EUROPEAN football fanatic Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) heads to Greece on Sunday for his latest best bet on the continent.
Panionios v AEK Athens | Sunday 1st March 2020, 17:00
The regular season of the Greek Super League comes to a close on Sunday before the division splits into the championship round and the relegation play-offs. Both Panionios and AEK Athens are locked in their positions of rock-bottom and third coming into this contest but I don’t expect the lack of jeopardy to matter too much when the duo lock horns.
Starting with AEK, the 32-time champions have endured a tumultuous campaign. Initially under Miguel Cardoso’s watch, the Yellow-Blacks unceremoniously sacked the Portuguese coach after just one game, a shock 2-1 home defeat against Xanthi, a result that promoted owner Dimitris Melissanidis to wield the axe in the changing rooms immediately after.
Nikos Kostenoglou was subsequently appointed. Morale was restored, although the honeymoon period ended abruptly with AEK putting in a series of underwhelming and disjoined displays. AEK won just twice in a miserable eight-game spell before December that included damaging derby defeats at rivals Olympiacos and Panathinaikos.
So Massimo Carrera was brought in and the Italian has undoubtedly overseen a major upturn in performances levels. Antonio Conte’s former assistant and Russian Premier League title winner with Spartak Moscow has led AEK to W10-D2-L1 in 13 Super League showdowns, only losing to table-topping PAOK, and keeping a whopping nine clean sheets.
In contrast, during the same stretch of the season, Panionios have nosedived to be cut adrift at the very bottom of the Super League standings. The hosts have collected only four points from a possible 39 (W1-D1-L11), scoring a paltry three goals and firing blanks on 10 occasions in that same sample.
The hosts have landed just five shots on-target in their past four league fixtures, even top casino experts know that isn't a good enough ratio, and have been completely out-classed in contests against the division’s leading lights. With that in mind, it’s easy to see AEK running out victorious in this match-up, but it might not be the cricket score that the pre-game odds suggest.
None of Panionios’ 13 home outings have featured four or more goals, whilst AEK have seen no more than two strikes in five of their first six road trips under Carrera. Backing the visitors to take top honours, alongside Under 4 Goals pays a very appealing 11/10 (Bet365).
Panionios v AEK Athens – AEK Athens to win and Under 4 Goals (11/10 Bet365)