Gornik Zabrze vs Lechia Gdansk
There's a tasty fixture from the Polish Ekstraklasa on Saturday afternoon as fourth placed Gornik Zabrze host fifth placed Lechia Gdansk.
Gornik were once the dominant force in Polish football but have been dormant for years and, although they finished a healthy eighth last year, they're still surprising Polish football fans with an impressive start to the season. It's unlikely they will be able to stay the pace with Legia but they are certainly in the hunt for a Europa League spot.
The 'Torcida' have only suffered one defeat all season and will want to see off Saturday's visitors, who are just two points below them. Despite their strong start it's not been plane sailing in the Ernest Pohl Stadium (formerly the Adolf Hitler stadium), where Gornik have wobbled recently, their only defeat of the season was at home to Zaglebie Lubin in mid-November and they drew the next home match too.
The player to watch out for is young striking sensation Arkadiuz Milik, the 18-year-old is wanted by many of Europe's biggest clubs with interest registered from Internazionale, Lyon, Everton, Stuttgart and many more. He's a Robert Lewandowski type finisher who looks to have a bright future, he already has seven to his name this season.
Despite Gornik's decent start, Lechia Gdansk will not be intimidated, they too have started well and have come out victorious in three of their last four away games. Lechia dominate the head-to-heads between these two; winning six and drawing four of the last 12 matches. Their main goal threat this campaign has come from an attacking midfielder, the Burkinabe Abdou Razak Traore has already netted nine and should be the a danger throughout.
Lechia's away record is formidable but Gornik have the best defence in the league and as long as they can get a goal they should get back on track at home, at just over evens they are certainly at a backable price.
Gornik Zabrze to win @ [2.04]
Sivasspor vs Galatasary
Another big match this time from Turkey as table topping Galatasaray travel East to wintry Sivas to take on a Sivasspor side that are enjoying a fine run of form at home.
Galatasaray got a big win in midweek away to Braga that sealed their progress through to the knockout stages of the Champions League. They're top of the league and in rude health but the likes of Antalyaspor and old foes Besiktas and Fenerbache lay just behind them and they need to continue their momentum to stay top. Gala boast big name internationals throughout their squad but this season's top man seems to be Burak Yilmaz, signed from Trabzonspor in the summer he has fitted in immediately and is banging in the goals. Alongside Yilmaz will be either Elmander or Bulut, both of whom can cause problems for opposing defences.
Sivasspor have been training in the snow this week, coach Riza Calimbay wants the players to be ready to play at full throttle despite the hostile conditions. Although Gala have a large squad the backbone of their team will be the same that travelled to Portugal in midweek and they must be jaded. Calimbay will sense Sivasspor's freshness could give them the edge. They have won three at home on the bounce so should be confident in front of their own fans, they'll try and keep it tight and use the pace of Michael Eneramo on the break, he has been rested all week to nurse a minor injury and make sure he's ready for Saturday.
Western Sydney Wanderers vs Brisbane Roar
Betfair Live Video takes you down under to the Parramatta Stadium for what looks to be a tight encounter between two A-League strugglers, both stuck on ten points and looking to salvage what is left of their chances of getting a finals spot.
As well as struggling to find any consistency this season, the Wanderers boast the worst home record in the league with only one victory - something Tony Popovic will be looking to put right come Sunday morning. The return of influential winger Youssouf Hersi will strengthen the host's chances in Sydney - but the absence of attacking midfielder Aaron Mooy will no doubt leave a gap in an attack that has struggled in front of goal this season with a measly five goals.
The Roar find themselves in a similar position to the Wanderers - lingering at the wrong end of the table. Although they haven't struggled to score, due mainly to reliable striker Besart Berisha, they have leaked goals at crucial times allowing the opposition to snatch all three points too often. The Roar are yet to win on the road this season but will target this outing as the chance to break their duck. Like many teams in the A-League, Socceroos duty has meant new faces have had to come into the side due to absentees. Captain Matt Smith and Ivan Franjic will be missing for the Roar but that shouldn't be too costly against a troubled attack that lacks firepower.
Both sides come into this tie with identical records and expect that to be the case come the final whistle with the points shared.
Back the draw @ [3.6]
PSV vs Twente
Dick Advocaat's PSV side are in unfamiliar circumstances. After leading the Eredivisie for the majority of this season, two back-to-back losses against title contending rivals Vitesse and Ajax have seen them drop down to third - with league leaders Twente next up.
PSV have been something of a collective goal machine so far this season. Fifteen games down and 50 goals already in the bank, it's no wonder they have grabbed the attention of the rest of Europe. Strikers Mertens and Matavz have both bagged seven league goals each, but with another 12 squad players getting on the score sheet the 'red and white army' can't be accused on being heavily reliant on a few players. Tim Matavz is in fine form going into this fixture after a Europa League hat-trick in Naples on Thursday night.
Twente have looked strong throughout this campaign so far but have recently hit a dip in form, which has seen them draw three of their last four encounters. With a stubborn defence only conceding nine goals so far, they have looked organised and controlled at the back, reaping the rewards of the goals scored by Dusan Tadic at the other end. Steve McClaren's boys will be confident travelling to the Philips Stadium knowing that they haven't lost to PSV since 2007.
Although the head-to-head record between these two sides favours PSV heavily, the hold that Twente seem to have over PSV recently will prove more significant. This fixture last season shocked the Eredivisie with a 6-2 away win for Twente, and with a price of [5.6] for the away win again, it's hard to ignore.comments powered by Disqus