We approach another weekend of European football at WhoScored.com with baited breath. In particular, Sunday's lineup looks particularly enticing, and so we turn our attention to two of the biggest games from that day, both of which are sure provide entertainment aplenty. The WhoScored Tipster has had a great deal of success in recent weeks, and a £10 bet on each of the suggested bets in the last 4 articles would have produced a profit of over £250. This time around we focus on the reliably fractious Roman derby and a key battle at Stamford Bridge, as Liverpool come to visit.
Lazio vs Roma - Match Preview
What is sure to be an intense affair at the Stadio Olimpico this weekend will see Roma travel across the Italian capital for the first derby of the season, as they face off against fierce rivals Lazio. Games between the two sides always to produce a great deal of drama, and with Zdenek Zeman's Roma side both scoring and conceding goals freely this season, we could be in for a goal fest on Sunday.
The Giallorossi have scored 23 goals and shipped 20 more in the ten league games they have played this season. Incredibly, including in their tally the goals from the 3-0 win they were awarded over Cagliari actually reduces the average number of goals they have seen in their league games this season. However, as they did not physically score or concede those three goals we will not consider them, leaving them with an average of 4.3 goals per Serie A game. In away games, Zeman's men have been even more goal-happy, albeit still at both ends, with 20 goals netted in their four away games - an astonishing average of five goals per game.
Rivals Lazio, meanwhile, have been somewhat more conservative in terms of goals this season, although they have still seen an average of 2.8 goals per game this season. Furthermore, they have their main goal threat back this week, with Miroslav Klose returning from injury with an appearance from the bench in the Europa League this week, and ready to start in the derby on Sunday. A bet on over 2.5 goals seems a surefire winner, and odds of 1.36 reflect this, whilst over 3.5 goals returns 1.90 times your stake so could be a better gamble. One thing to consider is, however, the fact that none of the last 6 meetings between the sides have produced more than 3 goals, so erring on the side of caution might be sensible.
Red cards and penalties are unsurprisingly commonplace in games between the sides, with 12 red cards having been shown in the sides' last 8 league meetings, and 6 red cards and 39 yellows brandished in the last five outings. Betting on there being over 8.5 cards would normally appeal, but with meagre odds of 2.00, it is hardly worth it.
There have been 8 penalties in the last 6 Rome derbies in all competitions, all of which have been scored, and with tempers running high once again, there is every reason to expect another this week. Lazio's Brazilian playmaker is usually tasked with taking penalties for his side, and has found the net from the spot in three of Lazio's last four games against Roma. What is more, the first goal in three of the last five Rome derbies has been from the 12-yard spot, so Hernanes could be handed the chance to open the scoring, and thus has something of an advantage in the first goalscorer stakes. His odds are 7.50 to fulfil this criteria and could be a good outside bet, or at 2.37 could be a decent shout for grabbing a goal at any time in the game.
As for the overall outcome of the match, Lazio are the slightly more consistent and reliable team to bet on. Roma's form has swung up and down all season, and although they sit 6th in the table, their longest streak of any kind this season is 2 games in a row. Having won their last match, there is just as much chance of them failing to do so here.
Lazio, meanwhile, have shown some consistency in recent times and, stretching over to last season, have lost only one of their last nine home league games, as well as winning each of their three home Europa League ties this season. In addition, none of the last 10 Roman derbies have ended in a draw, with Lazio winning both clashes last season, so, with odds of 2.62 on a home victory, such a bet could be money well placed.
Chelsea vs Liverpool - Match Preview
Much of the excitement surrounding this clash will be based on Fernando Torres facing his former club for the fifth time, having lost each of the four matches he has featured in against them since his £50million move to London, failing to score a single goal in those games. Some might expect the Spaniard, having found some form this season, to break that duck this weekend, but the statistics certainly do not point to such an occurrence, and that is not where our money will be spent.
Rather, with Chelsea having scored in all but one of their 18 competitive games this season and having failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 7 matches, goals could be on the cards. Couple these facts with Liverpool's having scored 8 and conceded 8 in four away Premier League games this season, a bet on both teams to score seems a good punt. With both sides dangerous going forwards and weak at the back, odds of 1.61 are good value.
While there are not many obvious trends in games between Chelsea and Liverpool, one that stands out is the team that tends to net the last goal of the game. Surprisingly, in each of the sides' last six meetings, the Merseyside club have scored last, but the bookies hold Chelsea as favourites to do so this time, leaving Liverpool as 2.50 outsiders to get the final goal of the game. Whether it has been a match-winning goal, a late consolation, or the final goal in a win, the fact is that Liverpool have ended recent meetings with Chelsea better than their opponents, and they could well do so again.
Yet more surprising is the run of results between the two clubs in recent years, when Chelsea have been by and large the more successful of the two. However, Liverpool have a fantastic recent record against Chelsea, and although league standings this season would suggest otherwise, an upset could well be on its way.
The Reds, undefeated in their last five Premier League matches, have also won five of their last six meetings with Chelsea in all competitions, with three of those wins coming away from home. Seemingly spurred on by the chance to show Torres that he was mistaken in making a big money move to London, Liverpool have upset the odds in the past and that could prey on the players' minds.
They are far from likely to do so once again in the eyes of the bookies, who have priced them at 4.00 to pick up another win. Chelsea are clearly an improved side from last season, but are also suffering a slight dip in form, having won in normal time only once in their last five games, and even then, that victory required an injury time winner. Chelsea will have been favourites to beat Liverpool in the past, with Liverpool overcoming the Blues in spite of this, and their odds this time around, with history on their side, are certainly tempting.