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  1. It’s not often it happens but this week’s most interesting game in La Liga is the Monday night fixture. Villarreal take on Atletico Madrid in a match which will be a battle of the two meanest defences in the Primera Division. The Yellow Submarine come into the game in patchy form. Although they finished off their Europa League group stage campaign in style with a 2-1 home win over Steaua Bucharest, they’ve lost two of their last five games at home in all competitions and have only taken seven points from a possible 18 in the league. Samu Castillejo is out of this game with a hamstring issue, which could see Jonathon Dos Santos play on the right hand side. Mateo Musacchio picked up a knock to his hamstring in the win over Steaua and might not be risked. Atletico Madrid have a similar record to Villareal, having also taken seven points from their last six games in the league. They’ve won two of their last five games away in all competitions. Their defence is incredibly mean however, having only conceded one goal in the last five matches. Filipe Luis probably won’t make it back into the team after injury, meaning Lucas Hernandez will keep his place after impressing against Bayern last week. However, Jose Gimenez and Juanfran should return in defence. Atletico start this game as favourites at 1.90 which probably reflects the quality of the squads over recent form. I’m expecting a tight game which befits two defences which have conceded a combined total of 21 goals in La Liga so far, and as such under 1.5 goals at 2.46 looks a great deal. Here is my record: https://www.protipster.com/tipster/scorerthief
  2. Rock-bottom Swansea City face Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday hoping to bounce back from last week’s thrashing at the hands of Spurs. Swans manager Bob Bradley is already feeling the heat, complaining that critics are unfairly attacking him for being American. I think Bradley needs to take a step back and have a look at his side before side-swiping critics for having a go. Swansea have conceded 19 goals in the seven games Bradley has been in charge for, with just one win to show for that period – the crazy 5-4 victory over Crystal Palace a fortnight ago. David Moyes on the other hand must feel vindicated. Under pressure himself as Sunderland went winless in their first eight games, they’ve won three of their last four and have hauled themselves out of the bottom three. While Sunderland have been hitting the net with regularity they were rocked by news that striker Duncan Watmore is ruled out for up to a year having been stretchered off with cruciate ligament damage last weekend. That will make them even more reliant on Jermain Defoe and Victor Anichebe for goals; an injury to either of those could make for tricky times before the transfer window opens. Is this the game the Swans get right? I don’t think it will be – there are clearly issues within the team and I really get the feeling Bradley is out of his depth. Sunderland are at 3.46 to win which screams value to me against a team which cannot defend; if Sunderland can shut up shop at the other end this should be an easy win. I also like the look of over 3.5 goals at 2.96 Here is my record: https://www.protipster.com/tipster/scorerthief
  3. Southampton take on Hapoel Be’er Sheva in their final Europa League Group Stage game knowing only a win will be enough to see them through to the next round. The group is finely poised and following the 0-0 draw between the two sides in Israel a win or a goalscoring draw will be enough for Hapoel to claim second place in the group. The Israelis come into the game flying – eight wins on the spin in the league, 10 points clear at the top of the league and with 35 goals in their last 12 games. They face a Southampton side who lost 3-0 to Crystal Palace at the weekend thanks to some poor goalkeeping, and whose form has been indifferent. However, their home form is good – one defeat in 11 games all season, and unbeaten at home in Europe this season. No Israeli side has beaten an English side in England in eight visits, and only one team – Maccabi Tel Aviv - have scored in the last five games. Southampton aren’t going to want an end-to-end open game; with just 11 goals in their last 14 fixtures they’ve not exactly been prolific. A clean sheet guarantees passage through to the next stage; a Hapoel goal means they must win – and as such I would expect Southampton to hope their resolute defence (6 conceded in 11 home games) to do the job. I think the Saints can largely hold out Hapoel, and as such am backing under 2.5 goals at 1.76. I’m not so sure on if they’ll beat able to beat the Israelis, and I’m going to have a speculative punt on the draw at 4.25. Here is my record: https://www.protipster.com/tipster/scorerthief
  4. Real Madrid take on Borussia Dortmund at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium knowing that only victory will be enough to see them top their Champions League group. The match comes just four days after Los Blancos squeaked a 1-1 draw with El Clasico rivals Barcelona at Camp Nou. It’s strange to talk about a Real Madrid team as one with problems – particularly as they are unbeaten in 22 games all season – but something clearly wasn’t right up front on Saturday. Karim Benzema was poor – and the only out-and-out striker as cover for the Frenchman is the very raw Dominican Mariano. With no Gareth Bale they are heavily reliant on Cristiano Ronaldo as their main attacking force. However, there is good news too for Zidane. Casemiro should be fit enough to start in midfield while Pepe could come in for Raphael Varane in defence, giving the Real backline some steel in the face of the one of the hottest strikers in European football right now, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Dortmund are sixth in the Bundesliga but they have had a knack of doing well in big fixtures, beating Bayern Munich at home last month. Dortmund also have a knack for scoring goals – they’ve got 19 so far in their Champions League campaign, including eight in the ridiculous 8-4 win over Legia Warsaw. As tough as this will be for Real Madrid, I think they’ll do it and I’m backing them to do so at 1.85. I do think there will be goals though – and I’m going to go with over 3.5 goals at 2.08 Here is my record: https://www.protipster.com/tipster/scorerthief
  5. Arsenal go into their final Champions League match against Basel bang in form after their weekend demolition of West Ham. A hat-trick from Alexis Sanchez underlined the scary attacking potential of the Gunners at present. Arsenal could in theory still win the group. They need to better result of PSG, who play at home to Ludogorets Razgrad in their final group game. I think the big question is how Arsene Wenger plays this game. They’ve got three tough games in two weeks following this game – is it worth risking players in what could be a dead rubber? I don’t think Wenger will risk it. Alexis Sanchez picked up a knock to his back in the win against West Ham and he’s a vital part of the team – why risk him getting badly injured? I could see Lucas Perez or Olivier Giroud getting the nod up front, and young players like Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Rob Holding getting a run out too. Will that team be good enough to beat Basel? I don’t think it will. Basel have beaten their last three English Champions League opponents at St Jakob-Park, and have only lost two games in 11 against English clubs in the Champions League. Basel have something to play for – third place is their’s if they better Ludogorets’ result and they will know it’s unlikely that the Bulgarians will get anything at the Parc de Princes. Basel have never had a goalless match 25 Champions League home games, while every single one of Arsenal’s 40 away games in the Champions League has had a goal. My prediction: Basel to win at 3.05, both teams to score at 1.64. Here is my record: https://www.protipster.com/tipster/scorerthief
  6. Seventh placed Napoli take on eighth placed Internazionale on Friday night in the first Serie A game of the weekend. Napoli will be hoping for a better result than Monday night’s draw with Sassuolo while Inter will be looking to build on their impressive 4-2 win over 10-man Fiorentina at the San Siro. Napoli should have beaten Sassuolo but conceded late on to drop two points, leaving them four points off the Champions League spots and eight points behind leaders Juventus. They’ve drawn four of their last five games, and have only kept one clean sheet in that time – a 0-0 draw in the Champions League at home to Dynamo Kyiv. Stefano Pioli’s Internazionale side are inconsistent to say the least at the moment. They’ve won twice in their last six games in all competitions and haven’t won away from home since beating Empoli in September, some eight games ago. They do score goals however, having scored in every one of their last five games, and at least twice in four of those games. They’ve only kept one clean sheet in that spell. Napoli will continue to be without Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik. Former Newcastle man Davide Santon is a doubt for Inter but midfielder Gary Medel is almost certainly out. Napoli are favourites to win at 1.82 due to Inter’s dreadful away record and despite their own recent spate of draws it’s hard to see past Maurizio Sarri’s men. While Inter have been scoring goals I would expect a low-scoring game and I’m backing under 2.5 goals at 2.16. You can see my record here: https://www.protipster.com/tipster/scorerthief
  7. Mainz - Bayern München - BTTS @1.85 Lewandowski and Boating may be out. Mainz has second best record at home after Bayern(about scoring goals). Bayern is not in that great shape to keep a clean sheet to. Of course they will score. Also they will win i think but BTTS is more safe bet I think. Here is my record: https://www.protipster.com/tipster/scorerthief
  8. Hull City take on Newcastle United in the EFL Cup on Tuesday hoping for a positive result to help kickstart their Premier League season. This season has been tough for Hull City. Since winning their opening two games the Tigers have won just once in eleven league games, with that victory against Southampton being only their second home success of the season. They emerged from the weekend with a point against West Bromwich Albion having had a much improved second half compared to recent performances. They face a Newcastle United side who saw a nine-match winning streak snapped by a surprisingly resilient Blackburn Rovers team. Rafa Benitez rotated six players including striker Dwight Gayle out of the team and paid the price in what was a toothless 1-0 defeat to a team that was in the bottom three. Hull will be without Ryan Mason due to illness while Sam Clucas is suspended. Andrew Robertson and Adama Diomande could start after sub appearances against WBA. Newcastle on the other hand will be forced into shuffling their pack again at least once after Jesus Gamez broke his collarbone in the defeat at the weekend. This is Hull’s first League Cup quarter-final and Mike Phelan is taking the competition seriously. The question will be if Rafa sees it the same way with Newcastle leading the Championship and looking to bounce back to the Premier League at the first attempt. Hull are outsiders despite being a division higher at 3.33 and I think that is a fair reflection on how well Newcastle have played this season. That being said, I am backing Hull City as I think that Rafa will suffer from having to rotate his team again. You can see my record here: https://www.protipster.com/tipster/scorerthief
  9. RB Leipzig visit Freiburg for their second successive Friday night game looking to extend not just their 11 match unbeaten run but their lead at the top of the Bundesliga. To do so they will have to beat the team that beat them to the 2.Bundesliga title last season. Before Gameweek 10, the Schwarzwald-Stadion was Fortress Freiburg. Wolfsburg ended that run however with a thumping 3-0 victory, snapping a 100% record home record for the season. Christian Streich’s outfit have won just two games in their last six in all competitions and have kept two clean sheets in 11 top flight games. RB Leipzig came from behind last Friday to beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-2, which when coupled with Bayern’s 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund left the Red Bull-backed outfit three points clear at the top. They know another victory will sound a warning to the chasing pack that they won’t concede their lofty position any time soon. Leipzig come into the game on a six match winning streak in the Bundesliga – the longest winning streak by any team in the Bundesliga this season. Part of this is down to their hard work – stats show that they run further on average than any other team in the division. Their frontman Timo Werner loves playing against Freiburg, having scored three against them already in his career when with VfB Stuttgart. The fairytale has to come to an end soon but I can’t see it happening in this game. Leipzig are 1.83 favourites to extend their winning streak to seven – which I think are decent odds for the way they are playing right now. Leipzig also have not failed to score in any game so far this season and over 3.5 goals at 2.93 looks like it could offer value. You can see my record here: https://www.protipster.com/tipster/scorerthief
  10. Manchester United face Feyenoord in the Europa League in what is almost a win-or-bust situation. A win would would put them above the Dutch side in the group and depending on the other match in the group could put the Red Devils top. Defeat however, coupled with a Fenerbahce win over Zorya Luhansk would see Manchester United dumped out. Home form has been crucial for Jose Mourinho’s men in this competition. While they’ve not won away from Old Trafford in their last five European games their last European fixture saw them run out as handsome 4-1 winners over Fenerbahce. It’s that kind of form they will need to repeat Feyenoord will take heart that United’s last three Premier League games at the Theatre of Dreams have all ended as draws. A draw would be enough for the Rotterdam team to maintain control of their destiny going into the final game at home against Fenerbahce. Henrikh Mkhitaryan will definitely play some part in the fixture in what could be a rotated side which drew 1-1 with Arsenal. Phil Jones should continue in the centre of defence while Morgan Schneiderlin could come in for Michael Carrick in midfield. Manchester United are heavy favourites to win but I can’t see Feyenoord crumbling like Fenerbahce did. The injury situation at Manchester United hasn’t helped them and their home form in the Premier League has shown that they can struggle when the pressure is on them to go out and win. I’m going to take on the bookies and back 2X in the double chance at 2.91, and expecting a tight game I’m also going to go for under 2.5 goals at 2.12. You can see my record here: https://www.protipster.com/tipster/scorerthief
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