Fenerbahce v Konyaspor | Saturday 7th November 2020, 16:00
Seven rounds into the Turkish Super Lig and Fenerbahce have found their way to the top of the standings. They possess one of just two remaining unbeaten records in the league, the other being surprise package Alanyaspor. The club is on something of a rebuild mission having now gone six seasons without winning the title. 2013/14 certainly seems like a long time ago, but it is so far so good in 2020/21/
They welcome Konyaspor to Istanbul, a club who have mostly been bottom-half regulars in their past seven seasons at this level since winning promotion back to the big club. 2015/16 saw them finish 3rd, which did seem to be a real flash in the pan as they’ve been mid-table in the other seasons besides that. They’ve won just once in six to open this season, and have back-to-back defeats to their name.
Whilst Fenerbahce at top of the table, they’ve done things in a somewhat hard way to get there. Obviously they are a massive club in Turkey, but remember they’ve gone a long time now without winning the league. Naturally, bookies will price them low on reputation, but now they’re top again they can start to back those slim odds up with results.
Having said that, four of their five wins this season came by a one goal margin, so they’ve had to grind things out. Furthermore, they’ve only kept two clean sheets, which came in 0-0 draws. So all five wins finished BTTS, too.
It is pretty clear that Saturday’s away team will initially set up to be hard to beat. The game-plan will be to get bodies back behind the ball and frustrate their opponents, who in turn will dominate the ball. This is something that actually both teams are quite used to if we take into account certain statistics.
Four of Fenerbahce’s matches have been level at half time, and 75% of their goals scored arrived in the second half of games. To me this says they are having to be patient in breaking opponents down, and when things open up in the second half then they benefit greatly from this.
They’re the highest second half scorers in the league. Now we look at Konyaspor, and four of their six have been level after 45 minutes. Their first half fixtures combined has only produced a total of two goals. Their away games this season have finished 1-0, 0-0 and 0-0.
I anticipate a slow-burner here with the hosts eventually making their quality pay as the match progressed. I like the look of Draw/Fenerbahce HT/FT at a price of 7/2 (888Sport). An early goal would ruin things but the hosts don’t really need to be in any real rush here.
Espanyol v Lugo | Saturday 7th November 2020, 20:00
The second game we’ll focus on from the Saturday card comes from Spain and LaLiga2. Espanyol have certainly got over the disappointment of relegation last season as already they’re looking like a good shout for an immediate return. Ten matches in and they sit top of the table, with only one defeat to their name. Perhaps most incredible of all, they’ve conceded only one goal! ONE GOAL!
With that being the case, Lugo could be forgiven for not wanting to make the over 600 mile journey for this one. That being said, they head into this encounter in pretty good form themselves. Following a run of three straight defeats, they’ve now gone five without loss, of which four were wins.
The sheer fact that Espanyol are giving so little away from a defensive aspect means that they’ll ultimately need to drop their performance levels for Lugo to have a more realistic chance here. For all that might not so likely now, it will happen at some stage.
Espanyol won’t keep on churning out clean sheets and they will go through a bad spell at some stage. Clearly they are favourites for promotion but this is such an unforgiving league from a betting perspective. ‘Things happen’ is a phrase I regularly come to think of in a league like this.
Espanyol should win, but I 100% would never, ever, ever take a team to win at 4/9 in this league. Even at home, and if conceding only once all season. They will drop off at some stage, and no doubt the time you back them, it’ll be that occasion! It is perhaps more of a feeling than anything, but I think this could be the weekend which gives them one of their tougher tests so far.
That is because Lugo are a side that will really have a go here. That is because only two teams in the Spanish second tier has seen their matches produce a higher number of goals on average. Eight of Espanyol’s ten ended under 2.5 goals, which is mainly due to their fine defensive record. Only twice this season have Espanyol scored 3+ goals in a game, so they’ve never really blowing teams again in that regard.
I just foresee a situation where Lugo see this game and think ‘why not, let’s have a go’. LaLiga2 is also a league where teams don’t ever really have a very good away record. At the end of the season, the side with the best away record will showcase numbers which are alright, but nothing to really shout home about.
Lugo are above average on the road with regards to scoring. Only six times since the start of 2020 have they failed to score on the road. They’ve also won four of their last seven away, and last season they avoided defeat in seven of their 12 away contests against the top half clubs.
My selection is based around goals here, and it is perhaps more a value shout that anything. We can get 6/4 (Betway) on Both Teams To Score.
Clearly, the boosted price than usual comes because of Espanyol’s clean sheet record, but as I say ‘things happen’, and they won’t keep on doing that all the time. Maybe they take their foot off the gas? They could take Lugo lightly? Maybe LaLiga2 is easier than we thought? This is just the sort of game where a 4/9 shot in this league makes heavy weather of.