Weekend Football Tips: Roma won't gift Juve early lead

Roma will trail Juventus by eight points if beaten, so mustn't lose

Michael Lintorn flags some in-play trends for Valencia, Juventus and Real Madrid's televised weekend games...

"Roma have allowed their opponents to open the scoring twice all season and only once in their last 14 outings."

While the Bundesliga's A-listers look forward to another three weeks of vacation/warm-weather training, La Liga and Serie A are back in business, with 11 televised matches across Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Let's find potentially fruitful in-play routes to follow for three of the snazziest fixtures...

Saturday 19:00, Valencia v Levante, Sky Sports 1

Valencia followed La Liga co-leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid this Christmas in recruiting an Argentine coach, Juan Antonio Pizzi, who they hope will restore their standing as the region's top team. As present, they trail resurgent Villarreal by eight points and are tied at halfway with low-budget Levante. Despite losing as many home games as they've won in both La Liga and the Europa League, Valencia are 1.528/15 to defeat their neighbours. They aren't worth the back at that price, but should be considered if they fall behind. Los Che conceded first in both of last season's derbies and were losing in three of their last five league dates at the Mestalla, scoring the second goal in two of those fixtures, while Levante were beaten from 0-1 up on two of their past three league away days.

Sunday 19:45, Juventus v Roma, BT Sport 1

Serie A returns with its grandest game yet this campaign, as unbeaten Roma travel to Turin trying to carve into Juventus' five-point lead. The champs are on a ten-match domestic winning run, whereas Roma have drawn five in seven, and three in a row away, but Juve seem a tad too fancied at 1.715/7 against a side unfamiliar with defeat. This is another encounter in which it appears wise to wait until the deadlock is broken if you are adamant that the Old Lady will deliver. Roma have allowed their opponents to open the scoring twice all season and only once in their last 14 outings, and that was away to Atalanta during their stretch without the ageless Francesco Totti. The Giallorossi have blown three winning positions in 2013/14, while Juve have prevailed three times from behind in Serie A.

Monday 18:00, Real Madrid v Celta Vigo, Sky Sports 1

Before you accuse your columnist of being a one-trick pony, the win-from-behind angle shouldn't come into play in this showdown, as Real Madrid have fired first and won in their last eight at the Bernabeu. Former Real playmaker Luis Enrique meanwhile has led lowly Celta to reverses in four of their five visits to top-eight clubs, spilling 11 goals along the way, hence Real's 1.111/9 favouritism. The key question when a team that have haemorrhaged 11 in their last three road trips meet one that have netted 16 in three home league jousts is how many will they get? Oddly, Real tend to be vengeful the longer that they are kept waiting for their first goal. On three of the last five occasions that they didn't bag goal one by the half-hour mark as hosts, they finished up with four or more.

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