Trabzonspor v Rizespor | Saturday 29th February 2020, 14:00
Second in the table Trabzonspor entertain relegation threatened Rizespor hoping to maintain their strong run of form. TS, who possess players such as Daniel Sturridge, Alexander Sørloth and Badou Ndiaye, all with an English club connection, within their ranks, are a point behind leaders Basaksehir and with a game in hand. They’re searching for their first top flight league title since 1984.
Rizespor are on a three-match losing streak, although within that run included clashes with top team Basaksehir and also Besiktas. They’ve been a team this season that has ultimately been all or nothing in the sense they of their 22 league clashes this season only three have ended in draws. It means only the current bottom two of Kayserispor and Kasimpasa have lost more matches.
Trabzonspor are going great guns at the moment. In fact, they haven’t lose a league match since mid-December. Returning from the winter break they’re unbeaten in five in league action, winning draw. They head into this following a 2-2 draw in Besiktas, with a 91st minute equaliser maintaining their unbeaten stretch.
Home form has been excellent by Saturday’s hosts and anything less than three points this weekend would be deemed quite a big shock. It is seven straight wins in all competitions at home, with opponents such as Fenerbahce leaving with no points. They did have some issues earlier in the campaign when also negotiating the UEFA Europa League, but it is very much all systems go in pursuit of a rare league success.
Something this Trabzonspor team generally does is get the job done against the weaker opponents in this league. Of the 11 meetings with current bottom half opposition this season they have won eight. In seven of those wins they also netted at least two goals.
Another plus for Trabzonspor is how quick out the blocks they generally are. Only Galatasaray has a better first half record, whilst Rizespor only have two first half away league goals all season.
In away trips to the current top five, Rizespor have been beaten 5-0, 5-2 and 2-0 within those. They’ve failed to score in five of their six away league losses. This game just places two teams going in opposite directions and Trabzonspor could easily blow Rizespor away.
So much so, I think we’re getting great value on Trabzonspor/Trabzonspor Half Time/Full Time at 27/20 (Coral). Odds against quotes like this have to be taken advantage off considering the sheer gulf in class, and Trabzonspor are the highest first half scorers in the league, too.
Racing Santander v Real Zaragoza | Saturday 29th February 2020, 20:00
We’ve had good success tipping in the Spanish second tier for a few weeks now and I’ve managed to find another selection I am quite pleased with. It presents Racing Santander, who were successfully against last weekend when losing away in Malaga, against Real Zaragoza. This is your classic top against bottom clash, with Santander in deep troubles and Zaragoza only a point off leaders Cadiz.
There were hopes of Racing performing something of a miracle and avoiding relegation when a few weeks ago they went away to Almeria, currently sitting in third, and won 1-0. However, it is pretty clear that this was an absolute flash in the pan and sheer one-off. It was an obvious smash-and-grab approach that paid off, and it remains their only away win of the season.
The concern of them is their reaction since then. Successive 2-0 defeats versus opponents just above the relegation zone just highlights the mentality within the group. Against Malaga last Sunday especially, they put in the most toothless of displays which will surely ring alarm bells even louder. It stunk of a team that had either given up, or just isn’t good enough. Three shots on target in two games is not good enough.
The last thing Racing therefore probably wants is a game against one of the better outfits in the division. Zaragoza are second in the table and perhaps most important they are second in the form guide table over the past ten matches. For the record, Racing are second from bottom in that particular statistic.
I’ve mentioned before how this is a bit of a ‘drawing league’ and the fact Zaragoza has drew three of their last five is a slight worry if you’re wanting to back them.
However, one was against leaders Cadiz, another to draw specialists Mirandes and also play-off seeking Fuenlabrada. Something Zaragoza does however is beat the weaker teams in the league. They’ve only lost one of eight to current bottom-seven opponents, whilst also comfortable beating Racing 2-0 in December at home.
Furthermore, Racing have three wins all season, and they’re now in a situation where they need wins and settling for draws is not really good enough. They’ve drew eight of 14 at home, but they surely have to open up and be positive on this occasion, especially as it is essentially a free hit.
The drawing league aspect does worry me a little so I wouldn’t pile in hard on this but Real Zaragoza to win at 23/20 (Marathon) is a cracking price. They’re the better team, in much stronger form and probably have greater motivation with Racing possibly starting to accept relegation looks inevitable.