By Antony Jordan
With no matches catching the eye from the fourth round of the FA Cup draw in England this weekend we have turned our attention further afield to Spain and Italy. The reason for this is that there are two massive games being played as the La Primera Liga sees a meeting between the top two sides in Spain as Barcelona welcome Atlético Madrid to the Camp Nou while we are treated to one of the biggest derby matches in the world in Serie A as the San Siro hosts the Milan Derby.
We’re taking a look at both of these crunch ties with online sportsbook WilliamHill.com to find the best betting value from around European football.
These two sides come into this match locked on the same number of points at the top of the La Primera Liga table and four points behind the biggest rival for both teams – Real Madrid. Both sides have collected 48 points from 15 wins and three draws so far this season and even though they have played one less match, due to their involvement in the FIFA Club World Cup, it is Barcelona who sit top of the league. They have impressed in recent times against Atlético with five successive victories and they have outscored this weekend’s guests 52 to 30 in the league, but if they are to record a sixth straight victory they will need to find a way through Europe’s top defence as the away side have conceded just eight times in 21 league matches this season. Can Messi, Neymar and Suarez break through?
Barca have won all of their last seven matches in all competitions and they are unbeaten in 25 games since the start of October as they arrive to this pivotal match in the La Liga title chase, and with them securing their place in the semi finals of the Copa del Rey during the week they will be confident for this match. Atlético failed to progress in this competition as they had their five game spell of clean sheets ended with a 3-2 home defeat by Celta Vigo, but with just one goal in the other eight of their last nine games conceded they will feel that a rested and full strength side will be more than a match for their hosts this Saturday afternoon.
Even with a full strength side, Atlético Madrid will still find this match tough as they have not won at the Camp Nou in a decade since then 21 year old Fernando Torres scored twice in a 3-1 away win. Adding to this difficulty is the fact that Barcelona have five league clean sheets in six matches on home soil coming into this match and with their excellent record against Atlético recently we cannot see the home side letting this match slip. Also, with Lionel Messi having scored four in his last five matches against the capital city side and seemingly enjoying playing against them we are backing the diminutive Argentine to find the net in this match too and help his side on the way to all three points.
Our top Barcelona v Atlético Madrid tip is back Messi to score and Barcelona to win @ 2.62 with WilliamHill.com.
Round 22 of the 2015/16 Serie A season concludes on Sunday evening with the most recognisable clash of local football teams in the world as the two Milan sides in AC Milan and Inter meet at their shared home of the San Siro. And, although it is AC who are favoured as the designated home side for this clash, it is Inter who are doing the better of the two sides in the league as they sit fourth in the table, two places and eight points better off than their local rivals, just six points behind Napoli at the top of Serie A. Can they upset the odds this Sunday evening to close the gap at the top?
These two sides have already clashed on two occasions this season and it is Inter who have done the better. They have taken victory in both matches with them triumphing 1-0 in the league in September and by the same scoreline in a friendly game during the season a month later. This scoreline is the most common outcome in Milan Derby matches recently too with six of the last nine meetings between the teams see one or the other win 1-0 and all of the last nine fixtures have seen no more than two goals scored.
Despite it being Inter who have done the better of these two sides in recent meetings and in the league table it is AC Milan who bring the better form into this match as they are unbeaten in five games in all competitions while Inter have won just one of their last five matches and were thumped 3-0 by Juventus in the Coppa Italia semi final first leg during the week.
Of the two sides we feel that it will be AC Milan that triumphs, should either side do so, but with Inter having the league’s best defensive record it will not be an easy win. As a result of this we feel that we’re likely to see a continuation of the pattern of low scoring encounters between these local rivals and we’re backing this outcome this weekend.
Our best Milan Derby bet is back Under 2.5 goals to be scored at odds of 1.70 in the William Hill Sportsbook!