World Football: Ajax to make their mark in eye-catching Eredivisie encounter

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WORLD football fanatic James O'Rourke (@JamesOR1) continues his quest for global value with a selection of hand-picked best bets from across the planet on Sunday.

Juve Stabia v Perugia | Sunday 2nd February 2020, 14:00

We went against Juve Stabia last weekend when backing them to be behind at half-time to Pisa and they somehow managed to hold on for a draw at the interval, despite being severely under the cosh and relying on their goalkeeper and woodwork to keep them in it. Their luck ran out later in the game when conceding a deflected goal, but they scored deep into added time to extend their unbeaten run to six games.

Confidence therefore will be very high considering that draw would have felt like a win and they now have a chance of backing that up at home, where they have lost only one of their last eight and won six of those in question. Juve Stabia might be bang in mid-table but in terms of form they are right up there and a win this weekend would see them jump above Perugia in the table and quite possibly into a play-off position.

That is easier said than done however as Perugia are just one of those typical Serie B teams where they give very little away, whilst at the same time have to work very hard to get points on their own. That in turn makes them quite unpredictable in one sense, but there are some trends to their play which has started to become easier to predict. The first of those is that they struggle away, and they aren’t the first team at this level to say that.

I am always quickly keen to fade away teams in the league considering wins are so hard to come by. It is typically a drawing league and even if this is top team away to bottom team, that top team wouldn’t be too unhappy to draw that one. This approach can often backfire as teams at home generally have a go and the away sides find it hard to contain. Therefore, Perugia really shouldn’t be favourites in this one.

Perugia have eight league wins to their name this season, but two of those was against bottom side Livorno, one of which was last weekend. Also, just the two of them came away from home, one to Livorno 1-0 and the other 3-2 at third in the table Crotone when scoring from three of their five shots on goal. I honestly don’t know why Juve Stabia are outsiders here, even more so considering their recent form.

As mentioned, we’ll always look to back a home team more often than not in this league and there is tremendous value on the hosts here. That therefore does beg the question of why they are outsiders, and I’ll admit that is placing some doubt in my mind, but the bookies may just have priced it a little wrong or just valued Perugia better than what they are.

Juve Stabia perhaps aren’t the best facing teams above them in the table, winning four of 11, but they are the form team. Juve Stabia Double Chance and Under 4 Goals is a 5/6 (bet365) play using the Bet Builder, and it is a safer call than just backing them to win outright, although that was a serious temptation.

Only nine of 42 games combined from these two this season saw four or more goals, whilst the earlier season meeting in Perugia ended 0-0.

Ajax v PSV | Sunday 2nd February 2020, 15:45

We’ve got the big one in the Netherlands this weekend as Ajax faces PSV in Amsterdam. Both teams however aren’t in the best of form despite sitting inside the top-three in the Eredivisie.

Ajax have seen their big lead at the top reduced to only three points ahead of AZ Alkmaar having lost three of their last five in the league. Losing away to Groningen last time out was especially disappointing as it was their first loss versus them since 2014.

Arguably for them the best possible match for them to try and respond is against one of their big rivals and they don’t come much bigger than PSV. However, it has generally been a season to forget for them and they don’t enter this vital clash in great shape themselves.

Ernest Faber has been promoted from within at Eindhoven and has been at the helm since Mark van Bommel was sacked in December. They’re also out of Europe having failed to get out of their very winnable Europa League group containing Sporting CP, LASK Linz and Rosenborg.

PSV are just stumbling at the moment and finding it hard to get themselves out of the rut they find themselves in. To make matters worse, key striker Donyell Malen is set to miss the rest of the season after recently undergoing knee surgery, whilst Steven Bergwijn has left to link up with Jose Mourinho at Spurs in the Premier League. Therefore, they’re light in attack and looked more than toothless when drawing at home to Twente last Sunday.

Sure, Ajax are in a bad spot at this moment in time but we just cannot deny that they are a much stronger outfit than PSV at this moment in time. They have far too many weapons and should relish this game against an opponent that is looking like a wounded animal. PSV also hasn’t won away in Amsterdam since 2015, and those good old days seem a long way off at this present moment.

PSV have been especially bad away from home for quite a while now. Believe it or not, they actually haven’t won an away match inside 90-minutes since October in the Europa League in Rosenborg. A week before that was the last time they won away in Eredivisie action, but they’ve been to places like Sparta Rotterdam, FC Emmen, Venlo and also Breda in the cup and failed to win. They’ve so, so vulnerable at the moment.

You could argue Ajax are to a degree but they do turn it on in matches like this and they know a result here could get their own season back on track, whilst PSV are likely to be travelling in fear and heavily weakened.

Ajax are odds-on but Ajax/Ajax HT/FT is odds-against at 11/10 (BetVictor) and that is just too good to resist. Ajax are the second-best first-half team in the league, and the best at home. PSV have a 3-2-5 (W-D-L) first-half away league record this season, and for a club like PSV where finishing second is a bad season that isn’t good at all.

Ajax to win this one fairly comfortably.

Best Bets

Juve Stabia v Perugia – Juve Stabia Double Chance and Under 4 Goals (5/6 Bet365)

Ajax v PSV – Ajax/Ajax HT/FT (11/10 BetVictor)

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