Barcelona vs Valencia
Two sides with very differing fortunes this season. Barca are sitting comfortably at the top, whilst many will likely be surprised by Valencia struggles. Positions in the table tells you everything you need to know here, and Barcelona should have too much for a relegation-threatened Valencia at the Nou Camp.
After suffering just their second La Liga loss of the season last weekend to Almeria, Barcelona bounced back in style with a professional display in their 1-0 win against Real Madrid in midweek.
In fact, Europe aside, Barca’s form has been nothing short of sensational. They were unbeaten in 11 league games prior to the match with Almeria, winning 10 of those. They scored 17 in that unbeaten run, conceding just 3, a direct reflection of how their season has been as a whole.
Xavi’s men have scored 45, and conceded just 8 goals in their 23 league outings. Such stats are no fluke. The Catalan club have an xG P/90 of 2.13, and a league best xGA P/90 of 1.11. The create consistent chances, and afford their opponents very few.
Valencia meanwhile, picked up their first win in their last 8 league games last weekend, having lost 5 on the bounce prior.
They’ve both scored and conceded 27 this campaign, and have cemented themselves as a side who have largely struggled in front of goal. They scored just once, and conceded 7 times in their 5 game losing streak, and against a side of the calibre of Barcelona, things are unlikely to change.
Dinamo Zagreb vs Osijek
You’d be hard pressed to find a side with a better home record in Europe than Dinamo Zagreb this season. The Champions League outfit and reigning Croatian champions are yet to lose a single game domestically when at home this campaign, and that shows little sign of changing against an out of form Osijek.
In fact, Zagreb have lost just a single game in league and cup all season. They’ve won 17, and drawn 4 in the league, with 6 wins in their last 8.
As for goals, their numbers continue to impress. Zagreb have scored a ridiculous 59 goals in just 22 games, and they’ve scored in all but 1 fixture this season. When it comes to their defence, they’ve conceded just 20. An xG of 2.18 P/90, and an xGA of 1.19 P/90 helps further suggestions that Dinamo Zagreb will be well on top here.
Opponents Osijek may find themselves in 3rd, but a downturn in form perhaps sees them travel to Zagreb as slightly less daunting opponents than they would have been earlier in the season.
Osijek have lost 3 of their last 4, and have lost 7 more games than league leaders Dinamo. 2 of those losses came against teams in the bottom half, and to make matters worse, they’ve failed to score a single goal in that winless run of 4.
Goals in general haven’t necessarily been forthcoming for Osijek this season either. They’ve scored just 32 despite their position in the table, and at the other end, an xGA P/90 of 1.37 would suggest that Zagreb will create plenty of chances.
Inter Milan vs Lecce
It’s a tall ask to travel to the San Siro and take anything from Inter at the best of times, but with Simone Inzaghi’s side losing 1-0 to Bologna last weekend, the beast has surely been awoken. They’ll have the bit between their teeth when they welcome Lecce, and an Inter win looks on the cards.
Prior to their defeat last week, Inter had lost just once in their previous 14 games in all competitions. They were the first side to beat Napoli this season back in January, whilst also managing 3-0 and 1-0 wins against city rivals AC Milan this calendar year as well.
44 goals scored in 24 games results in Inter having the second best attack in the league, and Argentinian frontman Lautaro martinez has notched up 13 goals to keep Inter firmly in the European picture.
The hosts also have the 3rd best xG and xGA P/90 in the league, with 1.83 and 1.33 respectively. Chances should be forthcoming here, and defensively they should have little to worry about, with their xGA P/90 dropping to 1.11 at the San Siro.
As for Lecce, recent form has been all over the place. A win against Atalanta is marred by defeats to Sassuolo, Verona, and Salernitana, all of whom are in the bottom 5. They’ve won just 6 games all season, and they look unlikely to increase that figure here.
They’ve scored just 24 goals this season, a total that ranks them 15th in Serie A, which comes as no surprise when their xG P/90 sits at a paltry 1.04. That drops even further to 0.96 P/90 when away from home.
An xGA P/90 of 1.64 leaves them with little to be excited about, and with this number rising to 1.76 away from home, Inter should find plenty of chances with which to score, and to ultimately put the game to bed.