top clubs in Italy, Udinese have gone 1-1-7 with a -12 goal differential, and away from home have gone 0-1-3 with a -6 goal differential. Roma will also be fighting for something though, being only one points out of the last Champions League spot.

Adding to this, Roma’s home goal-scoring record is first in the league with 2.33 goals per game at the Stadio Olimpico while Udinese’s away goal differential is 16th in the league. I love Roma to win here at home against an Udinese side who haven’t won at the Stadio Olimpico since 2012 and have had a goal differential of -10 over the five games prior to that win. Roma (-1, -130).

2:30 pm EST

Lazio @ AC Milan – Although Milan are three spots above Lazio in the table, recent results should have their fans feeling very nervous about finishing above them this season. Milan haven’t won in their last four matches, losing to Inter, Sampdoria and Juventus while drawing to Udinese at home. Now only three points separate Milan in 4th and Torino in 8th and that last Champions League will be completely up for grabs in this last month and a half. The biggest thing for me in this match is Lazio’s ability to limit opponents away from home, where they have allowed 15 goals and scored 15 goals. I don’t think Milan offer a lot up top to stifle Lazio’s defense, especially as they rank 7th in goals at home this season. I like Lazio on the pickem line with their ability to limit what Milan can do offensively. Lazio (Pick, -105).

Sunday, April 14th
English Premier League
11:30 am EST

Chelsea @ Liverpool (TV: NBCSN) – The last time these two faced off with one fighting for a title, Gerrard slipped and gave Demba Ba a goal which also gave Man City a title in 2014. That obviously won’t happen again, but this is Liverpool’s opportunity to either keep the pressure on City or fall behind and likely go another year without a title. Can they erase those demons and avenge that fateful day? Unluckily for them, Chelsea haven’t lost to Liverpool in all competitions since September of 2016 (five unbeaten). In fact, Liverpool have only won 2 of the last 16 matches against Chelsea. The Blues are starting to create more chances than they were earlier in the season and now rank second in the league in shots per 96 minutes on offense and third on defense. They also have this guy named Eden Hazard who, let’s just say, is pretty fu**ing unbelievable and can change any game in the blink of an eye.

They’ll be facing a Liverpool team who have been great this season at home with the second best home goal differential average. But lately they have started to see some slippage. Yes, they’ve won their last four at home in all comps but they haven’t been that impressive of wins, only covering the spread once in their last four. Adding to that, in their last four matches against the Top 6 and Everton, they are 1-2-1 with a goal differential of 0. I don’t feel comfortable taking Liverpool as one-goal favorites here and I’m instead taking a risk-averse approach with Chelsea, believing they’ll make it more of a closer game. I don’t see Liverpool running away with it. Chelsea (+1, -120).

That’s all for this week’s picks. Don’t forget to subscribe at the bottom of the page and to follow on Twitter and Instagram!!

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo
Instagram: @canikickitblog

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