Atletico-MG v Gremio | Sunday 27th September 2020, 01:00
On Saturday night/early Sunday morning there is a very attractive Brazilian Serie A clash which catches the eye in the form of Atletico-MG against Gremio. This is a match between two of the more established footballing clubs in this part of the one and is a match which rarely disappoints given we’d have a 4-3 and 4-1 in more recent head-to-head renewals.
This weekend we reach Matchday 12 in the Brazilian top flight and it is Atletico-MG who currently lead the way at the top of the pile. The club recruited the highly-rated former Argentina and Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli to the job in March and now we are very much seeing the team play to his managerial identity. His record in the read reads an impression won 12, drew one and lost three in all competitions.
Gremio currently find themselves in a disappointed mid-table position and the main reason for this is the sheer volume of draws that they’ve accumulated. Quite incredibly they’ve only lost only league match all season, but on the flip side they’ve just the two wins to their name. They have a whopping 70% draw ratio, whilst scoring only nine but conceding just seven means that their league contests are averaging only 1.60 goals per game.
CAM are however witnessing 3.00 goals per game in Serie A action, so something really has to give this weekend. This weekend’s home team are very much on a roll now however as they have certainly bounced back following back-to-back league defeats in August, as they’ve since responded by winning six of their next seven in league and cup.
Interestingly, they are yet to draw this season, so facing draw specialists Gremio means something seriously has to give this weekend!
One other problem Gremio are now having to deal with is juggling Copa Libertadores commitments alongside their league schedule. This undoubtedly will prove problematic and the reality is that preparations for this tough league clash won’t have been a smooth as they’d have wanted.
On Thursday night they took on fellow Brazilian outfit Internacional, whilst following the trip to Atletico-MG they take on Chilean club Universidad Catolica in the Copa Libertadores once again. This will seriously stretch the squad, especially as they’re firmly in contention to qualify out of their group. With Sampaoli’s side enjoying a full week of uninterrupted preparation for this game, I think that is very much a big tick in their favour.
So much so, I’m happy to take on the price of Atletico-MG to win at 21/20 (Betway) as that price could potentially drop a little bit before kick-off. I’m writing this before Gremio’s midweek game at Internacional, so what happens then may also effect the price.
Club Brugge v Cercle Brugge | Sunday 27th September 2020, 17:15
We bring out weekend articles to a close with a nice little trip to Belgium and in the form of a Bruges derby between Club Brugge and Cercle Brugge at Jan Breydal Stadium, which is also ground-shared by the two clubs.
For those interested, there is an English swing to Sunday’s fixture at Cercle are now managed by Paul Clement, who has previously managed Derby County, Swansea City and Reading, as well as acted as Carlo Ancelotti’s right-hand man at clubs like Chelsea, PSG, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Club Brugge are the reigning champions of the league, although the shine is taken off that to a degree given that last season was not completed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Still, they were 15-points clear at the summit, so nobody could really deny they weren’t the best team. They are the 16-time winners of this division and still have some way of catching Anderlecht’s 34, although in recent years it is Brugge that has firmly had the upper-hand.
Philippe Clement (no relation) has been in the job for well over a year now, and they’re now starting to get into their full stride after initially beginning this season a little inconsistency. Their first three results read lost 1-0, won 4-0 and lost 1-0, but since then they’ve put together a three game winning streak, including 6-0 and 4-1 in their last two fixtures. With ten goals in two games, Paul Clement will possibly be fearing what they could be on the receiving end of.
Cercle enter this in high spirits however following a 3-0 home success over St. Truiden, which was the club’s biggest margin of victory since January, 2018. Clement has certainly utilised some of his British contacts to boost his squad, most significantly in the form of striker Ike Ugbo from Chelsea, who has two goals in four appearances.
It is won three and lost three for Cercle this season, and they’ve not really had the most testing of starts to the campaign. They did travel to Anderlecht and were second best in a 2-0 away defeat, so you just wonder what their output will be like once tougher tests arrive. That is certainly the case this weekend as they won’t face a harder opponent all season. The club has struggled in this H2H for some time now and 2013 was the last time Cercle beat their rivals.
I do actually fear for Cercle this weekend as Brugge will throw everything at them. Club Brugge are well on top as being top scorers in the league, but crucially they are ranked joint-top in the league for shots on goal.
Cercle are ranked second to bottom in that regard, and I think that will be the telling difference this weekend. Club Brugge has 43 shots on target in comparison to Cercle’s 21, and I can only see Club beating Cercle quite convincingly.
The bookies believe so too as odds of 1/5 on a ‘home’ win are regularly floating about, so again we’ll have to look towards a bet-builder to locate some value. That comes in the form of Club Brugge HT/FT and to Score in Both Halves at 20/21 (Bet365).
They’ve been ahead of HT in four matches this season, whilst Cercle have only been ahead once, which indicates they’re a little sluggish out of the blocks. Six of their eight goals scored have come in the second half, but I fear the game will be long over before then. The 16-time league champions have also scored in each halve in four matches. Expect a dominant display from the best team in Bruges.