Gent v Beerschot VA | Sunday 4th October 2020, 15:00
The Belgian Pro League is normally good for goals and the early stages of this season has seen that theme very much continue. This weekend we go into the eighth round of games, and so far we are seeing an average of 2.89 goals per game, with roughly 60% of them containing over 2.5 goals.
A big reason for that is just the sheer presence of Beerschot VA, who have certainly adopted the role of entertainers in their first-ever season in the Belgian top flight. Their contests are averaging 3.86 goals per game; the joint-highest of any team in the division, whilst only one of their matches ended under 2.5 goals.
The good thing alongside that is they are going this whilst also achieving good results. They sit third in the table with five wins to their name, which also includes a memorable 1-0 away success as Club Brugge; the best team in Belgium. They now have the chance to follow that up with another notable scalp away to Gent, who finished second in the table last season.
It has however been a pretty shoddy start to the campaign from Gent. Whilst Beerschot have won five, Gent have lost five. They have been negotiated UEFA Champions League qualifiers during the early part of this campaign and it would seem that have prioritised Europe. It didn’t pay off however as a 5-1 aggregate loss to Dynamo Kiev put an end to that in midweek.
One plus is that their only two league wins both came in home matches, but they’ve already lost two at home this season, which is more than they lost in league action across the entirety of last season. The club is already on its third coach in 2020 alone, with their former midfielder Wim De Decker being promoted from assistant to the top job in mid-September.
You’d like to think Gent will turn it around at some point, and they will soon have the UEFA Europa League group stages to think about, so they need points pretty sharpish. I just can’t be entertaining them at odds-on to do so this weekend however.
The value is certainly on the away team, but I also fear they could fall off a cliff to a degree at some point as I don’t really see them challenging for the title or anything close to that, but it’d be a great story if they could.
The goals angle has to be the way to go here and I like the bet-builder approach of Both Teams To Score and Over 2 Goals at 1/1 (Bet365).
Beerschot equals goals as we’d already touched upon, whilst both teams have seen four and five of their league fixtures respectively witness both teams scoring. I anticipate an entertaining encounter on Sunday afternoon.
Benfica v Farense | Sunday 4th October 2020, 18:30
I for one was most pleased when I saw that Jorge Jesus was returning to Benfica. He had a tremendously successful time over in Brazil with Flamengo, but he found the lure of returning to The Stadium of Light too good of an opportunity to refuse. He previously won ten trophies with the club, including three league titles.
He has settled back into life in the hot seat well from a league perspective after having back-to-back wins to their name, but they’ll certainly be disappointed to exit the Champions League at the play-off stage to Greek option PAOK. Nevertheless, they do still have the Europa League to fall back on, and twice he was a losing finalist when managing Benfica, so he has unfinished business in this tournament.
Losing Ruben Dias to Manchester City was a blow, but clubs in Portugal are generally selling clubs whenever the big European teams come knocking, and getting Nicolas Otamendi in return is a good replacement for the Portuguese league. Everton was a notable signing from Gremio in the off-season, and he can best be remembered for having a big Copa America with Brazil in 2019 when he scored three goals.
Farense are the visitors to Lisbon on Sunday night and obviously the home team are expected to claim the three points with the most minimal of fuss. After an 18-year absence they are now back in the top flight, but have started with back-to-back defeats and failing to score in reply in clashes versus Moreirense and Nacional.
As in generally the case in games like this when you have such a massive favourite at a short price but still want to keep on side, we have to look towards a bet-builder opportunity. This comes in the form of Benfica HT/FT and Score in Both Halves.
This is priced at 4/5 (Bet365). This has paid out in Benfica’s opening two leagues games against stronger opposition. I can see Farense being a team that will get rolled over on the road quite a lot this season, and Benfica should take full advantage of this match-up.