Dybban’s guide to the round 24 May
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Italy and Turkey also boast cup games where the pasta boot final is contested, while the kebab fanatics offer a decisive semi.
As if this were not enough, fierce league matches from the Premier League, Allsvenskan and La Liga must also be mastered in the hunt for 13 right. One of my best spikes is found in the heavyweight encounter at Old Trafford.
Here are my early thoughts and moves:
￭￭ Match 8. Just ten days ago, AEK Athens secured their first league title in five years when they thrashed Volos 4-0. Inter and Argentina’s old ball winner, Matías Almeyda, is the name of the success maker behind the gold, who with an iron fist guided the Yellow and Black’s defensive. Just 17 goals conceded in 36 matches are numbers that speak for themselves and, happily, there is also a Swedish element in AEK in the form of Niclas Eliasson. Falkenbergssonen has had a fine season with seven assists and I wouldn’t be surprised if Jan Andersson has the 27-year-old in mind for the next national team meeting. Having said that, the long-awaited gold seems to have been celebrated hard and there is undeniably a risk of both worn legs and saturation when the cup final against PAOK is awaited.
It’s not just any opponent. The fights between these teams are called “The double-headed derby” and given the current conditions, I give Pontus Wernblooms old team good chance to invite up to tango. It is easy to stare blindly at the last head-to-head meeting in Athens, which AEK won 4-0, but I would like to quickly point out that PAOK suffered an early dismissal. Here, the lads from Thessaloniki will do everything in their power to prevent the arch-rivals’ double and I can’t get behind the bizarre streaked one. PAOK have sharp match winners in the form of Zivkovic and Thomas which can single-handedly cause trouble for the overrated favourite.
The clearly playable right side attracts enormously. X2 is a given output where the overrated one is last in.
￭￭ Match 6. I was incredibly excited about what Sunday’s “El Gran Derbi” had to offer, but apart from a couple of hot-tempered final minutes, neither Sevilla nor Real Betis offered any noteworthy rival meeting. Especially not the latter. Pellegrini’s gang could barely get to the offensive penalty area, which is well reflected in the fact that the green-white xG figures stayed at 0.1 as they did not get a single shot on goal. Without casualties Faker doesn’t have the necessary creativity needed and when the Frenchman is missing even against Getafe, I think again that Real Betis will have problems.
While the hosts are more or less stuck in sixth place, Getafe are fighting for a new contract. In order to maximize the chances of a renewed La Liga ticket, the guests have hired new-timers Pep Bordalás as a coach and since he took over the level of performance has been raised. Only one loss in the last three and a clearly improved defense testify to this. Unal, Alena and Munir are also free players offensively. The Bordalás-led team does not budge an inch in the duels and if they manage to sabotage the match picture against a Betis that likes to lead the game, much is won. Motivation weighs heavily in the East and when the value of the game falls on the same side, it is difficult to close your eyes.
According to the odds market, Betis’ winning chance is valued at just under 50%. The punters, however, at the time of writing, paint first at over 65%. Then I go against – X2!
￭￭ Match 1. Apart from the bottom battle, possibly also the fight for the various European places, most things are decided in the Premier League. However, that does not prevent the clash between Brighton and Manchester City from being called an eerily exciting one. Pep Guardiola has east praise over Roberto De Zerbi since the Italian’s arrival in the Premier League and in the league final against Arsenal, there were clear De Zerbi tendencies in City’s build-up play. Of course, rotation can occur with the light blues as the league title is already secured, but I have a feeling that Pep wants to honor his colleague by not showing the shoes in this task. The Spaniard often insists that rhythm is needed before big games and considering what is to come for The Citizens, I will not be surprised if a strong eleven is fielded at the AMEX Stadium.
Brighton, in turn, need just one point to secure the Europa League, meaning The Seagulls should be all in this Wednesday. However, the squad has flaws there among others March is a heavy break and it is also impossible to get away from the fact that a possibly rotated City eleven is clearly stronger than Brighton’s best ditto. I think the biggest rotation occurred last time against Chelsea where the performance was not much to cheer about. Pep seems to demand more from his followers on the south coast and with a considerable effort there is no question that those who have traveled there should be valued as clear favourites.
At the time of writing, the runner-up is drawn at parity with the odds – around 50% – and then I am tempted to pick up the hammer. This wins the league champions.
￭￭ Match 10. A lot can be said about Chelsea and their season. There is no doubt that it has been turbulent, and at the moment a lot of headlines are about who will be the next coach and which new acquisitions will cause the dressing room to be expanded once more. There does not seem to be any further peace of mind Frank Lampard who has shown on numerous occasions that he does not have what it takes to lead a team with ambitions for the top fight in the Premier League. 0-1 against Manchester City was nothing to be ashamed of, but the poor numbers were more due to City’s half-assed attitude than Chelsea playing a good game.
Next up at Old Trafford awaits another Manchester side who won’t be as generous in their approach. Manchester United need just one more point to secure the Champions League and the conditions could hardly be better than they are on Thursday. Super important Rashford is back in the squad after illness and comes with the audience behind him ten Hags gang to be carried forward on one’s own lawn. The 1-0 win last time out against Bournemouth was a fitting boost for this act where I think United are kicking it into an even higher gear. There has been a class difference between these teams during the course of the season and a Chelsea that neither knows inside nor out does not have much to gain at the “Theater of Dreams”.
I like the spike sharp and bank it to around 65%.
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Manchester United (match 10)
Chelsea are absolutely miserable under Frank Lampard who would probably find it difficult to motivate their followers against a tough Manchester United. The hosts are at least one level better and with the help of the crowd, one stands firmly at Old Trafford.
PAOK (match 8)
Small margins often decide cup finals and I just can’t understand AEK Athens’ huge favoritism against PAOK. On neutral ground in Volos, the black and white should be able to stand up much better than the punters seem to think. X2 is of the utmost importance.
FAVORITE IN DANGER
Real Betis (match 6)
Real Betis looked both limited and tired in the derby against Sevilla. A contract-chasing and physical Getafe will not be an easy nut to crack in Andalusia where x2 is a move worth playing.
The expert’s system proposal: