PSG, AC Milan and Mainz a hot home treble
Coral are offering 9/4 on a trio of European home wins to kick off the football weekend. French Ligue 1 leaders PSG host relegation-threatened Valenciennes, Clarence Seedorf’s AC Milan entertain Bologna in the Italian Serie A and Mainz meet Hannover in the German Bundesliga.
PSG v Valenciennes
Laurent Blanc’s PSG can extend their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to eight points with victory over bottom-three side Valenciennes. The Parisians are odds-on at 1/6 for a home win.
Valenciennes are massive outsiders at 14/1 to cause an upset for three reasons. First, for every two goals they have scored in league action, three have gone in at the other end.
Ariel Jacobs’ side have won on the road on two occasions all season. Since regaining top-flight status, Valenciennes have beaten PSG just twice in 15 attempts. It’s 6/1 for a draw at the Parc des Princes.
Blanc must decide whether to keep top-scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic in reserve for the Champions League clash with Bayer Leverkusen. The prolific Swede has a niggling back problem, but scored a 25-minute hat-trick in this fixture last season.
Ibrahimovic is 4/7 to score anytime if selected and 7/1 to take the match ball home with him again here. Fellow forward Ezequiel Lavezzi is set to be involved despite the recent murder of his uncle.
AC Milan v Bologna
On paper this shouldn’t be a mid-table clash, but Milan are in a slump and coach Seedorf is yet to pull them out of it. The Rossoneri are nonetheless odds-on favourites at 4/11 to beat Bologna and need to make up a seven-point deficit on rivals Inter to make Europe.
Milan have lost at the San Siro just twice in Serie A and have a player in their ranks who loves scoring against this opposition. Giampaolo Pazzini missed the start of the season as he rehabbed a knee injury after surgery, but is available to Seedorf here.
Pazzini has scored five times against Bologna in his last two outings. He is 4/5 to score anytime and a tempting 3/1 to net two or more. This is a horse Seedorf must consider for this particular course.
Three of the last five meetings between these sides have been drawn. That eventuality is 4/1 and Bologna are 13/2 outsiders to spring a shock. Milan are in poor form with a single win in their last four.
Bologna have one victory in five on the road and one in the last six Serie A matches, conceding twice as many as they’ve scored. Former West Ham player Alessandro Diamanti is their leading scorer, but has left for China.
Mainz v Hannover
These two Bundesliga teams are next to one another in the table with identical numbers of goals scored and conceded. Mainz start as even-money favourites in this fixture that has a fiery history.
Four of the last seven meetings have contained a sending off. This has meant there’s little to choose between the two in recent times. Hannover, who are six points worse off than Mainz, are 5/2 for victory. It’s 13/5 for a draw.
Mainz attacker Nicolai Muller has netted four in his last three appearances against Hannover. His 17-goal partnership with Japan’s Shinji Okazaki has the club three points off a European place. Both are 11/8 to net at anytime.
One-time Manchester United frontman Mame Biram Diouf, meanwhile, is Hannover’s top-scorer thanks to the supply of Hungary international Szabolcs Huszti. Diouf is 13/8 to grab a goal anytime.