WLB debutant Brett Curtis (@brett_curtis92) showcases his three favourite selections from Sunday's European action.
Villarreal vs Barcelona | Sunday 5th July 2020, 21:00 | La Liga TV
Villarreal are on a serious roll right now. The Yellow Submarine have taken 16 points from six matches since the restart to put them within three points of fourth-placed Sevilla; they now have a genuine chance of qualifying for the Champions League group stage for the first time in almost a decade.
Barcelona, however, are stuttering by their own high standards. They’ve dropped six points in six games since the restart, having drawn their last two games 2-2. While their performance against Atletico was improved compared to the one at Celta Vigo last weekend, they’re a remarkably disjointed side at present under manager Quique Setién.
Consequently, the Catalans are now four points behind leaders Real Madrid – who have the chance to extend that gap to seven points when they head to Athletic Bilbao earlier in the day – so this is a must-win game for Barca if they are to have any realistic chance of catching their arch-rivals.
With that in mind, it’s difficult to see anything but goals here. Villarreal may have kept five clean sheets since the restart, but they did concede two at home to Sevilla (comfortably the best side they’ve faced so far), so Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez should be able to combine for at least one goal, even if the support around them is sorely lacking at the moment.
Equally, only Barca and Real have scored more goals than Villarreal in La Liga this season. Indeed, somewhat impressively, they’ve failed to score in just three matches all season. With the likes of Gerard Moreno, Paco Alcácer and Carlos Bacca to choose from upfront, I really can’t see Barca’s ageing and increasingly leaky back-line shutting them out.
With Both Teams To Score around the meagre 4/7 mark, though, I’m content to add Over 2.5 Goals to the mix to get very close to evens at 19/20 with William Hill.
Both sides have seen this goal line land in almost two-thirds of their matches this season, and with the amount of firepower on display in a match Barca simply have to attack, I’m confident it will again here.
Cagliari vs Atalanta | Sunday 5th July 2020, 18:30 | Premier Sports
Three things are guaranteed in life: death, taxes, and goals in Atalanta games.
While Atalanta’s performance in the last few campaigns has been remarkable for a club of their budget – with a forthcoming Champions League quarter-final in August their just reward – their average of 4.25 goals per-game this season is arguably even more so.
To put that into perspective, no other side in Europe’s top five leagues average more than Bayern Munich’s 3.88 goals per-game, while only Bayern and Dortmund have scored more goals (with five games extra played!).
The Bergamo-based side have certainly restarted where they left off prior to COVID-19 sadly devastating the region in early March, winning all four matches to move 12 points clear of fifth-placed Roma and all but seal the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot in Serie A.
Cagliari, meanwhile, have performed better than many observers tipped them to, taking seven points from four games to move into the top half. However, they’ve kept just one clean sheet at home all season, while Atalanta have failed to score in only one game on the road, so it’s fair to say the free-scoring side should have no trouble adding to their tally here.
Both Teams To Score has landed in 71% of Cagliari’s home and Atalanta’s away matches this season, so it’s certainly got a good chance here. Neither side has much to lose, so can play with plenty of freedom; similarly to the Villarreal/Barca match, then, I’m more than happy to throw Over 2.5 Goals into the mix to increase the odds to closer to evens at 5/6 with Sky Bet.
That goal line has landed in 83% of Atalanta’s matches overall this season and 64% of Cagliari’s home matches. (If you’re feeling brave, the BTTS/Over 2.5 double across both selected games pays 5/2 on Bet365.)
Osasuna vs Getafe | Sunday 5th July 2020, 18:30 | La Liga TV
It’s been a successful first season back in La Liga for Osasuna, with three successive wins guiding them away from any relegation concerns into 11th place.
Getafe, meanwhile, look set to miss out on a Champions League qualification spot having spent most of the season in the top four. They’ve won just once since the restart, leaving them five points behind fourth-placed Sevilla, with the aforementioned Villarreal flying past them, too.
With this match a tough one to call in terms of the outcome, I’m heading into different markets.
Since the restart, Getafe matches have averaged an astonishing 7.5 cards-per-game, with the Madrid-based side picking up two or more themselves in all six games (and three or more in all bar one). No La Liga side has averaged more cards-per-game than them this season, both for and against.
Osasuna matches haven’t been quite so card-happy since the restart, but Los Rojillos rank joint-fifth for cards-per-game this season, and third for amount of fouls leading to cards.
Moreover, Mario Melero López referees this one, and he averages 5.76 yellow cards-per-game. He showed Osasuna two yellows and one red against Espanyol, while Getafe have received eight yellows in two matches under his officiating this season. López has also shown both sides 2+ cards in 15 of his last 20 La Liga matches, so I’m confident this mark will land again here.
Both sides also rank in the top seven in terms of corners won. Osasuna average 5.50-per-game at home and Getafe 4.56-per-game away from home, so I’m happy to back both teams to have 3+ corners alongside 2+ cards each to increase the odds to 6/5 with bet365’s Bet Builder feature.
Villarreal vs Barcelona – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (19/20 William Hill)
Cagliari vs Atalanta – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (5/6 Bet365)
Osasuna vs Getafe – Over 1 Card Each, Over 2 Corners Each (6/5 Bet365)