World Football: Slutsky’s side can find their range on Saturday

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WORLD football fanatic James O'Rourke (@JamesOR1) looks to continue his fabulous form with a selection of hand-picked best bets from across the planet on Saturday.

Charleroi v Genk | Saturday 2nd March 2019, 17:00

Genk have not necessarily been performing like a side with an eight-point lead at the top of the table should do in recent times. A lack of consistency from those behind them in the form of Club Brugge, Standard Liege and Antwerp means that gap remains, but Genk have certainly dropped off in recent times, certainly compared to the high standards they’d set themselves.

They are winless in their last four in all competitions, including a heavy defeat to Slavia Prague, which brought an end to their Europa League run. They have faced their three closest challengers in the league in their last three, securing one win, one draw and one defeat. They’ll therefore be targeting maximum points for the trip to Charleroi.

Charleroi have won two, drew two and lost two since returning following the winter break. This reflects a clear lack of consistency, and ultimately proves why they sit in a mid-table position of eighth. They have a chance of breaking into the top-six, but a run of results will really be needed. The reality is that they probably need to beat the league leaders on Saturday.

We’ll cut to the chase here, Both Teams To Score is our play for this game. It is available at 7/10 (William Hill) and there are several reasons to believe it should pay out this weekend.

70% of Charleroi games has seen BTTS come in, and the same is said in 63% of Genk’s, which is quite surprising for a team sitting at the top of the table. Genk actually have the best defence in the league, but they’ve only kept three away clean sheets in the league since August.

Osasuna v Gimnastic | Saturday 2nd March 2019, 17:00

Top meets bottom in the Spanish second-tier on Saturday night and all known form should be pointing to an Osasuna victory over Gimnastic. However, this is quite an unpredictable league, in which 32% of the games played so far has ended in a draw.

Gimnastic do find wins hard to come by, however they won’t travel without a hope. Having said that, anything less than three points is a blow for Osasuna, who would risk losing top spot if they didn’t do so.

Osasuna have been in fine form for a while now. That is ultimately the reason why they are top, having been a little way off the pace a few months ago. Now, they have the league title within their own control as things stand.

Besides a loss away to Las Palmas, Osasuna are unbeaten since November. They’ve unbeaten in their last six and they’ve also made home soil something of a fortress. They’ve got the best home record in the league, and a win here on Saturday would make it ten in a row at the El Sadar Stadium.

Gimnastic don’t travel well and have the worst away record in the league. However, they have managed to draw away to Deportivo and Cadiz, who currently possess play-off positions. Remember when I said this was an unpredictable league? That is why. The occasional result like that will pop up.

However, Osasuna are going great guns right now and even they must be aware of not taking this too lightly. After all, Gimnastic actually won the last home meeting and won of their last visit to Osasuna last season.

This is a league that isn’t often filled with goals per game. The league average is 2.17. Osasuna are low odds-on to win this weekend, as expected, but more value needs to be added to this. Osasuna To Win and Under 3.5 Goals is our selection at 4/5 (Betway).

Of the 54 league matches that Osasuna and Gimnastic combined has played this season, only 11 of those has beat the 3.5 goal line. With the market expecting Osasuna to win so easily, this market is always a great way to offer greater appeal, especially in a league which is often so tight.

Moreirense v Setubal | Saturday 2nd March 2019, 18:00

Believe it or not, there are other teams in Portugal besides the usual suspects of Porto, Benfica and Sporting CP. There is a platform for the others to shine and before the big game of Porto vs Benfica later in the evening, it is an opportunity for these two to strut their stuff.

What may surprise many is that Moreirense are actually having an excellent season and they’re only five points behind Sporting, who sit in fourth, which is the final European qualification spot.

Setubal, on the other hand, are one of a number of clubs separated by only a few points just outside the relegation places. They are only a point ahead of the bottom three, but also only five points off the top half as well. They are amidst a rather dreadful run of form at present, as they have failed to win any games of any kind since they won on 1st December away to Maritimo.

Moreirense have proved effective this season, but certainly not spectacular. They only have a goal difference of +2. They have however only lost three in their last 12 overall, those coming against Porto, Sporting CP and also a solid outfit in Guimaraes.

Moreirense are also on an especially fine run of form at home; they’ve lost once in their last 10 here, and whilst that was a shock setback to Santa Clara, they also earned a spirited draw against league leaders Porto only a few weeks ago.

Something which may put some off Moreirense this weekend is their head-to-head record in this game. Setubal are unbeaten in the last five, losing just once in the previous seven. However, Moreirense only avoided relegation by two points last season, so they’re clearly in their best spell for some time. Since winning promotion back into this league, they’ve finished 11th, 12th and 15th, which makes their transformation this season even more special.

We have to get them on side this weekend. It is a game that they really should be winning if they hold claims of really applying pressure on a stuttering Sporting CP side in the league table. Setubal have actually drew six of their last eight, which is a bit of a concern, but Moreirense have proved that they can beat teams of this nature.

Moreirense games average only 2.30 goals this season, a number which reduces to only 2.00 in home matches. This again proves how effective and efficient they are.

A price of Moreirense to win and Under 3.5 Goals at 29/20 (Coral) is my NAP of the day, without a shadow of any doubt.

Vitesse v Breda | Saturday 2nd March 2019, 19:45

After being knocked out of the KNVB Beker and going winless in three in the league, Vitesse have now won their last two in the Eredivisie, scoring six goals in the process. They need to maintain this consistency for a much longer period if they are to seriously trouble Feyenoord in third spot, but that is realistically perhaps a step too far.

Still, Vitesse will want to be sure of taking their place in the end of season Europa League play-off spots, of which they currently have a seven-point gap inside.

Breda, on the other hand, have a completely different agenda, and the worry for them is that they are already starting to look cut adrift at the bottom of the table. Graafschap winning in Zwolle means Breda are now bottom by four points. The fact Breda would be happy to just make the relegation/promotion play-off at the end of the season reflects where they are at present.

Vitesse have won their last two, but Breda are winless in six. Whilst they have played Ajax and AZ in that time, they also lost 3-0 to closest rivals Graafschap. They really aren’t in a good moment right now, and they’ve also developed the rather toxic ability to struggle to score, but have no trouble in conceding them.

With that being the case, it may surprise a few as to what my selection will be for this weekend’s encounter. Clearly Vitesse are the side that should be winning this game, purely based on form if anything. However, Vitesse, managed by Leonid Slutsky, aren’t necessarily the most reliable type and can sometimes make heavy work of these type of situations.

For all that Breda struggle for goals, Vitesse struggle even more to keep clean sheets. They’ve kept only one clean sheet at home this season. They’ve conceded at least twice in their previous three on home soil, but also scored eight in reply in that time as well. Slutsky often cuts a nervous figure on the touchline and it is easy to see why. Nothing rarely comes easy for Vitesse.

Vitesse do concede but Breda struggle for goals. Something clearly has to give on Saturday. I’m backing Breda to improve upon their tally of one goal in their last six purely on the basis of them being ‘due one’. Also, Breda won the home meeting 2-1 earlier in the campaign and have scored a combined five goals in their last three visits to this stadium.

Vitesse to win and Both Teams To Score is priced at 23/10 (888), but this is by no means a high stakes type of bet.

Best Bets

Charleroi v Genk – Both Teams To Score (7/10 William Hill)

Osasuna v Gimnastic – Osasuna to win and Under 3.5 Goals (4/5 Betway)

Moreirense v Setubal – Moreirense to win and Under 3.5 Goals (29/20 Coral)

Vitesse v Breda – Vitesse to win and Both Teams To Score (23/10 888)

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