Weekend’s Best Tips
Weekend Preview: (29th & 30th April)
Liverpool welcome Spurs to Anfield this weekend while Unai Emery’s red-hot Villans travel to Old Trafford in search of a first league double in almost 70 years. We look at these as well as the Old Firm Derby and more, but before we do, head to our Cross Sport Specials page to check out some of the special offers we have. You can also read about our new feature; the Pick 11 Jackpot Bet here.
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Real Madrid vs. Almeria
If Real Madrid had been told they would concede 4 goals in a game against an Argentine, their guess – just like anyone’s – would have been Lionel Messi doing the damage. Instead, it was Taty Castellanos, the NYCFC loanee, who had a flawless night in front of goal as his brace in either half gave Girona a 4-2 win over Los Blancos. To make things worse, veteran midfielder, Luka Modrić picked up a hamstring injury and will miss the Copa del Rey final on the 6th of May as well as the first leg of the Manchester City Champions League semi-final tie a few days later.
Prior to the loss at Girona, Real Madrid had been on a decent run 8 wins in 11 games but with key cup games coming up and the league title all but certain to be heading to Barcelona, they could opt for a heavily rotated squad to ensure they’re healthier for the cup run-in. Vinicius Jr. has 2 goals and 9 assists in his last 8 games across all competitions. Having sat out the game against Cadiz a few weeks ago, he’s one player that might not be rested, and we expect this run to continue.
Almeria have won just one of their last 13 LaLiga meetings with Real Madrid, a 2-0 victory back in 2008. Since then, they’ve lost 10 and drawn 2 against the Spanish giants including each of their last 6 – their longest losing streak against them in league history. Argentine midfielder, Lucas Robertone will hope to follow in the footsteps of his countryman, Castellanos by being a menace to Real Madrid. Robertone’s 7 assists this season is the 3rd most in the league this season and only Griezmann (10), Merino (8) and Vinícius Jr. (8) have more. He’s one to watch out for.
Real Madrid Form: W-W-W-W-L
Almeria Form: D-W-L-L-W
Almeria have won 2 of their last 4 LaLiga games, as many as they had in 13 matches before then. They have not won 2 in a row away from home in LaLiga since January 2015.
- King’s Combo: Vinicius Jr. to score & Real Madrid to win @2.20
- Over 2.5 goals @1.31
- Almeria to score @1.88
Barcelona vs. Real Betis
Barcelona’s inevitable league title has come with some consequences as their overall form has taken a hit. The Catalans were on a 5-game winning streak in all competitions but since opening a double-digit lead in LaLiga and getting knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Real Madrid; they seem to have lost a bit of interest. They’ve won just once in their last 5 games and suffered a 2-1 loss to Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday. Luckily for them, the loss didn’t affect their position on the table with Real Madrid losing the previous day.
Real Betis have problems of their own as their 1 win & 3 losses in 5 league games has seen them drop to 6th in the standing, with their chances of making the Champions League or Europa League quickly slipping away. Having won 4 and drawn 2 of the previous 6 before that, Manuel Pellegrini’s side were on course to finish in the Top 4 for the first time since 2005 but will now need to get results in their next two games (away at Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao) to reignite those dreams. With the 7th best away record in the league (21 points from a possible 45), Real Betis will fancy chances.
Since going 16 LaLiga home games without losing to Betis, Barcelona have now lost 2 of their last 4 to them. Interestingly, in the last 11 meetings between these two sides, the away team has won 8 times which would worry the Catalans. Having lost to Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday, they’ll aim to avoid consecutive league losses for the first time since Xavi Hernández took the job in 2021. Alongside Union Berlin and Bayern Munich, Barcelona are one of only three sides to remain unbeaten at home in league games across the top 5 leagues in Europe, and they’ll want to keep that run going.
Barcelona Form: L-D-D-W-L
Real Betis Form: L-L-W-L-D
In the last 16 meetings between these two sides, only 4 have featured under 2.5 goals. Those 16 games have featured 70 goals, an average of 4.4 goals per game.
- King’s Combo: Over 2.5 goals, Both Teams to score & 9+ corners @3.50
- King’s Combo: Lewandowski & Iglesias both to Score @7.50
- Double Chance: Real Betis to Win or Draw @3.05
Manchester United vs. Aston Villa
Aston Villa will aim to complete a first league double over Manchester United for the first time since the 1954/55 season when they head to Old Trafford on Sunday. The Villans claimed all three points (3-1) when these two sides met at Villa Park earlier this season with Unai Emery in charge of his first game at the club. Though Manchester United got their revenge 3 days later in the EFL Cup as they won 4-2, the result of their earlier meeting provided a solid foundation on which Emery has built a solid team. Since that appointment, only Arsenal (44) have picked up more league points than Aston Villa (42) with the Gunners having played a game more. They’ve scored in each game since the Spaniard’s arrival and have lost just 1 away league game in 9 (W6, D2). Following a rough start to February that saw them lose 3 consecutive league games, they’ve won 8 and drawn 2 of their last 10 while keeping 7 clean sheets. Ollie Watkins may not have scored in the last two games, but he still poses a lot of danger to the Red Devils. He’s scored 11 goals & provided 2 assists since late January and is a key reason they’re currently 6th with a realistic, albeit slim chance of making the top 4.
Erik ten Hag’s side suffered yet another collapse after being up 2-0 and cruising to a victory. Just like they did against Sevilla 2 weeks ago, Manchester United grabbed 2 goals against Spurs and looked in control. However, a lack of intensity in the closing stages, coupled with poor game management by their Erik ten Hag, saw them lose their lead. The injury to key defenders and the gruelling schedule seems to have finally caught up with them, and it feels like they’re there for the taking, especially in last 15 minutes of games. However, they remain the side with the longest active unbeaten home run in the league (14), with their last defeat at Old Trafford coming on the opening day of the season against Brighton. They’ve already beaten Unai Emery’s men in the cup on that ground and will look to put their midweek disappointment to bed with a solid performance on Sunday.
Manchester United Form: D-W-L-W-D
Aston Villa Form: W-W-W-D-W
Manchester United are winless against Aston Villa in their last 3 Premier League meetings with Aston Villa, drawing once and losing twice – as many losses as they had in their previous 51 meetings (W37, D12).
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Lorient
Lorient is struggling to cope without their Nigerian forward Terem Moffi, as their form has taken a hit since letting him go. Lorient has won just 2 of their last 13 games in all competitions, and they have been shut-out in 5 of those. Their 5-game winless run in Ligue 1 has seen them drop from 8th to 11th in the league table, and their chances of getting European football next season are fading away. In the reverse fixture, these two sides met in early November with Neymar’s opener canceled out by Terem Moffi before Danilo Pereira gave PSG the win in the 81st minute. It was Lorient’s 21st game in a row in which they had failed to get a win against the Parisian having lost 18 and drawn 3 in that stretch.
PSG is having one of their best runs in Ligue 1 history, with 24 wins after 32 games, which is their 4th most in club history. Their 75 points at this stage of the season is their best in 5 years, and they’re looking to seal their 11th Ligue 1 title and 9th since 2012. With a weakened and deflated Lorient side visiting the Parc des Princes, PSG will aim to improve their 8-point lead at the top of the table.
Although PSG has dominated recent fixtures against Lorient with 6 consecutive wins, they will be wary of the fact that they have not kept a clean sheet against them in 4 games, which is their longest run without a clean sheet against a top-flight team after Lens (8) and Lille (5). However, at this stage of the season, what matters most to PSG is picking up 3 points, and they have won all 15 of their games against sides ranked in the bottom half of the league – the best record in the league by a wide margin.
Paris Saint-Germain Form: L-L-W-W-W
Lorient Form: D-L-D-L-L
Lorient is without a win against PSG since early February in 2010 when they won 3-0. Claude Makélélé was part of PSG’s midfield on the day while Lorient’s defense featured a 24-year-old Laurent Koscielny.
Liverpool vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham put up a decent fight against Manchester United to gain a point in a game where they were second best for long stretches. Following the 6-1 defeat by Newcastle and the sacking of Interim manager, Cristian Stellini they needed to appease their fans, and while a draw is barely a peace offering, the fans appreciated the effort. This week, however, they face an even tougher task as they travel to face Liverpool at Anfield – a ground on which they’ve only won two Premier League games in 35 years (1993 & 2011). To make things worse, they’re currently on their worst away run in 4 years, with no win in 5 league games (D2, L3). They’ve also conceded 31 league goals on the road this season, their most since the 2008/09 campaign, and they’ve kept just 2 clean sheets outside London. In other words, this Spurs side has really struggled in away games and at Anfield – where they’ve struggled over the last 35 years – things could get ugly.
Liverpool getting their first 3-game winning streak of the season in late April is a reflection of their overall poor performance this year. Wins against Leeds United (6-1) and Forest (3-2) were followed by a mid-week win at the London Stadium over West Ham (2-1) and the Reds now find themselves just 7 points away from Top 4. They have been free scoring in recent weeks, with Cody Gakpo (2), Mo Salah (4), Diogo Jota (4), Darwin Núñez and Bobby Firmino all finding the back of the net in their last 4 games. Trent Alexander-Arnold has been phenomenal in these 4 games with 5 assists in that span as he continues to flourish in a slightly more advanced role. The one potential problem that might haunt them this weekend, though, is their defense which has kept just one clean sheet in 8 games while conceding 12 goals.
Liverpool Form: D-D-W-W-W
Tottenham Hotspurs Form: D-W-L-L-D
Liverpool have lost just once in 20 Premier League games against Spurs, winning 13 and drawing 6. Their last loss to the North Londoners came in 2017 (4-1 at Wembley Stadium). Also, they’ve lost just one league game at Anfield since mid-April 2021.
Rangers vs. Celtic
Hampden Park will host the semi-final clash between Rangers & Celtic this weekend as they fight for a place in the final of the Scottish Cup. These two bitter rivals met 3 weeks ago at Celtic Park with The Bhoys securing a 3-2 win over Rangers, courtesy a brace from Kyogo Furuhashi and a winner from Jota. It was Celtic’s 3rd win against the Rangers in 4 games (1D), having already beaten them in the League Cup in February (2-1) and the Scottish Premiership in September (4-0). That 3-2 win earlier this month came after referee Kevin Clancy controversially ruled Rangers’ goal out, leading to some ugly death threats online. The Rangers fan base felt robbed of a win as they were the better team for most of the game. This time around, there’ll be an extra motivation to “get justice”.
Rangers’ midfielder, Nicolas Raskin has been bullish in the press ahead of this clash as they aim to snap their run of 5 winless games against Celtic. “It’s very important for two reasons. Rangers need to win something for the season, and it is our last chance, we also want to win against them. The last game we lost, but we have another feeling, we are not that far from them.” The Rangers fans will be happy to see a new face already invested in this rivalry with the Belgian having just joined from Standard Liege in January. Raskin is right, though. Having already been knocked out of the Champions League and League Cup, retaining the Scottish Cup is Rangers’ only hope of silverware this season as they are 13 points behind Celtic in the Premiership.
Last time out, Celtic failed to win a home game in the league for the first time this season as they drew with Motherwell. Nevertheless, they’re just one win away from sealing a 52nd league title and would not be downcast by the draw.
Rangers Form: W-W-L-W-L
Celtic Form: W-W-W-W-D
Kyogo Furuhashi has scored 5 goals in his last 3 games against Rangers. On the other hand, Rangers’ captain and set-piece specialist, James Tavernier grabbed a brace the last time these two sides met to take his career tally to 100 goals – a phenomenal achievement for a Right-Back.
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