Discover top tips for this week's European football action, featuring Toulouse vs Lens, Real Sociedad vs Real Madrid, and Juventus vs Lecce.
Toulouse v Lens
Toulouse secured only their fourth ever trophy when confidently claiming the Coupe de France crown with a resounding 5-1 success over Nantes at the weekend. It would be fair to say copious amounts of alcohol was consumed by the playing staff afterwards, and they wouldn’t really have wanted a midweek game to come so soon afterwards. They are in mid-table and officially have nothing to play for, with the cup game really being their focus before the campaign closes.
Not wanting a midweek game is one thing, but they most definitely won’t want it to be against a team like Lens, who are fighting like beavers to bring Champions League football to Stade Bollaert-Delelis next season. Five wins in six (the one loss coming against PSG), including triumphs over Monaco and Rennes, suggests all is well and they’ll fancy their chances of another win. Motivation has to be considered here, and even if Toulouse hadn’t been in a final Lens would’ve been favourites anyway. Lens to Win and Under 4.5 Goals is available at 6/5 with Coral, and is a more attractive play than just backing the away win at odds-on. 91% of Lens Ligue 1 games have featured three goals or less this season. Also, just one of 16 away has beaten the four goal line, so they’ll just look to get the job done on the night.
Real Sociedad v Real Madrid
Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed he’ll play his strongest available team for this game, but they will be missing some key players. The absence of the suspended Vinícius is of course a blow, whilst Luka Modric, Fede Valverde, David Alaba and Eduardo Camavinga all won’t feature. Whilst that may weaken Madrid, Real Sociedad aren’t always one to be trusted against the top dogs in LaLiga. Their record against top-seven teams reads won two, drew three and lost four, so backing them as favourites here doesn’t sit well with me.
One man who remains in top form is Karim Benzema, who fired in his third hat-trick in his last eight appearances against Almeria at the weekend. He is two goals shy of reaching current LaLiga top scorer Robert Lewandowski, so he’ll be keen to add to his tally in this one. That’ll be harder without Vinícius, but he’ll still back himself to work the goalkeeper. I like the look of the 6/4 on offer from Sky Bet to him to record Over 1.5 Shots On Target. The Frenchman is averaging 2.40 SOT across his last ten appearances.
Juventus v Lecce
A look at the form guide may suggest all is not well at Juventus at this moment in time. A run of five without victory and one win in eight is not a good look. They have however been juggling Serie A, UEFA Europa League and Coppa Italia commitments during that run, and on paper it is a tough run of fixtures. Combine that with their off-field issues then you may argue they have valid excuses. They had been largely focusing on Europa with a Champions League spot available to the winner, but now they’ve had their point deduction revoked for now, they can claim a top-four spot through Serie A, too. Motivation for league games has therefore increased.
A good fixture for them at this moment in a home tie with Lecce, with the visitors battling against relegation. They did get a good home win over Udinese at the weekend, but they’ve been having particular issues away from home of late. It is four straight away setbacks for Marco Baroni’s side, so now travelling to a team with the best home record in the Italian top flight is far from ideal. Juve love games like this, and of their 13 wins against current bottom-half clubs, ten came without conceding. We therefore have to attack the 11/8 from Parimatch on Juventus To Win ‘to nil’ this midweek.
- Toulouse v Lens – Lens to Win and Under 4.5 Goals (6/5 Coral)
- Real Sociedad v Real Madrid – Karim Benzema Over 1.5 Shots On Target (6/4 Sky Bet)
- Juventus v Lecce – Juventus Win ‘to nil’ (11/8 Parimatch)