Granada v Numancia | Sunday 11th November 2018, 11:00
The Segunda is a division which is commonly known for its low-scoring games. Only three sides in the second-tier of Spanish football can they say their matches have experienced an average of Over 2.5 Goals. It is also a league where a draw is also quite a favourable outcome week-by-wee – just under half the league have drawn at least five of their 12 games so far.
Granada are on home soil this weekend and are embracing the challenge ahead. They sit top of the table, suffering only two defeats this season. For a side known for its expansive, attacking play, they’ve conceded only eight times, giving them the joint-second best defensive record in the league.
We’ve already touched upon their offensive power, and they are indeed the top scorers with 20 goals. Antonio Puertas is Granada's top scorer, and responsible for six of their goals. It is five wins from their previous six for Diego Martinez Penas’ side.
Numancia have been the definition of being inconsistently consistent this season. From 12 matches, it is four wins, four draws and four defeats. They did win their previous match, 2-0 at home to Tenerife, but they did lose the two prior to this, versus Malaga and Las Palmas, who are inside the top-six and of a similar standard to Granada.
Aritz Lopez Garai is at the helm these days and has been since the summer. Numancia reached the promotion play-off final last season, losing out to Valladolid 4-1 on aggregate, who are taking their place alongside the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid this season.
Granada, known as the Nazaries, might pose the best away record in the league, but they’ve earned more points at home. They are in fact unbeaten at their Neuvo Los Carmenes base, and have had a formidable record here for quite some time now.
It was a 10-placed finish for Granada last season, finishing four-points behind the final play-off slot. Despite that being the case, they had the fourth-best home record, only earning two points less than Gijon, who had the strongest. It is five wins from six at home, keeping clean sheets in four of those.
Only twice have Granada failed to score in a game this season, both being away, and once on the opening day of the campaign.
As is often the case in this particular league, plenty of sides have a poor away record. Numancia are one of seven sides yet to win on the road. Whilst they have managed to at least draw three of those six, as mentioned, they’ve already been to Malaga and Las Palmas, losing 2-0 and 3-0 respectively.
Another tough night in Granada is anticipated. Despite making the play-offs last season, a big reason for that was their strong record at home. They finished the regular campaign with 65 points, 47 of which were claimed at home. In fact, they only won three of their 21 matches on the road overall.
Numancia have already won 4/6 at home this time around, so it could again be a case of making the most of home advantage. Numancia have failed to score in half of their clashes away, too.
Only Elche and Cordoba have conceded more goals away this season than Numancia have done. Granada have scored the most, along with Cordoba, in home matches, too. Everything is pointing towards a Granada victory here.
Therefore, it is a nice surprise to see we can get a price of 3/4 (Betway) on the home victory. Even though finished below their weekend opponents in the table, Granada actually did the double over Numancia last season. If the form guide continues, they should win again on Sunday.
Midtjylland v Vejle | Sunday 11th November 2018, 17:00
Midtjylland may have surrendered top spot in the Danish Superliga when drawing away to third-placed Esbjerg last weekend, but they’ve still had a very fine season so far.
Copenhagen lead the way thanks to a four-match winning streak, but FCM have led the way for much of the campaign. They are indeed the reigning champions in the top-flight of Danish football and are certainly used to winning games of football.
With Copenhagen having a banana skin of an away clash with fifth in the standings Aalborg, a win might take Midtjylland back to the summit on Sunday night.
It would be fair to say that it will be a two-horse race in this league. Brondby ran FCM very close last time around, but they are well off the pace in eighth. FCM therefore know the importance of winning the matches that they are meant to win, and a home encounter with Velje certainly falls into that category.
Kenneth Andersen is now at the helm after previous boss Jess Thorup jumped ship to manage Gent in Belgium last month. Results however indicate that this transition has been a smooth one, and has not derailed any momentum they have achieved. They have indeed beat Copenhagen under the guidance of Andersen, 2-0 in a cup tie earlier this month. He’ll expect another three points this weekend.
It has been quite a transformation for Velje in recent times. They have been jumping between the top-flight and second tier of football in Denmark, and did win the 1st Division title last season.
Former Watford coach Adolfo Sormani is the man looking to at least ensure they don’t instantly drop back out of this league at the first time of asking again. The reality is that it looks as though it’ll be a tough campaign for Jyllands Rubin. They’ve won just three times all season, although one did come in their most recent fixture when beating Horsens 3-1 at home.
Still, Velje are only three points above bottom of the table Hobro, with only Vendsyssel separating those two in the standings.
The two sides have already met this season when Velje welcomed Midtjylland to the Velje Stadium. The champions departed with all three points in a 3-1 victory – that perhaps doesn’t tell the entire story, as the newly-promoted side led in this match after scoring on 17 minutes, and they remained in the lead until the visitors equalised after 79 minutes. Two more late goals claimed the spoils for FCM, and they’ll certainly know from that experience alone that they cannot afford to their opponents lightly when welcoming them to the MCH Arena.
However, the reality is that FCM have only lost once in the entire season, and that came all the way back in July. This was away to Aalborg, and came only a few days before that travelled to Kazakhstan to take on FC Astana in the first leg of a Champions League qualifier. Only Aalborg, Astana and Malmo have defeated them in all competitions this season.
FCM also remain unbeaten at home, with only Aarhus leaving with any points to their name. That came on the opening day of the season, when Midtjylland were probably still finding their feet following pre-season.
Velje are yet to win the road, but Sormani’s side have at least managed to draw four of their seven. Perhaps their biggest concern in that regard is they’ve only scored three times in that period, which is by far the worst for any side on their travels in the entire league. To their credit, they’ve managed to take a point from Aalborg, Horsens and Brondby. This weekend they’ll face what will probably be their toughest test of the season thus far.
Scoring goals is no such issue for Sunday’s home team. They’ve netted 36 times, just two better off than Copenhagen. They’re the only two outfits to score 30 goals at this stage. Velje sit firmly at the bottom of the scoring charts with 14. FCM also have the joint-best defensive record, again with Copenhagen.
Three points for Midtjylland on Sunday is an outcome that isn’t really under any threat in our eyes. The price is not too appealing however, so there has to be another way we get them on side.
In an incredibly 88% of their home matches, FCM have scored in both halves. They have been known to dish out a few beatings as they’ve scored 3+ in matches versus Esbjerg, Velje (earlier in the season), Horsens, Randers, Hobro, Vendsyssel, Nordsjaelland and Brondby.
The away side have only conceded 3+ on three occasions in the league this season. One being to FCM first time around, the other to Copenhagen and again to Sonderjyske, all three are within the top four. This suggests Velje can have issues playing against the better sides more often than not. FCM on the flip side tend to enjoy it against those lower down the standings.
Velje will play quite a defensive game here, and FCM have beaten better teams this season with great ease already. Midtjylland to Score In Both Halves is priced at 19/20 (William Hill). This, honestly, is a great price.
FCM are no longer the sort of side to play for a scrappy win these days. They go for the throat and are all about attack, attack, attack. They could blow Velje away.
Dinamo Bucharest v FCSB | Sunday 11th November 2018, 19:00
It would be fair to say that there is no love lost between these two sides. This is the biggest club game in Romania football, known as The Eternal Derby.
The two clubs from Bucharest are the two most successful clubs in Romanian football, but they are enjoying contrasting fortunes in the current campaign.
It has now been over 10 years since Dinamo won the Liga I title. They finished eighth in the regular table last season, but did comfortable win the relegation play-outs end of season round robin. The season before that they achieved a third-place finish, which granted them a pathway into the Europa League qualifiers.
As things stand, Dinamo are again set to take their place in the relegation group, as they sit ninth in this 14-team division. Wins have been hard to come by for Spartanii this season, winning just four of their 14 matches to date. Whilst they did win their most recent match, 1-0 away to bottom side Voluntari, we then have to go all the way back to late August for their other most recent victory prior to last weekend. Form therefore is not great.
FCSB, or Steaua Bucharest to most folk on these shores, are without doubt the top side in Romania in terms of history. They’ve achieved a record 26 Liga I titles. However, the last time they achieved one was back in the 2014/15 season. Since then, they’ve earned the runner-up spot on three occasions, and have set about going one better this time around.
Frustratingly for FCSB, they again find themselves second in the table, however, only two points behind league leaders CFR Cluj, who are the reigning champions. In all competitions, it is two wins and three defeats from FCSB’s five most recent matches. They don’t take the domestic Romanian Cup too seriously however.
FCSB have won their last two in the league, both coming at home. Only four points separates the top four in this league, so one setback in any given game can see a side drop a few places. This weekend is a tough match for FCSB, managed by former player Nicolae Dică.
Clearly this will be a tough game to call on Sunday. Whilst there is 11 points separating the two in the table, this is certainly a fierce local derby, and anything can happen. FCSB have been the better side over recent time in relation to league finishes, but in this head-to-head battle it has been fairly even. Take the last six meetings, it reads two wins for Dinamo, two for FCSB and two draws. The last two ended in draws, 2-2 and 3-3.
Perhaps worth noting is that this match won’t be played in Dinamo’s usual Stadionul Dinamo ground. This only holds roughly 15,000, and this is a match which will attract a much larger audience. The Arena Naţională will be the venue, and it normally hosts this respective fixture. This will be home to four matches in Euro 2020, as well as Ed Sheeran and Metallica on their respective tours next year.
The Arena Naţională holds over 50,000, and whilst a crowd that size isn’t expected, a substantial bigger number to their usual league matches are expected. Dinamo averages crowds of below 3,000, whilst for FCSB it just about breaks 5,000. This means neither side necessarily will have home advantage, which might even it out to a degree.
One thing this fixture does tend to supply is goals. This has been a regular season meeting for as long as recent records can gather up. Over the most recent 12, only on one of those occasions did either side fail to score. Remarkably, 83% of FCSB’s away matches have witnessed both teams scoring. The same is said for 67% for Dinamo at home, but remember, there is technically no home team at this neutral venue.
FCSB are good for goals, they’re the top scorers in the league after all. Only three sides have conceded more goals than Dinamo have done, but this is a match where in recent times it is proved that anything can happen.
Over the last six games on the form table, Dinamo are bottom, but again, form often goes out of the window in derby clashes. Over the season, both teams have a lowly 29% clean sheet ratio. Considering the gap between the two in the table, it is surprising to see both have the same amount.
Picking a winner is tough, so we’ll look to the goals angle. Both Teams To Score pays 16/19 (188 Bet). Considering the track record in this respective fixture, it would be a surprise if this did not pay out.
Granada v Numancia – Granada to win (3/4 Betway)
Midtjylland v Vejle – Midtjylland to score in both halves (19/20 William Hill)
Dinamo Bucharest v FCSB – Both Teams To Score (16/19 188BET)