On the Rizk Radar: Rivals Weekend
Get ready for a rough and tumble weekend of football rivalries from across Europe.
Local derbies, old skool rivalries and league defining battles are the focus of the weekend, and we’ve got boosts on them all.
Tottenham – Arsenal
Unai Emery’s side seems to have the bug for fast starts these days and are probably enjoying the benefits of getting on the score sheet early.
The Gunners bagged two inside the first 17 minutes against Southampton and netted in just four minutes against Bournemouth before going on to win 5-1.
Spurs midweek defeat to Chelsea officially ends the speculation surrounding their title challenge with MoPo and the gang now nine points behind Liverpool with ten games to go.
ODDS BOOST: Arsenal to score first & Win @ 4.50
Fulham – Chelsea
Fulham’s gamble in sacking proven manager Slavisa Jokanovic for 2016 Premier League winning Claudio Ranieri has not paid off, with Fulham 10 points from safety with 10 games to go.
Chelsea, on the other hand, managed to put their goalkeeper farce behind them on Wednesday night by dispatching of Spurs in impressive style.
Willy Caballero started in goal for the Blues, and did absolutely nothing! That’s not as bad as it sounds, see, Chelsea limited Kane and Co. to zero shots on target, meaning Willy C will more than likely get the nod for Sunday’s clash at Craven Cottage.
ODDS BOOST: Chelsea to win & Over 3.5 goals @ 3.85
Everton – Liverpool
What can we say here to convince you that Everton stands any chance of getting something out of this match? You’d have to go back 19 games to find an Everton win, though, if you’re the ‘clutching at straws’ type, half of the 18 games played since then have ended in a draw.
Klopp’s charges smashed Watford 5-0 on Wednesday night taking them a point clear at the top of the table.
Nobody wants to stop Liverpool from winning the league more than the Toffees, but, irrespective of Everton’s win against Cardiff in the midweek, will likely come unstuck against the Reds on Sunday evening.
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ODDS BOOST: Liverpool to win & Over 2.5 goals @ 2.60
Young Vinicius Jr was taught a harsh lesson in finishing by veteran goal-getter Luis Suarez when these two met in their second-leg tie of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday night.
The 18-year-old squandered a number of chances to put Real in-front before the Uruguayan pounced on an opportunity to find the net at the other end, and then capping off his brace with an audacious ‘panenka’ to seal the victory.
Saturday evening will see these two go at again, though with spirits running high on the Catalan side of this equation, unfortunately for Los Blancos, it looks like it’ll be another tough day at the office.
— Yeezy Sports (@YeezySports) 28 February 2019
ODDS BOOST: Barcelona to win & Over 2.5 goals @ 3.40
Napoli – Juventus
It’s become customary to back Juventus to win no matter who they face in Serie A. The Old Lady’s tyrannical grip on the league tends to leave us punters with the false illusion that they actually care whether they win the title or not.
The truth is, Juve can probably win this league twice over if playing at 100% and can fall victim to the occassional upset once in a while, especially when bigger fish lay on the horizon.
The bigger fish we refer to is that of having to overcome a 2-0 deficit in the Champions League when they play Atletico Madrid just nine days after.
Ronaldo has a knock and may be rested for this one. Best wait to see the starting eleven before pinning any hopes on the 34-time league champs.
ODDS BOOST: Napoli to win & Both teams to score @ 5.40
B. Monchengladbach – Bayern Munich
Gladbach are one of the few teams to actually hold a decent H2H balance against the mighty Bavarians over their last 10 matches.
Kovac and Co. needed penalties to get past Die Fohlen when the two sides met in the latest rendition of the DFB Pokal and the reverse fixture saw Gladbach beat Bayern 3-0 at the Allianz.
Bayern are a different animal now though and will certainly be looking to keep the pressure on BVB in the race for the title.
Close one, but we’re going to give Munich the nod for the boost.
ODDS BOOST: Bayern to win & Over 2.5 goals @ 2.15
Leeds United – W.B.A
There’s not much animosity between these two clubs, to an extent, though they make it into the frame for Rivals weekend given the circumstances they find themselves in, battling it out for promotion for the Championship.
Leeds missed their chance to go top in the week, losing 1-0 away to QPR – the first time Marcelo Bielsa’s side have failed to find the net this calendar year.
West Brom are the most prolific team away from home in the league this term and both sides like finding the net in the latter stages of games, so expect a rampant finish when these two get our weekend underway on Friday night.
ODDS BOOST: Leeds to win & Both teams to score @ 4.50
NBA: Pistons – Raptors
If you’re looking for a #FailoftheYear contender in regards to manager sackings, look no further than former Raptors coach, Dwayne Casey.
The Indianapolis-born gaffer was voted ‘Coach of the Year’ by his peers for the Raptors run into the Playoffs last season – a run that would see the Raptors set a franchise record 59 wins.
Cleveland eventually swept the Toronto outfit aside on their way to the playoff finals.
Irrespective of Casey’s achievements, the board deemed getting beat by a Cavs side that included LeBron James reprehensible, and thus released the coach with a season still left on his contract.
So, guess who’s now the coach of the Pistons! Lol!
We’re not saying Detroit are going to beat the Raptors, but we sure hope they do 😉