Kayserispor v Basaksehir | Sunday 17th March 2019, 13:00
With nine games to go, it would take a bit of an almighty collapse for Basaksehir to lose the league title in Turkey. They have an eight-point advantage of Galatasaray, but have only lost twice all season. They’re going great guns right now, and are doing more than enough to warrant their stay at the summit.
Basaksehir are however presenting with a potentially tricky away trip to Kayserispor this weekend, a side positioned in the top half of the table and have only lost three times on home soil.
Having said all that, it would still be deemed a surprise if Basaksehir failed to claim the three points this weekend. They comfortably have the best away record in the division, a cool 10 points better off than Besiktas, who have the second strongest.
Basaksehir are incredibly well-organised and tough to beat. It is that reason why they are in the position they are. Their games only average 2.10 goals this season; one of the lowest in the Turkish top flight.
Kayserispor’s main issue is scoring goals. Only Bursaspor have netted fewer than they’ve done. Basaksehir therefore have scored just under double the amount of goals, whilst Kayserispor have conceded just shy of three times the amount Basaksehir have done. Clearly, everything is pointing towards Basaksehir here.
Therefore, I am pleasantly surprised to see the simple odds on a Basaksehir win as they are. An away win is available at 21/25 (Royal Panda).
Whilst it is ultimately still an odds-on shout, Basaksehir are winning games of this nature as they please at the moment. They last lost in the league back in December. Their only solitary away defeat came during their first away match of the campaign all the way back in August. They’ve got the strongest squad in the league by far, and it should be another three points for them this weekend.
AZ Alkmaar v Ajax | Sunday 17th March 2019, 13:30
Ajax had a bonus midweek Eredivisie game to negotiate, and boy did they make heavy work of it. This was a crucial game in hand at home to PEC Zwolle, managed by former player Jaap Stam, and it should’ve been a comfortable night.
In the end, Ajax had to rely on an 85th minute header by another former Man Utd man in Daley Blind to secure a 2-1 win. Still, a win is a win, and it closed the gap to PSV to two points with nine games to go.
They’ll need a stronger showing this weekend to get the better of an AZ Alkmaar side, who are generally one of the ‘best of the rest’ teams in this league. You’ll regularly find them around fourth in the table, which is currently where they occupy. They’re only three points off third, so they very much have something left to play for. Ajax, on the other hand, are in a title race, and this is likely to be another must-win game for them.
Whilst fourth against second suggests this could be a close match, the reality is that if Ajax turn up and play their best then they should be winning this encounter. After all, they did just demolish Real Madrid only last week. Whilst we can argue Real aren’t the Real Deal these days, it was still a great achievement by the Dutch side.
Also, Ajax have not lost to Alkmaar since 2015, winning the last four meetings. In fact, Ajax haven’t lost away in Alkmaar since 2013. This is ultimately a fixture that they regularly get the better of. A likely reason for this is that Alkmaar aren’t just going to sit back and play for a draw, they’ll give this a go. That ultimately leaves them vulnerable defensively against a stronger opponent, and Ajax should punish them again.
Ajax have scored a combined 12 goals in their last three away games, including Real Madrid, but also a tricky cup tie to Feyenoord in Rotterdam.
Alkmaar deserve some plaudits too, especially for their record at home. They’re on a seven-game winning streak here in both league and cup. Only on five occasions have they dropped points on home soil, and four of those times came in the first few months of the season. They’ll give this a go, but as I said, they may just lack the class to get the win they crave, as so often fall short against the likes of Ajax and PSV.
Twenty of Ajax’s 25 Eredivisie clashes this season has ended above the 2.50 goal line. Their matches average 4.40 goals per-game, which is only second to Heerenveen in the division. For Alkmaar it is 18/25 for O2.5, which isn’t too shabby at all. Their home matches alone average 3.30. We expect goals again.
Ajax to win and Over 2.5 Goals is a nice 20/21 (BoyleSports) selection. The last seven head-to-head encounters have ended O2.5, plus both teams need the win for different reasons, especially Ajax.
Horsens v Brondby | Sunday 17th March 2019, 16:00
There are only 14 teams in the Danish Superliga and this Sunday encounter sees 10th welcome fourth. Therefore, it might surprise you to know that only four points separate these two in the standings going into this round of fixtures.
Brondby might be in fourth, but it is very much a two-horse race for the league title. Their motivation therefore is to qualify for Europe, but a lack of consistency has been their big, big problem this season. Horsens can still make the top six, but they realistically need to win their next two, before the league separates into two.
As mentioned above, Brondby have been incredibly inconsistent this season. They’ve actually lost 10 of their 25 league matches so far. What is even more surprising is their disappointing form at home – it is actually one of the worst in the league, and again it is inconsistent.
However, Brondby are of course on the road this weekend, and whilst that too is inconsistent, it is still one of the stronger records in the Danish top -light. They’ve lost their last two away however, so improvement is required.
Horsens have drawn half of their home contests this season, but it is still only two victories out of a possible 12. They’ve not really made home advantage count. They head into this weekend on a three-game losing streak, all versus teams in the top six; an area where Brondby is situated in the standings.
The last seven head-to-head meetings has Brondby winning three, three being a draw and just the one solitary Horsens success. However, the two are certainly on more of a level field this season, with Brondby not in a title challenge for a change.
Brondby are an odds-on shot to win this weekend. If they play to their best, they will win. However, as I keep banging on, they are exceptionally inconsistent and you don’t know what you’re going to get from one week to the next. In the six games they’ve played since returning from the winter break, they’ve won two, drew two and lost two. I cannot have them at odds-on this weekend.
However, I am pleasantly surprised to see odds of 7/10 (William Hill) available on Both Teams To Score. I fancied this to be a little shorter, and it could well be prior to kick off.
BTTS has paid out in 75% of Horsens’ home games. They’ve even scored against big two Copenhagen and Midtjylland, even if they did concede considerably more. We can also say 75% of Brondby away league clashes has seen each side net.
It is only a 24% and 20% clean sheet record for each side respectively this season, and they aren’t known for being too tight at the back. Horsens have the joint-worst defensive record in the Superliga, whilst Brondby is the joint-third worst.
Kayserispor v Basaksehir – Basaksehir to win (21/25 Royal Panda)
AZ Alkmaar v Ajax – Ajax to win and Over 2.5 Goals (20/21 BoyleSports)
Horsens v Brondby – Both Teams To Score (7/10 William Hill)