Ulsan Hyundai v Jeonbuk, Sunday 7th October 2018, 08:00
Under the stewardship of Choi Kang-hee, Jeonbuk have become one of the top teams in Asian football. In 2016, they also won the Asian equivalent of the UEFA Champions League, the AFC Champions League.
Jeonbuk are searching for their fourth K League 1 title in the last five seasons. They sit top of the standings by a cool 18 points with only two matches of the regular season to go, before they split off into a top six round robin.
Ulsan Hyundai have already confirmed their spot among the top six too, so this Sunday encounter promises to be an excitement top three battle in the top tier of South Korean football.
Goals are often the case in matches involving Jeonbuk, with them the ones usually finding the back of the net on a regular basis. They are currently managing a league average of 2.03 goals per-game, a figure which is marginally increased when playing away from home.
Although top spot is assured of, they certainly want to continue this momentum going into the post-season format. They haven’t tasted defeat in the league since mid-August, and even then they managed to net two goals when losing in Pohang.
Only twice have Jeonbuk suffered defeat on the road, and they have successful in their last two visits to Ulsan Hyundai, again netting two goals on each occasion.
The home record of Ulsan Hyundai is difficult to ignore. They have won their last eight at the Ulsan Munsu Football Stadium, keeping clean sheets on five of those occasions.
However, they have all arguably been matches they’ve been expected to win. In fact, the lost time they suffered a relatively comfortable defeat was during their last meeting with Jeonbuk, who triumphed 2-0 back in July.
Despite sitting third, Ulsan have conceded an average of just over a goal per-game, and Jeonbuk certainly have the upper hand over them. After all, despite only being separated by Gyeongnam in the table, there is a huge 21 points difference.
Jeonbuk are priced odds-on to win this game, which is not of great appeal. Given their goalscoring exploits, a safer call could be on Jeonbuk to score Over 1.5 Goals at 81/100 (Royal Panda).
FC Copenhagen v Randers, Sunday 7th October 2018, 15:00
Stale Solbakken’s FC Copenhagen charges will be in Europa League action on Thursday night when travelling to France to take on Bordeaux, but attentions will soon swiftly revert back to their domestic campaign when Randers are the visitors to the Telia Parken on Sunday afternoon.
Considering that FC Copenhagen finished the last regular Championship season campaign just shy of 30 points off top of the table FC Midtjylland, they can ill-afford not winning the title this time around. They have lost top spot to Midtjylland at this moment, albeit by goal difference, meaning it is of great importance they don’t drop points this weekend, especially after losing two of their last three, both coming away.
Copenhagen will dominate the head-to-head record with most opponents in the Danish Superliga given they’ve won the top league 12 times, the last coming in the 2016/17 campaign. They’ve beaten Randers at home in their last four league meetings, winning 5-1, 1-0, 4-0 and 3-0.
The hosts record in front of their passionate supporters is of great comfort to everyone connected with FCK. They did suffer a shock opening day defeat to Horsens, but since then they’re unbeaten, including in Europa League matches with Atalanta and Zenit. FCK are on a league four-game winning streak here too, scoring 12 goals in the process.
On the flip side, only Nordsjaelland have fewer points on the road than Randers, who are firmly in mid-table. Such is the tightness of the league, although they sit ninth in a 14-team division, they’re only four points off third and two from second-bottom Vendsyssel.
Clearly we have find a way of keeping FCK on side this weekend as it is an important match for them after dropping points of late. There is always a pressure and expectancy from their crowd, especially against the lesser teams, to really put on a show. They certainly have the quality, headlined by the likes of Dame N’Doye and Viktor Fischer.
Randers have already faced Copenhagen’s rivals FC Midtjylland away from home, suffering a 3-0 defeat. Clearly they are well adrift of the top bracket.
In 80% of Copenhagen’s home matches, they have netted in both halves. Randers have conceded in each half of 60% of their away games. Thomas Thomasberg’s side have failed to keep a clean sheet on the road too, and their leaky defence will certainly be tested right from the off in front of a big crowd.
All of FCK’s home games have beaten the 2.5 goal line, so a case is definitely made for goals. FC Copenhagen to score in both halves is an attractive 5/4 (William Hill).
Shakhtar Donetsk v Zorya, Sunday 7th October 2018, 15:00
Unsurprisingly, Shakhtar Donetsk are heavy odds-on to win in one of their domestic Ukrainian games this weekend. With the exception of their matches against rivals Dynamo Kiev, they are virtually expected to win every time.
Of course, it never always that simple, and this weekend is likely to be one of their tougher assignments in the Ukrainian Premier League when plucky Zorya are the visitors. Zorya sit fifth in the table, still some 14 points off the league leaders, Shakhtar.
After a testing appearance in midweek during the Champions League, when earning a creditable 2-2 draw away at Lyon behind-closed-doors, Paulo Fonseca would have wanted more of a routine type of game to back that up.
As such, Zorya, who have finished in the top four for the past four seasons, making the Europa League group stage of two occasions, will travel believing they can maybe spring an upset.
A concerning fact for the most loyal supporter of Zorya is that they have lost on their previous four visits to Shakhtar. However, they have scored in four of their last six too, with three of their recent four victories seeing the host only prevail by a one-goal margin.
Shakhtar play a very aggressive, offensive style, which often sees them claim the three points most weekends. After all, they’ve scored 15 times more than any other opponent already.
If Fonseca’s side are ever to have a bit of a wobble, then it will be in a game of this nature. They did suffer their only defeat to Dynamo Kiev, who will certainly be their strongest domestic opposition. Zorya very much enjoy it as the underdog and they can give their 11-time league winners a bit of a scare.
Focusing on the head-to-head, both home and away, both teams have netted quite regularly. Eleven of the last 15 has seen both teams scoring. Therefore, getting odds-against on Both Teams To Score 6/4 (Sportingbet) has to be worthy of some interest.
AIK Stockholm v Orebro, Sunday 7th October 2018, 16:30
AIK have been in the top three the entire season, and only suffered their first defeat a few weeks ago to title rival contenders Norrkoping.
Rikard Norling’s side remain in an extremely healthy position with only six games to go. They sit eight points clear at the top, meaning they are well on course to achieve their first league title since 2009, which would be their sixth in total.
Orebro stand in their way this weekend, a sit who realistically are neither in contention for a European spot or battling against the drop. The goals of Henok Goitom has contributed to their success in a big way this season.
With the likes of Tarik Elyounoussi and Nicholas Stefanelli all chipping in as well, they certainly don’t lack a goal threat. So much so, only Hacken has netted more goals than they have, and they’ve seen 11 different players contribute goals.
This weekend is another big game for them as they look to secure the league crown. Orebro are a side that can cause problems; hoing forward they play quite an expansive type of football, which has seen then win five or their last seven in all competitions.
None of those came against massively strong opposition however, and they don’t tend to enjoy their trips to the Friends Arena. They’ve failed to win there since 2010. AIK have won five of their last seven head-to-head at home, and anything other than another victory would be a shock.
It may be goals which has helped AIK to the top, but it is very much their strong defence which has given them a comfortable position in the standing at this stage. After 24 games, they’ve incredibly only conceded 13.
75% of AIK’s home matches has seen them claim a clean sheet, with the same figure standing when winning alongside a shut-out in front of their big crowd. Therefore, it is hard to ignore those claims for Sunday, especially as Orebro haven’t scored in over half of their matches on the road. AIK winning ‘to nil’ pays 3/4 (Boylesports).
Ulsan Hyundai v Jeonbuk – Jeonbuk to score Over 1.5 Goals (81/100 Royal Panda)
FC Copenhagen v Randers – FC Copenhagen to score in both halves (5/4 William Hill)
Shakhtar Donetsk v Zorya – Both Teams To Score (6/4 Sportingbet)
AIK Stockholm v Orebro – AIK Stockholm to win to nil (3/4 Boylesports)