Malmo vs Varbergs | Sunday 9th May 2021, 16:30
A run of two games without a win resembles something of a slump for a side such as Malmo, who are used to dominating this league. That was certainly the case last season when they ended the campaign as champions for a 24th time, and did so by nine points. They began this season with two wins from two, but they’ve dropped below those standards in the last two, including a 3-1 away loss to Djurgarden, who boast the only remaining 100% record in the Allsvenskan.
Whilst losing away to Djurgarden was a blow, we couldn’t necessarily call it a shock as they too are likely to be involved in the title shake-up this season. It was probably the home draw with Ostersunds which disappointed them more than anything, and they’ll be eager to resume winning ways at home, where they last lost a league game here in August 2019.
They are deemed big favourites to get the three points on Sunday, but they actually failed to win any of the two head-to-head meetings last season on route to their title. A 3-2 away loss and 2-2 home draw proves that they’ll need to be on it to make it third time lucky, and Varbergs enter this on a high having won away at Ostersunds to give them their maiden win of the season.
Varbergs did concede six goal in the two games prior to last time out, meaning they have the second-worst defensive record in the league. Ironically, they’ve actually shipped the same amount of goals as Malmo, so Jon Dahl Tomasson will be especially keen for his side to improve their fortunes at the back, but not necessarily at the expense of losing some of their attacking quality.
Sunday’s home team are very much a front foot, aggressive sort of outfit, and you can expect them to create plenty of chances, but you can just never be sure about them in the other direction, so Varbergs are likely to get counter attacking opportunities.
Malmo are priced 1/4 to get back to winning ways and given they’ve looked more than shoddy defensively I wouldn’t necessarily want to pile into that. I do expect them to win however, but I suspect they’ll produce a few nervy moments at times.
As mentioned, they’ll create chances and commit bodies forward, but possibly the expense of conceding a goal or two, that can’t be ruled out. Even when winning the title last season, 60% of games saw both teams score.
I do think this is a bet-builder type of game and I do like the look of Malmo win and to Score in Both Halves, which is priced 20/21 (Bet365). I suspect this will be quite an end-to-end game, and I couldn’t completely rule out the away side scoring in the first half, which is what put me against backing Malmo/Malmo HT/FT at a relatively similar price.
Inter Miami vs Atlanta United | Sunday 9th May 2021, 18:00 | Sky Sports
Our second visit to MLS this weekend will see us take note of a side that we are likely to be seeing quite a bit of on our TV screens in the UK this season.
With Phil Neville now handed Head Coach duties of Inter Miami, part owned by David Beckham, they are likely to appeal to the British audience, and once more they are on the box this Sunday. It promises to be a decent game as Atlanta United are the visitors, a side looking to bounce back after CONCACAAF Champions League disappointment.
The Neville era did begin with defeat a few weeks ago when LA Galaxy came from behind to claim maximum points, but they’ve since responded by earning four points from two tricky away games, including winning at Philadelphia Union, who won the Supporters Shield last season.
A 0-0 away draw at Nashville is probably nothing to shout home about, but any clean sheet in MLS should be applauded, plus they achieved it without Gonzalo Higuain, who was absent for personal reasons. He should return for this game.
As touched upon, Atlanta can now fully focus on league matters having lost to MLS rivals Philadelphia Union over two legs in the CCL. Those of you who read my Saturday column will now I went against Toronto in their game this weekend having had a long trip during the week. It isn’t quite the same with Atlanta given they played a fellow MLS club, but MLS clubs don’t really do midweek games, so it severely disrupts their cycle and fancy them to maybe struggle this weekend.
As mentioned, Miami will welcome back a refreshed Higuain for this one, and that will serve as a massive boost. He is a huge part of what they offer offensively, and the same can be said of his brother, Federico. The pair both a goal apiece in the Philadelphia victory, and Neville will want them firing on all cylinders as they look for a first home win of the campaign.
Gabriel Heinze is a name followers of the Premier League and especially Man Utd will remember and he is in fact Head Coach of Atlanta these days, having been handed the job in the off-season. The team are still adjusted to his demands tactically, but there have certainly been some glimpses of what they could potentially offer.
Having Josef Martinez fit again is a huge boost as he missed a large chunk of last season through injury. Without him, they offer virtually nothing, but he too is still getting used to playing regularly again.
Whilst Inter Miami too are getting used to a new manager, they have home advantage here as well as a full week of rest to recover from their last match and prepare for this. That ultimately swings it for me, and the fact that we can get an odds-against price of 68/67 (VBet) on an Inter Miami victory just has to be taken advantage of. This is another situational play which seems to suit them, and work against Atlanta.
Malmo vs Varbergs – Malmo win and to Score in Both Halves (20/21 Bet365)
Inter Miami vs Atlanta United – Inter Miami (68/67 VBet)