Emmen v Sparta Rotterdam | Sunday 15th December 2019, 11:15
The Dutch Eredivisie saw a spanner thrown in the works last weekend when Ajax suffered the rarest of rare home defeats, which has seen their lead at the top reduced to just three points ahead of AZ. They’re some excellent games on the card this weekend but it is arguably one of the lesser lights which has caught my eye as Emmen face Sparta Rotterdam.
Emmen, as expected, are towards the bottom of the table, sitting 13th in this 18-team division going into the weekend matches. They would be most delighted for them to end the campaign here as it is all about avoiding relegation for them. They’ve got a budget which means they really should be finishing in the bottom few spots. They only average crowds just over 8,000, which proves they’re up against it.
However, they are a plucky old side. It would also be fair to state that they do, and will continue to do so, rely quite heavily on their home record to secure a spot above the bottom-three this season. They have 15-points to their name, 14 of which came at their De Oude Meerdijk stadium base. All four of their wins also came in front of their own supporters.
Sparta Rotterdam sit five-points and two places above Emmen in the standings at the time of writing. This is essentially a mid-table/bottom half game, and there really isn’t that much separating the teams in this portion of the table. Sparta are another side, like most bottom-half outfits, who pick up the vast majority of their points at home. 14/20 in their case.
Sparta couldn’t really be better placed than 11th in the table at the moment. This is also their spot in tallies relating to goals scored and goals conceded. They’re just the 11th best team! Therefore, they’re not the most consistent and I am therefore quite surprised to see them as favourites to win away at Emmen this weekend.
We know Emmen need points at home, and they’ll view Sparta Rotterdam at home as a clash they should have a great chance of winning. Sparta, on the flip side, will view this as a rare away winning opportunity, too. With not much being between the sides, I can see this being a close encounter, but Sparta just shouldn’t be favourites as nobody is backing them on the 1×2 line, or at least they shouldn’t.
Emmen have home points over PSV, AZ and Feyenoord this season, so they’re no pushovers. Sparta’s one away win came at strugglers Den Haag, scoring with two of their only three shots on target. I just can’t have Emmen being discounted as much as this, as I think they have a better chance of winning compared to Sparta.
However, the market is priced as it is for a reason. It normally is. Rather than risk all-out on a home win, I’ll keep them on side with a degree of insurance. Emmen Double Chance and Under 5 Goals is a great 20/21 (Bet365) play using the bet-builder. Only six of 32 league games combined of Emmen and Sparta this season has witnessed over four goals. Just 1/7 for Emmen at home and 1/7 for Sparta away, too.
Brondby v Hobro | Sunday 15th December 2019, 15:00
I’d like to think I have probably saved the best for last in terms of a confident selection from the World Football weekend card as we make a trip to Scandinavia, specifically the Danish Superliga. Brondby against Hobro presents fourth from top versus third from bottom prior to the weekend fixtures, but it won’t necessarily be as one-sided as the table may suggest.
Brondby are certainly a massive club in Denmark, arguably the biggest, although FC Copenhagen fans will have something to say about that. A title charge already looks well without reach for another season, with them sitting 19-points off arch rivals Copenhagen. Brondby have lost their last three, all against teams above them in the table. This again highlights they’re short of the Danish elite at present.
The issue with this team is that they’re very much one thing or the other. 19 games in, they have ten wins and eight defeats, with just the one solitary draw. This proves quite clearly that they always go for the win; sometimes they’re rewarded and others they’re not. The reality is that they often fall short to the better teams, but Hobro don’t fall into that category.
Hobro are often strugglers at this level and are arguably punching well above their weight in this league. They’re another team who are practically confined to a spot in the Relegation Group (when the league separates) before a ball has even kicked, as they don’t have the finances or consistency to finish any higher up.
Their form this season so far has reflected that, as they’re just the two wins to their name out of 19. However, one of those wins came against Copenhagen, which proves that they can raise their game against the bigger teams, and why wouldn’t they?
Sunday presents them with a chance to cause a shock against a wounded Brondby that has lost three in a row, and their egos hurt as it came to teams above them. Hobro are ten without victory, although they love a draw (four of last six).
I must admit I was genuinely shocked to see the price of our intended selection priced as it is. So much so, I placed a bet on Monday before they possibly drop later in the week, and that would not surprise me. Both Teams To Score is available at 10/11 (Bet365), and I cannot for the life of me understand why. It should be way, way lower.
We’ll cut to the numbers. Brondby has only failed to score in two league games this season, whilst they have just the four clean sheets. Therefore, 13/19 (68.42%) has seen BTTS pay out.
Hobro has failed to score five times, which isn’t bad at all for a team nearer the bottom, and they’ve just the two clean sheets. A whopping 14/19 (73.68%) has seen BTTS fly in, so how on earth are we getting just shy of odds-on? Beats me, but I’ll happily take it.
Hobro earned a 1-1 draw away at league leaders Midtjylland, so they won’t just park the bus, whilst Brondby never do that!