Zahir | Thu 01/02/2018 - 13:56 EST

Soccer Picks: Tight Battle of Runners-up in England and Italy

Soccer Picks: Tight Battle of Runners-up in England and Italy

Serie A: Juventus v. Sassuolo

My Team's Next MatchSassuolo

Man of the House returns to Old Lady

Gianluigi Buffon, the heart and soul of Juventus, returned from injury midweek in the Coppa Italia against a very good Atalanta team. Upon his return, he saved a penalty, kept a clean sheet, and Juventus will take 1-0 lead back home for the 2nd leg.

With one order of business taken care of Juventus now turn their sites on the league title which is a tighter race than normal. Currently, they sit just a point behind Napoli in a 2-horse race that looks like it will come down to the wire. Napoli play the last place team this weekend and Juve will want to keep them within striking distance.

A showdown looms between these two sides later in the year. But before that, both sides need to keep winning, and Juventus are in title mode. Just listen to their current form: They are on a 9 game winning streak. They have not lost a game since mid-November.

They have not conceded a goal in 2018, and have only conceded 1 goal since their last loss in November, a stretch of 14 games across all competitions. And they did this in large part with Buffon and Paulo Dybala sidelined. There's no reason to think Juventus won't continue their blazing form at home to Sassuolo this weekend and it's time to start capitalizing on their consistency once more.

Juventus to win / Keep a Clean Sheet (-138) William Hill

Premier League: Leicester v. Swansea

My Team's Next MatchSwansea

The Riyad Mahrez Swan Song

So to recap the end of Leicester's January transfer window, Riyad Mahrez handed in a transfer request, Leicester turned down a bid from Man City of 65 million pounds and Mahrez went awol.

Not only was he not in the Matchday squad versus Everton on Wednesday, he also did not show up for training on Thursday and now this appears to be a toxic situation for all parties.

Swansea won't feel any sympathy for the Foxes who will now likely be without their best player for Saturday. In fact, Swansea need all the help they can get and probably deserve it. 

A couple of weeks ago they looked like a lock for relegation. They fired their manager and brought in Carlos Carvahal, who in two Premier League games at home, has knocked off Liverpool and Arsenal.

Now the hungry Swans play an away game against a mid table team who look to be safe but also look to be distracted. This looks like a good spot for Swansea to claim at least a point when every point is crucial.

Swansea +05 (+115) Bodog

Premier League: Liverpool v. Tottenham

My Team's Next MatchLiverpool

Can the Spurs beat a top side away from home?

Tottenham have been difficult to handicap this season. At the start, they couldn't get results at home. And right now, they are simply brilliant. They started out fantastic away from home but cooled off considerably.

More relevant to this Sunday February 4, at 11:30am when they visit Anfield, they haven't won a game away at a top 6 club yet this season. They lost at City, United, and Arsenal, and looked bang average to poor in all of them. In fact for the season Spurs are averaging 1.67 points per game away from home to Liverpool's 2.17 at home.

So even though they smashed Liverpool 4-1 at Wembley earlier in the season, I see the Reds getting payback. Liverpool are the hottest Premier League team on form going 6-1-1 over their last eight matches and just vanquished Manchester City a couple of weeks ago handing them their first league defeat. We know the deal with Klopp, he beats the big teams and loses to the minnows.

Getting a small return on Liverpool at home feels like solid value.

Liverpool (+105) William Hill

You can follow me on twitter @zahir_gilani

Category : Soccer

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