After a solid weekend of soccer action around the world and particularly in Europe with major league kicking off its respective seasons I return with a view on some of the more valuable matches this week, whether that be from a pure entertainment perspective, a betting perspective or a little of both.
Without further delay let’s kick it off!
German Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund vs. Werder Bremen (Westfalenstadion) – Friday August 23, 2013
We begin this week with a look at the German Bundesliga and the Friday Bundesliga that sees Werder Bremen looking to continues its good start to the season after wins against Eintracht Frankfurt and FC Augsburg has a tough challenge when they make the trip to the Westfalenstadion to battle a Borussia Dortmund side that has jumped out of the gate with wings over FC Augsburg and newly promoted Eintracht Braunschweig.
Although Dortmund lost a key player in Mario Gotze the additions of forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and midfielder Henrik Mkhitaryan has made the transition very smooth, this in combination with the club being able to keep its Polish striker Robert Lewandowski gives them a great chance to compete on multiple fronts and give the powerhouse that is Bayern Munich a real fight for the title. Werder Bremen on the other hand is looking to transition into life after long time coach Thomas Schaff with Robin Dutt now at the helm, after narrowly avoiding relegation this is a team that is pegged to struggle defensively but have a few interesting attacking pieces. The new signing of Argentine forward Franco Di Santo to go along with Elerjo Elia, Nils Petersen and Aaron Hunt gives them a decent attack, however against a side like Dortmund the main focus should be defense first.
Dortmund are clear favorites so value is hard to come by from a betting perspective but there is usually a good play to go with in the Friday Bundesliga match, a match that we’ve had tons of success with in the past at Sports Chat Place. I’m leaning towards the OVER in this one, although it’s a big number in 3.5 goals this Dortmund side is capable of running anyone out the building especially at home and I see Bremen struggling defensively.
Prediction: OVER 3.5 (+110)
English Premier League: Southampton vs. Sunderland (St. Mary’s Stadium) – Saturday August 24, 2013
The next match on the list is a very intriguing one between two managers that are among the more interesting to follow, as the Saints Argentine manager Mauricio Pochettino has put together one of the more interesting squads that are eyeing a top half finish host the colourful Italian manager Paolo Di Canio and Sunderland at St. Mary’s Stadium.
The main storyline surrounding this match is mostly about Southampton’s acquisitions of Victor Wanyama from Scottish side Celtic in the off-season to pair with the likes of forward Rickie Lambert, midfielder Gaston Ramirez and the newest signing to join the fray is Argentine-Italian Pablo Osvaldo joining the club this week after from AS Roma for a Southampton record transfer fee of £15M. Southampton kicked off the season a late winner from Rickie Lambert in via a 90th minute penalty, seeing his form continue from scoring a goal midweek in his debut for England midweek against Scotland. As for Sunderland they are coming off a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Fulham however the Black Cats attack has some promise to it, the additions of US Men’s National Team forward Jozy Altidore and Italian international midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini alongside Stephane Sessegnon, Adam Johnson and Sebastian Larsson give the club a decent look to its attack. The main issue for both sides will be in defense, both sides struggled in that department last season and if a top half finish and possibly a challenge for a European place is in the cards improvement is needed.
I think this will be one of the more entertaining games on the EPL schedule this week and although I see Southampton being among the more entertaining teams throughout the season from a betting perspective the odds make it hard not to go with Sunderland against the spread, this will be a tight match and the odds seem to reflect that.
Prediction: Sunderland +0.5 (+105)
English Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Swansea City (White Hart Lane) – Sunday August 25th, 2013
The third game we are looking at also takes place in the English Premier League and is one that that soccer purists will be drooling over, as Michael Laudrup’s Swansea City looks to recover from a 4-1 season opening defeat to Manchester United when they travel to White Hart Lane to take on a Tottenham side that opened with a 1-0 victory over newly promoted Crystal Palace.
The first thing that comes to mind where this match is concerned is how Andre Villas-Boas will juggle this match on the weekend with a midweek trip to Georgia to play FC Dinamo Tbilisi in a UEFA Europa League side, although there is more than enough depth within the Tottenham ranks it does shorten the time frame to prepare for a Swansea side that is very skilled. The additions of Paulinho, Roberto Soldado and Etienne Capoue in the off-season has gone generally under the radar when all of the talk has been surrounding the potential departure of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, however with Soldado getting off the mark in the EPL opener and Paulinho and Capoue showing well there is clearly more than enough class within the side to challenge for trophies. Swansea are a side that although lost to Manchester United had good spells of possession and attacking intent, the addition of Wilfred Boney and Jonjo Schelvey to join the likes of Michu in attack has the potential to be dangerous as the season progresses but how they deal with European fixture congestion when they begin play in Europa League as winners of the League Cup last season will really tell the story as it has been the death of some club season in past seasons due to lack of depth.
I like the OVER in this match, both sides are two of the best attacking sides in the league and the tactical match-up of Laudrup vs. Villas-Boas is fascinating. I believe Tottenham’s midweek trip will play some kind of role, whether they will lose the match as a result is up for debate.
Prediction: OVER 2.5 (-135)
Italian Serie A: Fiorentina vs. Catania (Stadio Artmio Franchi) – Monday August 26, 2013
The final match that I see as “valuable” comes from Italy’s Serie A, with its season just kicking off the best game on the opening weekend schedule is one I’m affectionately referring to as the “Vincenzo Montella Bowl” as the Firoentina manager hosts one of his former sides in Catania.
These are two of the more entertaining sides in the league to watch and completely buck the old stereotype of Italian soccer being defensive and boring, Motella took a team in Fiorentina that is typically a mid-table side into 4th place last season and are now participating in UEFA Europa League while Catania are a side that are always on the cusp of European soccer and if coach Rolando Maran can keep key players together this might be the year they achieve that goal with the likes of Lazio, Inter Milan, Udinese and AS Roma not playing like their former selves.
The main storyline surrounding Fiorentina is the departure of Stevan Jovetic to EPL side Man City, however Montella has quietly added some interesting parts to an already good side, mainly that of German forward Mario Gomez who could potentially partner Italian international Giuseppe Rossi provided the latter can finally stay injury free. Catania is an interesting side in the fact that it’s always has a decent looking squad but this season they’ve had a key loss in midfield playmaker Francesco Lodi who joined Genoa in the transfer window, with further rumor that players like forward Gonzalo Bergessio and goalkeeper Mariano Andujar it’s imperative that the club holds on to these players if challenging for a European place is the goal.
I really like both of these teams from an entertainment perspective and would love to see both of them competing in Europe next season, this is one I’m personally going to carve out some time to watch and although the OVER is tempting I’ll go with Fiorentina against the spread from a betting perspective.
Prediction: Fiorentina -1 (-125)
That’s all for the Value Matches of the Week, until next time sit back, relax and enjoy the games!