European Football analyst Mark O’Haire kicked the season off in profit last weekend and is keen to keep the foot down this weekend with two more selections from the continent
Sevilla To Extend Winning Streak
“It was positive, not only for the result but for how we competed as a team.”
Sevilla head coach Julen Lopetegui was delighted to see the Andalusians extend their winning start to the new La Liga season to two games after overcoming Getafe thanks to Erik Lamela’s last-gasp winner at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez last weekend.
In truth, Los Nervionenses were unremarkable against Getafe, but this is simply what Lopetegui sides do.
Sevilla grind you down, they suffocate, and they seize their opportunities.
Lopetegui’s side gave away an Expected Goals (xG) average of just 0.04 per shot and didn’t allow their hosts a single attempt on-target as they recorded back-to-back clean sheets.
Los Rojiblancos now take a trip to Elche, and this tends to Sevilla’s bread-and-butter under Lopetegui.
During his current reign, the former Spain boss has presided over 42 fixtures against bottom-half teams, returning a W30-D8-L4 record. However, away from home, the visitors have posted W16-D2-L3 against the same standard of opposition—exceptional figures.
Sevilla have scored in all 21 away days at the lesser lights, keeping 12 shutouts along the way.
When going off as odds-on favourites on the road under Lopetegui, the guests have posted W9-D2-L1, further enhancing Los Nervionenses’ reputation as flat-track bullies.
Elche have endured a tough start to the season, facing both Athletic and Atletico Madrid in their opening two encounters.
Los Franjiverdes have attempted to frustrate their more illustrious opponents. However, a lack of creativity or final-third guile has proven concerning despite the eye-catching loan addition of Dario Benedetto from Marseille.
The hosts are goalless and have conjured up a measly five shots from inside the box across their first three hours of football – not conducive numbers for a team facing the organisation and efficiency of a top-four candidate such as Sevilla on Saturday.
With both Eric Lamela and Papu Gomez making telling contributions, the away side boast enough game-changing ability in their ranks to justify their odds-on position here and pick up a third successive victory.
New Boys To Be Outclassed By Jose’s Men
Roma have begun life under Jose Mourinho in winning form.
The Giallorossi sealed a first-leg Europa Conference League play-off success against Trabzonspor in Turkey before beating Fiorentina at the Stadio Olimpico in their Serie A curtain-raiser last weekend.
Now I’m happy to support the visitors as they travel to newly-promoted Salernitana on Sunday.
Salernitana have suffered a difficult off-season after making a historic return to Italy’s top-flight. Lazio president Claudio Lottio owned the Granata, and league rules do not allow any owner to lead more than one club in the same league. Therefore, the new boys had to be taken over by a blind trust, which handicapped their preparation.
Nevertheless, Fabrizio Castori’s charges made a bit of a stir on the opening weekend, twice taking the lead before being pegged back and eventually beaten 3-2 by Bologna in a match that saw three red cards. It was a chaotic contest, but things are likely to be more ordered with Mourinho’s men in town.
This will be Roma’s fourth competitive clash under their new management, and that extra match practice is bound to aid the Giallorossi.
La Lupa generated 2.65 xG against Fiorentina, created three Big Chances and hit the woodwork.
Meanwhile, the visitors have tabled 13 triumphs in their last 20 trips to bottom-half dwellers and boast a super-strong record when travelling to newly-promoted teams too.
With Salernitana starting the season as 1.73 shots for an immediate return to Serie B, I like Roma’s prospects of picking up maximum points and backing the pre-match favourites with a -0.5/1.0 Asian Handicap start appeals at 1.78.
- Sevilla – 2 units @ 1.84
- Roma -0.5/1.0 – 2 units @ 1.78
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