Akhmat Grozny v Zenit | Saturday 11th July 2020, 16:30
There will be no end of season tussle for top spot in the Russian Premier League as Zenit are 15 points clear at the summit and have already been crowned as champions. Therefore, this game presents much more significance to Akhmat Grozny, who sit just three points above the relegation zone with just three matches remaining.
To be clear, Zenit have been the champions for a little while now and have had a few games under the belts since it became official. Nevertheless, they haven’t suddenly dropped off their form, despite rotating their squad to a larger degree. December was the last time they suffered defeat in a competitive match, and that was in the Champions League away at Benfica. Their last domestic setback was September. September. That was one of only two league losses all season. To say they’ve been dominant is an understatement.
Despite that, we can’t just ignore the fact that this is a much more important clash for Saturday’s home team, and they will have motivation on their side in a bigger way. On the flip side, can we really just discount Zenit? They’re clearly the best team in the league, averaging over two goals per game and have conceded 15 times in all 27 league contests.
There has been a familiar theme following both teams in recent times however, and it therefore presents us with our selection for the weekend. You can actually get odds-against quotes on Zenit winning this game, and with them likely to rotate again as they did last weekend then it does place some doubt. They do however have real strength in depth, much to the envy of every other side at this level.
Akhmat Grozny have seen four of their five matches since the resumption contain both teams scoring. We can also say the exact same for Zenit. Whilst defensively they’ve been a rock all season, they’re making changes to their back line and it is weakening them in that regard. Nine of Grozny’s 14 home matches this season has also seen BTTS pay out, and they’ve won three of their last five anyway so they’re actually in decent form.
Zenit Double Chance and Both Teams To Score is our play at 11/8 (Bet365). We’re getting a higher price than would be usual considering Zenit are already top dogs, but they’re clearly the stronger of the two, and Grozny larger save their better results for when facing the lesser sides in the division.
Basel v Young Boys | Saturday 11th July 2020, 19:30
On Saturday night we’ve got a big battle at the top of the Swiss Super League and it is always a big occasion when Basel and Young Boys take to the same field. Whilst it is indeed a top three encounter, we realistically have a two-horse race for the title as Young Boys and St Gallen are level on 58 points, with Basel nine points behind with only seven games remaining.
Basel therefore do need the win if they are to mount a late challenge, although their recent form is likely further proof of why it is set to be three consecutive seasons without winning the top flight in Switzerland. Only Grasshopper has won this league more than Basel, but Young Boys are going in search of three titles on the spin, and they’ve been in excellent form in recent weeks.
As mentioned, Basel have struggled a bit in recent times, but to be more exact it is their away record why the gap has opened up between them and the top two. They’ve lost three of their four away matches since the resumption, whilst they’ve won both at home without conceding. If it wasn’t for Young Boys being almost faultless at Stade de Suisse, Basel would have the best home record in the division.
If there is a time to catch out the current top side then it is away from home, and that is what affords Basel hope of winning on Saturday. Young Boys have won just twice of their past 14 away from home in all competitions. Sure, that does include trips to places such as Rangers, Feyenoord and Porto in the UEFA Europa League, but they’ve not won any of their past seven away in the league, including twice since the resumption.
Basel have been too hit-and-miss this season, and the sketchy away record of Young Boys puts some doubts in my mind, so I’m going to sway the 1×2 market, but there is a goals angle I like just for a bit of a fun.
I’d be prepared to dip my toe into the water about 13/10 (10bet) on Over 1.5 First Half Goals in this one. Young Boys have won only one of their last 15 visits here, and whilst they’re clearly the stronger of the two right now, Basel will still play to win and they always have that expectation at home.
The selection has paid out in three of the last four head-to-head meetings played at St. Jakob-Park, and both outfits know where the back of the net is and I see this being much more end-to-end as opposed to tight and cagey. 11/4 on BTTS in the first half was also a temptation.