SUNDAY started superbly with Alexandre Lacazette bringing up the Super Single with a goal against Metz – and I also tipped him to score first.
The timing of Lyon’s penalty award was crucial with the prolific striker limping off two minutes later with a hamstring injury that’s ruled him out of this weekend’s clash against Monaco – and that’s worth noting.
A third successive Super Single winner means the January profit figure is looking more healthy.
Lyon and Juventus -1 brought up parts one and two of the treble but Porto missed a bucketful of chances as they lost 1-0 away to Maritimo.
I fancied West Ham at Bristol City after Sam Allardyce said he’d play his strongest team and I hope I put some people of backing against Aston Villa in the knowledge Bournemouth would rotate their squad with promotion a priority.
And I believe most punters would have sided with Arsenal to win at Brighton after their line-up was revealed – so following the shocks on Saturday it was good to see the three favourites progress on Sunday.
And I could see that trend continuing on Monday with Stoke boss Mark Hughes insisting he’ll play his strongest side at League One Rochdale and with some big clubs out why wouldn’t he.
Stoke are a best 4-6 with various firms and you can count me in. Rochdale have beaten Nottm Forest and Leeds at Spotland in recent seasons but Stoke, whose only defeat in six was at Arsenal, should be okay even if Ryan Shawcross and Jon Walters are ruled out.
Mark Hughes has a decent record as a manager against lower-league clubs in the tournament and Stoke have drawn one and won four o their last five trips to Football League teams.
Elsewhere Napoli will be well backed at 2-5 to beat a Genoa side they have defeated in seven of the last 10 meetings. Argentine striker star Gonzalo Higuain was rested in midweek and is 1-1 at Ladbrokes to return with a goal. Napoli have netted two or more goals in 11 of their last 12 home matches – Juventus being the exception – and with 18 goals totalled in Genoa’s last four this could be a high scorer.
The other Serie A game sees strugglers Empoli and Udinese and it could be a game of unders. Empoli’s last five matches have produced just five goals – one defeat and four draws – and they’ve drawn their last four home matches 0-0. Udinese have drawn three of their last four and lost the other two so while it’s tough to call Empoli may just edge it.
I’m slightly reluctant to head back to Portugal but Benfica should topple Pacos Ferreira away and extend their lead over Porto to the top to nine points.
Benfica have won on their last six visits to Pacos, scoring 17 goals, and have won their last five overall with 13 goals netted and just one conceded. In fact going further back Benfica have beaten Pacos 19 times out of 20 and netted two plus goals in 19 of them.
Pacos sit mid-table and their last five outings have gone over 2.5 goals so that could be worth a look.
After looking at various markets I’ve decided for the Super Single to simply double Napoli and Benfica and that pays just over evens with many forms including William Hill and Ladbrokes.
For the Top Treble I’m on Napoli and Benfica to score 2+ and adding Stoke to win.
I’m also starting a Bank Builder v Long Shot experiment today – and when that thread goes up it will be the place to put up challenges and we hope to give away some decent spot prizes too.
5pts Super Single
(1-1, Ladbrokes, William Hill)
3pt Top Treble
Napoli to score 2+
Benfica to score 2+
Super Single 2015 record: 24 bets
(10 winners, 11 losers, 3 void)
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