Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City | Saturday 23rd February 2019, 08:50 | BT Sport
The A-League has been a guilty pleasure of mine for a while now, so I’m glad to get my teeth into the division for a second week in a row. I believe there is a little gem to be had in the Melbourne Derby.
Victory have had the edge over City in the head-to-head, earning 12 wins to City’s six. Interestingly, the away side in this battle has emerged with the points in seven of the last nine, but that’s a trend I think which won’t continue this weekend.
The Victory are winless in their last two, losing at home to league leaders Perth Glory and then drawing away at play-off chasing Wellington Phoenix. Under the management of former Millwall hard man Kevin Muscat, they’re hunting down top spot in the division, but they are probably playing for second realistically given the lead Perth have at the summit.
The hosts are expected to have Ola Toivonen back from injury to play a part in this game, which would be a huge boost given the impact he generally has. Keisuke Honda also plays his football for them these days as well, and he returned from injury of his own off the bench last time, meaning a start is probably not far away. Terry Antonis is back from a ban too, so Muscat will have a strong squad at his disposal.
City are under the management of ex-Man Utd coach and Wigan boss Warren Joyce, and they have a six-point cushion inside the play-off positions as things stand. They are however winless in their last four, whilst they’ve lost their last four away games as well.
With the away team enjoying the better in this respective fixture, that may not necessarily worry Joyce too much. However, they are clearly a better team at home, as they’ve lost just once on home soil.
Although The Victory have been a little inconsistent in recent times, I still believe they are the team to be with on this occasion. If they play to their best then they will emerge victorious, and they do ultimately have a stronger squad in comparison. Anything can happen in these local rivalries, but The Victory have nearly scored double the amount of goals as their city rivals.
11/10 (Betway) on a Melbourne Victory….victory is slightly on the generous side, in my opinion.
Istanbul Basaksehir v Bursaspor | Saturday 23rd February 2019, 16:00
Istanbul Basaksehir have been quite good to us on these world football articles and they are again a team we’ll look to side with this weekend. They have a six-point lead over Galatasaray at the top of the Super Lig standings, and they can’t afford to take their foot off the gas any time soon.
A struggling Bursaspor are their opponents this weekend, and they’re unsurprisingly odds-on favourites to continue the winning trend.
Bursaspor won this league back in 2010 but any chance of backing that up seem a long, long, long way off at the moment. Only goal difference is currently keeping them out of the relegation zone, and they have just a solitary four league victories to their name this season. Only six losses doesn’t seem too bad, but they’ve drew 12/22, which is too many for it to be applauded for them being hard to beat. They’ve winless in their last eight.
Whilst there is seemingly a big gulf in class between these two teams, there is something which does connect them. Their matches quite simply do not contain many goals at all. In fact, these two outfits have the lowest goals to game ratio in the league. For Bursaspor, it is a league low of 1.90, whilst Bursaspor is only 2.00.
Basaksehir generally do enough to get the job done, creating enough going forward and proving exceptional defensively. Bursaspor are quite stubborn, but are the lowest scorers in the Turkish top flight. Basaksehir have conceded only 11 times, which is by far the best in the league. As the saying goes, ‘attacks win games, defence win titles’,
Basaksehir are the team we’ll back to win again this weekend. They’ve only lost twice all season and anything other than a home win would be a massive shock here.
For additional value, we’ll throw in Under 3.5 Goals too – only 14% of Basaksehir’s matches and 5% of Bursaspor’s has ended above this: Basaksehir to win and Under 3.5 Goals is a very attractive 11/10 (Coral) shot.