Boald Code: Madrid and Manchester Derbies, Der Klassiker and Other Betting Tips

If you followed our tips last week, congratulations. We came through with almost all our calls. We dey feel like Nostradamus right now.

It is another week and we have carefully gone through the various matches once again. We have selected those we believe are the Bankers – that we believe will come through, the Banana Peels – the games you should avoid and the Boald Call – big odds you should play only if you are bold.

Bankers

We start from Africa where the CAF Champions League takes center stage. We are going for home wins for Al Ahly and Wydad Casablanca against AS Vita and Horoya respectively. Al Ahly are defending champions, Wydad are penultimate champions. You can always trust this top guns to get the job done at home.

In the English Championship, in-form Norwich host Luton. Norwich have won their last six and are top of the table. Go for a Norwich win at around 1.4/1.5 across platforms.

In the Premier League, West Brom vs Newcastle should be a cagey affair. An under 3.5 should be a good choice. You could also go for no goal in the first 30 minutes. Or first half under 1.5 which comes at around 1.3.

In La Liga, Real Sociedad are unbeaten in six. They host Levante at the Anoeta. Levante could be tricky customers but Real Sociedad’s form should be enough to get a win. It comes at around 1.4.

The Madrid Derby should be a cagey affair. Under 3.5 full-time or under 1.5 halftime should be good choices.

A Madrid derby with title-deciding implications

In the Bundesliga, Der Klassiker is always a game of goals. Over 2.5 should come through or go for a Bayern Munich over 1.5. At around 1.3/1.4 odds across platforms.

In the NPFL, go for home wins for Plateau United, Rivers United and Enyimba against MFM, Jigawa and Ifeanyi Ubah respectively.

In Turkey, title-chasing Besiktas host Gaziantep. Besiktas are in good form and have won their last four. Go for a Besiktas win at around 1.4.

In Ukraine first-placed Dynamo Kiev host Minaj, who are in twelfth. Dynamo Kiev are in good form, back them to win.

In Scotland, Rangers host St. Mirren. Stephen Gerard’s men have won all of their last five against St. Mirren. Go for a Rangers win.

Banana Peels

In the Premier League, there are so many banana peels.

Avoid Leicester to win away at the Amex stadium. Brighton are usually a compact side, though they struggle for goals. Leicester are injury-plagued and may be at that point where their performance level starts dropping.

Manchester City should win at home against Manchester United but you don’t know the Manchester United that will turn up. Manchester United’s likely defensive approach makes it difficult to predict. It may also not produce goals.

The Manchester derby seems tricky

Barcelona seems to be in good form but they have shown some level of inconsistency this season. They should win away at Osasuna but a goals game might be a safe option. Osasuna won at Camp Nou last season.

Boald Call

In the Bundesliga, Wolfsburg are in good form. They play away against a stuttering Hoffenheim side. Wolfsburg have won on their last two trips there. If you are bold, go for a Wolfsburg win at around 2.4.

Those are our picks for today. Don’t forget to bet responsibly.

If goes the other way, hold the clubs and the players responsible. Terms and conditions apply.

Moffi in, Musa and Akpoguma Out: What Rohr’s Super Eagles List Should Look Like.

In 3, 2, 1… Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr should release his first Super Eagles list for 2021. The Super Eagles round up their AFCON 2022 Qualifiers on the 27th and 30th of this month, with clashes against Benin Republic and Lesotho respectively.

There should be few changes to the Super Eagles

The Super Eagles should qualify. They are top of the table with 8 points from 4 matches. Beyond qualifying, the Super Eagles have points to prove. They won none of their matches last year and particularly made a mess of their last set of qualifiers – a double-header against Sierra Leone.

Rohr has said there won’t be many changes from the last squad, expectedly so. However, there should be some changes. This is the list we expect.

Rohr has said Maduka Okoye of Sparta Rotterdam is the first choice goalkeeper, he should be joined on the list by Sebastien Osigwe of FC Lugano and one of Okechukwu Ezenwa of Heartland or Daniel Akpeyi of Kaizer Chiefs. Francis Uzoho has hardly played this season and should most likely miss out.

Okoye is expected to be first choice goalkeeper

In defence, we should have little changes. Kevin Akpoguma should likely miss out, he has not been playing for Hoffenheim, due to injury. The defenders should be Ola Aina, Tyronne Ebuehi, Jamilu Collins, Zaidu Sanusi, Chidozie Awaziem, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Semi Ajayi and Kenneth Omeruo.

Rohr’s midfield is always light and that should remain the case, the midfield should have the usual suspects. Ovie Ejaria of Reading might get a first call up. Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Shehu Abdulahi, Frank Onyeka, Joe Aribo and Alex Iwobi should be the midfielders.

There should be only few changes in attack as well. The usual supects should be invited. Samuel Kalu, Moses Simon, Samuel Chukwueze, Victor Osimhen, Emmanuel Dennis, Kelechi Iheanacho and Paul Onuachu. There could be a first call up for Lorient’s Terem Moffi, who Rohr has spoken glowingly about him, he has also been in good form for his Ligue 1 side – Lorient. There could also be a return for Henry Onyekuru, who has gotten better playing time since joining Galatasaray on loan from Monaco. Captain, Ahmed Musa is without a club and has not played in a long time, he should not be on the list. Ejuke Chidera may also miss out because the Russian League just returned from break but considering that he should have had some games under his belt before the end of the month, he could still be on the list.

Captain Ahmed Musa is expected to miss out

In as much as surprises are always expected, there should be little or no changes from the players listed above. Regardless of who is called or not, Nigerians expect nothing but impressive victories from the Super Eagles at the end of the month.

Thoughts of a Lunatic: China Product, Ole’s Zero-Class and Other Talking Points

Been long you read from this table. My pen ran out of ink and I had to queue at the ‘filling station’ to refill it. What are my even saying? Am I making any sense? Anyway, that is why I am the Lunatic. On these edition, I will make a quick trip to China, though that won’t be a small journey. Also some matters around England, Nigeria and the likes.

China Product

As we know, Chinese products no dey last. Or better still, as we assume, Chinese products no dey last. However, Chinese products can be very shiny, aesthetically perfect and loud. You remember those Chinese phones that year? They can be very loud.

At a point, the Chinese Football League became a thing. Players were turning down the prestige and money of clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Barcelona and the likes in favor of playing in China. Compared to the Chinese league, their money was tithe. You can’t blame the players sha – the money plenty, e be like blood money. Hundreds of thousands of dollars, I wish I could be signed to play for just one week instead of writing this nonsense.

Apparently, COVID 19 happened amidst other things and it means the reigning champions has to fold up. Jiangsu Suning dey fold up, as in, dem close shop. Where does that happen? Well, only in China.

At a point, players were earning lots of money in China. Even the likes of Obafemi Martins, Odion Ighalo, Mikel Obi and others chop for there. But it seems, Chinese football money is drying up.

Obafemi Martins in the CSL

Ole’s Zero-Class

At a point, Manchester United were trashed 6-1 by Tottenham, since then they have taken the matter personal against the big sides. They won’t score, they won’t concede.

Manchester United against topsides is now a default goalless affair, they have done it against Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and now Chelsea. Once upon a time, performances and results like this used to be termed as Mourinho masterclass. What do we call this now? Ole’s zero-class?

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Ole knows something about playing goalless

Harvester’s League

It is common for lovers of English football to term the French League as the farmer’s league and other leagues as less competitive. Looking at how teams breeze to the Premier League title these days, the Premier League should be termed the Harvester’s League – where teams harvest points anyhow.

Liverpool breezed to the title last season

Last season, Liverpool were beating everybody like they were mistakenly put in an under-15 boys league. At a point this season, it seemed there was going to be a title race. Even Manchester United celebrated a rare feat of occupying the top of the table but that lasted just as long as the vanishing spray. Manchester City have taken over and they are beating everybody like drum. Manchester United comes next, you know what to expect – Ole Zero-class.

Football money

As mentioned earlier, some Nigerians made blood money in China. So, there was a recent conversation on social media where there was the debate – who is richer, the footballer or the entertainer? My reply to that is, when you look at it critically from the angle of the economic effects and values to the GDP in relation to the per head capital, I really don ‘t have anything to say. It is not my f*cking business. Some people will be balling spending money, I will be analyzing it, nonsense! Someone should come and pay me blood money for writing this nonsense, I can have an opinion then.

Anyway, it is not that I am angry now, I just have to stop writing here. Let me go and face my other hustles so I can make money. Don’t follow the Lunatic anywhere on social media, follow Goaldball, @goaldball on facebook and Instagram, @goaldbal on Twitter.

Boald Code: Chelsea vs Manchester United and other fixtures

Another weekend, pools of games like sands in Bar Beach. Tempting as they are, there is always need to thread cautiously. It is also a tricky week and there is every need to avoid over-analysis.

In our picks this week we will be as direct as possible. We have our bankers, the banana peels and the Boald call, we hope our choices brings you the luck of the green.

Banker

We start with the Nigeria Professional Football League. The Saturday fixture sees in-form Abia Warriors host Wikki Tourist. Go for an Abia win, it comes at around 1.50.

Manchester City and West Ham are two in-form sides in the Premier League. Go for a Manchester City win at around 1.30.

In Germany, Borussia Dortmund should win against struggling Arminia Bielefeld. It comes at around 1.20.

Expect Haaland among the goals for Dortmund

Bayern Munich should do the business against Cologne or at least score goals. Over 2.5 comes at around 1.33.

Tottenham should put their struggles behind them to win at home against Burnley. Tottenham win comes at around 1.50.

Napoli have struggled lately but can now solely concentrate on the league. At around 1.48, you can back them for a home win against Benevento.

In the CAF Champions League, Wydad Casablanca are backed at 1.73 for a home win against Kaizer Chiefs. Wydad are recent winners of the Champions League and will have too much for the South Africans. Go for a Wydad win.

Banana Peels

Leeds host Aston Villa at Elland Road. Aston Villa who will likely be without captain Jack Grealish are likely to deploy a defensive approach. Avoid playing the goals game. A Boald Call is a Leeds win, it comes at over 2.0.

Avoid a Juventus win, they go away to Hellas Verona. Juventus have a must-win Champions League match in focus, that may affect them. The last time they played at Hellas Verona, they lost and Hellas Verona are a good side at home, they have won all their last three at home.

Boald Call

Our Boald Call comes from the match of the weekend, Chelsea vs Manchester United. Chelsea have not won any of their last six league matches against Manchester United, three of which have ended in draws. Since losing against Tottenham, Manchester United have drawn against all of the traditional big six. Expect a cagey affair that may end in a draw and or low-scoring match. If you are bold, go for a draw, at around 3.39.

Chelsea vs Manchester United should be cagey

Those are our picks for today. As doctors will say, ‘we treat, God heals’. We will also say, ‘we predict, teams play’. So, if you win, pay your tithes here, if you don’t, hold the teams responsible.

Mbappe or Haaland: Who is the next big thing in football?

The UEFA Champions League returned during the week and it is safe and cliche to say, it returned with a bang. Goals were scored, there were interesting results as there were shockers. However, the biggest talking point was the emergence of a new order or a change of guard as the case may be. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the biggest individual awards in football for over a decade and it is not unconnected to their heroics in the Champions League. Nights of saving their teams from the brink of defeats, nights of scoring jaw-dropping goals and doing insane numbers. However, during the week Ronaldo’s Juventus and Messi’s Barcelona suffered defeats, none of them could save their teams from the jaw of defeats. Instead, young Kylian Mbappe put Barcelona to the sword with a magnificent hattrick. The following day, Erling Haaland scored two and provided one as Borussia Dortmund won away at Sevilla. It has led to questions, are Mbappe and Haaland the next big things in football?

Messi and Ronaldo define an era in football

Presently, Mbappe and Haaland are doing insane numbers in the Champions League and in football generally. Both seems to be direct, effective and devastating just like prime Ronaldo and Messi. Haaland has eight goals in just five Champions League matches this season and 25 goals in 24 matches in all. Mbappe has scored five in six Champions League matches and 21 in 29 in all.

It is interesting to note that there is already some form of challenge. After Mbappe’s heroics on Tuesday, Haaland said he was inspired by the performance to also come up good the next day – Wednesday.

“I saw Mbappe yesterday and he scored some nice goals and I got a free boost from him! So yeah, it was nice.” Haaland said.

It is reminiscent of how Messi did something today and Ronaldo is expected to respond the next day or vice versa and most times, they don’t fail to disappoint.

Comparing the two, Mbappe has been around for longer and achieved more than his Norwegian rival. Mbappe is already a World Cup winner. At 20, he was the best young player at the 2018 World Cup as Les Bleus won their second world title. Apart from winning numerous Ligue 1 titles with PSG, as expected, he was pivotal as a young Monaco side upset the odds to win the Ligue 1 in 2017. All Haaland has to show are league titles with RB Salzburg in Austria. In terms of honours, Mbappe is still way ahead of Haaland.

Mbappe and Haaland are building something interesting

The Messi vs Ronaldo narrative took an interesting turn when Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid. It meant they both played for arguably the biggest clubs in the world – Barcelona and Real Madrid. The competition became more fierce and the comparisons more direct. With Mbappe and Haaland right now, it appears they have to make the big moves to really bring the competition to the fore and to also better their lots in terms of team accolades. Mbappe is with arguably one of the biggest clubs in the world presently but winning Ligue 1 titles won’t put him in the big league, he has to make a move to the bigger clubs in the biggest leagues. For Haaland, making a move is a no-brainer, Dortmund is at best a stepping stone to greater things. Their next moves will determine how big their competition will be and how big they will be as footballers.

Dortmund should be a stepping stone for Haaland

In terms of their styles, Mbappe looks like the all-rounder. Most times playing on the flanks, off a center-forward. His pace is probably his biggest weapon but he also packs a bag of tricks and a devastating goalscoring ability. He looks like he will end up as a center-forward – a poacher in the mould of Ronaldo de Lima. Haaland is a fast center-forward with good aerial prowess and surprisingly quick feet, he is also a devastating finisher. Both guys look like they still have so much off their sleeves in terms of scoring goals, the numbers – goals will be very pivotal to the comparison or rivalry going forward.

There are also some youngsters showing signs they could become very big. It may not be limited to this two. The likes of Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden, Frenkie De Jong etc. could also be or part of the next big things.

Regardless of how the competition goes, one or both of them is expected to win the Ballon D’Or and FIFA the Best titles. With both Ronaldo and Messi aging and gradually approaching the swansong of their careers, it is good for the game of football and the narratives that a new rivalry seems to be building – Mbappe vs Haaland.

Boald Codes: Merseyside Derby, Milan Derby and other Betting Tips

Champions League and Europa League returned in midweek and it was goals galore. Lots of punters were able to make some money with the goals games, bar those that a team like Leicester did strong thing.

We have a weekend of derbies and some interesting plots ahead of us.

The Milan Derby is the star match of the weekend

Going into the weekend, an experienced punter will know that the midweek continental matches, the ones played and the ones on the horizon, most times have impacts on the outcomes of league matches. So, before you fly your collars to go and stake your money again this weekend, watch carefully and follow some of our tips to avoid another heartbreak, some people are yet to recover from Valentine’s day heartbreak. We have made our picks of matches we believe will be Bankers, the Banana peels you should avoid and the Boald Code you should attempt only if you are bold.

BANKERS

Liverpool host Everton in the Merseyside Derby. Liverpool have been in poor form in the league, losing their last three. Everton have also not enjoyed some good form of late, following up a home defeat against Fulham with a defeat against Manchester City in midweek. However, we believe Liverpool will win this, they have enough in their arsenal to trouble Everton. Around 1.5 odd for a Liverpool win is a good one. With both sides leaky defence, over 2.5 might also not be bad.

Klopp will expect a positive result from his lads

West Ham vs Tottenham should produce goals. Both teams should want to attack. Over 1.5 comes at around 1.3.

Manchester United host Newcastle. Off the back of trashing Real Sociedad in the Europa league, Manchester United should do enough to win against a Newcastle side that are without topscorer Callum Wilson. It comes at around 1.4.

In the Championship, table toppers Norwich should consolidate their position with a home win against Rotherham. It comes at around 1.5. Norwich have won their last two matches, Rotherham have lost their last two.

Atletico Madrid dropped points in their rescheduled match against Levante in midweek. They have a chance for quick amends on Saturday against the same opponents. An Atletico win comes at around 1.6.

PSG host Monaco at the Parc De Princes on Sunday, basking in the euphoria of their win away at Barcelona. They should get a win against Monaco, it comes at around 1.6. An over 2.5 may also be a safe bet.

Sporting Lisbon are the form team in the Portuguese league, they have won their last five and are top of the table. They host 12th placed Portimonense on Saturday, a Sporting Lisbon win is valued at around 1.4.

BOALD CALL

If you are bold and you know you are, go for an Inter Milan win away at AC Milan. Firstly, they play on the same ground, there is technically no home and away side. AC Milan won the first leg as the away team but things have changed since then. Inter Milan are now top, one point ahead of AC Milan. Inter Milan have won their last three, AC Milan lost their last match. Inter Milan have no Continental matches to worry about. With these few points, I hope I have been able to convince you that Inter Milan win at around 2.5 is a Boald call worth risking.

BANANA PEEL

Avoid Atalanta vs Napoli. In the not too distant past, this would have been a classic goals game but both teams have found a way to confuse these days. Napoli won last week, 1-0 against Juventus and followed that with a defeat in the Europa League against Granada. Atalanta ground out a 1-0 win away at Cagliari last week and they have been largely inconsistent. It is a game that could go either ways and fail to produce goals.

You can as well avoid a Manchester City win against Arsenal. When a team has gone on a 16-match winning run, they are due a bad result. With Manchester City 10 points clear and a Champions League match at hand, City may not be at their best.

Arteta will look to pick his first league point against City

Those are our picks for the weekend. If you win, don’t forget to pay your tithes here. If you don’t win, hold the players and the club’s responsible.

Follow us on Twitter @goaldbal

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What next for Frank Lampard?

It is perhaps too early to put Super Frankie in the bracket of ‘Super player – mediocre manager’.

The illustrious club that has the likes of Gary Neville, Roy Keane, Tony Adams etc. cannot admit Frank Lampard yet. His reign at Chelsea can be best termed – ‘arrived early, left early’.

Lampard back in the labour market

We thought Roman Abramovich had turned a new leaf when he appointed Lampard in the first place. We thought Chelsea had found their ‘ride and die’ until Monday morning when the news hit like Dustin Poirier punches on Connor McGregor. Well, we were not supposed to be surprised, firing and hiring managers has become a culture at Chelsea. But as stated earlier, Lampard was not in the ilk of their type of managers when he was appointed. However, it had the potential of a Cinderella story. Lampard, a legend at the club, taking over the club and leading them to glory. It appeared like Lampard could be to Chelsea what Pep Guardiola was to Barcelona and Zinedine Zidane was to Real Madrid. It was also Chelsea joining the tradition of having former players at the helms. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is at Manchester United and Arsenal have also gone for Mikel Arteta. It also seemed like a marriage of convenience, at a time Chelsea were under a transfer ban and they needed someone that was their own to help them through the period.

Lampard joined a trend of young former players managing their former clubs

All those said, Lampard never looked like a well thought out plan at the outset. Though there were some glimpses at Derby County, it was not enough to trust him with a job as demanding and unforgiving like the Chelsea job. The safest option could have been keeping Maurizio Sarri on the job. Now that it is all done, what next for Lampard?

Lampard was always going to manage Chelsea at a point but it came too early. Even at that, never rule out a second coming. However, it could be a long and rough road to his second coming. Now is the time for Lampard to pay the dues he could have avoided paying if Chelsea had stuck with him. Reality is, Lampard will not get a top job in England, at least not anytime soon. He has to probably return to the Championship and work his way back to the top. Another option is to get a job outside England where he can prove that he has what it takes to be a top coach.

Lampard at Chelsea was a manager that didn’t instill any noticeable identity. It was difficult to define his style and notice his imprint on the team. Lampard has to work on that, almost all top coaches are synonymous with a style. Even when results are not going their way there is always the tendency to see the process and trust them. That did not happen with Lampard in his 18 months at Chelsea, probably the reason why he was sacked.

Lampard’s first sack might be a minor setback

Another option is to admit that he might not be cut out for coaching. Becoming a Pundit has become quite lucrative for retired footballers. Lampard could swap the dugout for the studio were he gets the job done on touch screens rather than on the field of play. The likes of Neville, Adams, Tim Sherwood etc. are making waves, winning matches on touch screens.

However, it will be too early for Lampard to give up on coaching, there are signs he could have something to offer. Lampard might have taken a bite at the cherry too early, hindering his chance for a second bite. But as stated earlier, he will have to earn his second bite. He will have to work for it, it will not be given on a platter. The disappointment at Chelsea could be just a blip but only he (Lampard) can prove that.

Written by Babatomiwa Ojo

@10qmedia on Twitter

Thoughts of a Lunatic: Pressure Mounts on Lampard, Record Breaker Messi and other Talking Points

This is football! Anything can happen. This is where heroes turn to villains and villains turn to heroes before you say Mesut Ozil. Arsenal finally got the back of Ozil. Frank Lampard is running out of legendary bias at Chelsea, just as Lionel Messi is bent on leaving Barcelona with no records left. On this edition of Thoughts of a Lunatic, we take a look at some of these talking points in the ever crazy world of football.

Goner Ozil

Mesut Ozil arrived at Arsenal in 2013 to fan fair but has left like a villain. Arsenal fans are divided, some are happy he is finally gone while some chastise the club for treating him badly. While the Lunatic is not taking sides, who gets badly treated by getting paid £350,000 every week for doing nothing? Who gets paid £350,000 for sitting in the stands with an umbrella protecting his delicate skin from the sunlight? Ozil should swap position with an average Nigerian graduate working in a factory in Nigeria owned by a Lebanese and know what ill treatment is.

Arsenal’s g-boy has gone.

There were some moments of brilliance, some assists and some impressive stats but Ozil at Arsenal did not turn out as expected. While he cannot be said to have been an outright flop, he did not have the desired effect either. Luckily for Arsenal, it is at a point when a certain Emile Smith-Rowe has started doing well in the number ten role, it helped the club take attention away from a ‘chasm’ Ozil’s departure might have created.

Like he said, he is happy to be at Fenerbahçe, maybe there is a little left to see or it is just another payday while engaging fans on Twitter, time will tell.

Messi’s Passion

In the past few months, we are beginning to see the side of Lionel Messi we didn’t see in the past. The Argentine showcased the Keane in him with a punch to the face of an opponent – the first time he gets sent off for Barcelona. It is no news Messi wanted to leave at the summer, Barcelona held on, so Messi can help win matches like the Super Cup final. Lo and behold Barcelona lost to Athletico Bilbao and also lost Messi to a two-match ban.

Messi is still breaking records

It is becoming clear that Messi may not belong to the Nou Camp anymore. At a time it seemed the goals scoring numbers has started getting better and we are not only limited to a Penalnel Messi, the man showed his other side. However, it seems Messi is bent on breaking all records before he leaves.

Pressure Mounts on Lampard

Not even Mason Mount will save Frank Lampard when the hammer falls on him. Mount seems to be Lampard’s greatest achievement as a football manager but if results don’t get better, Mount might be following Lampard back to the Championship soon.

Pressure continues to mount on Lampard.

The results and the performances are getting worse. Supposed title challengers are getting sucked into mid-table after splashing the cash on summer arrivals. Many Chelsea fans have brought out their daggers and are calling for Lampard’s head, they don’t even want to remember that he is a club legend. However, Chelsea fans should look at the positives, they longer concede 3 regularly like they used to do. It has been a while since they were bantered with their jersey. On a more serious note, Manchester United fans used to shout #oleout too before but they are top of the table now (not to say things can’t change again) but it is prove that stories can change very quickly in football.

Chelsea fans are not used to this, they don’t make agitations before their managers get fired, things seemed to have changed. They may be stuck to Lampard as Ugandans are stuck with their president, even invading the Stamford Bridge like the Capitol may not change anything.

That is all I wrote on this edition of Thoughts of a Lunatic, till next time, stay blessed.

Boald Codes: Betting Tips For The Weekend

So, you have started making those plans. How you will hit it big in betting and finally buy that house in Banana Island and buy that dream car. Now, come back from dreamland, na so dream am last year. On that note, Happy New Year – this is the first Boald Codes for the year.

Winning bets has to do with sensible permutations and lots of luck. So, as we always say, lower your expectations and bet responsibly. We have made some picks to guide you as you stake this weekend. It is quite a tricky weekend with cup matches in England, never devoid of upsets. There is also the matter of COVID-19, that is forcing some teams to play without their best legs.

Banker

In Germany, third placed Bayer Leverkusen should get back to winning ways against struggling Werder Bremen. Bremen have just one win from their last eight matches. At around 1.4, 1.5, Bayer are good value for a win.

Atalanta are back in form and should win away at Benevento. Benevento are in decent form but should find the firepower of Atalanta too much. Atalanta win comes at around 1.6.

AC Milan suffered their first defeat of the season against Juventus in midweek, trust them to bounce back with a home win against Torino, who have won just one in nine matches.

In the NPFL, Katsina United should win at home against Adamawa United, who are not known to be good travellers.

Rivers United should win at home against Kwara United. Kwara got a surprise win at Plateau United in the first week but Rivers have had a very good start to the season. Trust them for a win.

In the English FA Cup, go for wins for Brentford and Manchester United at home against Middlesbrough and Watford respectively. Both teams lost out in the semifinals of the Carabao Cup but expect them to bounce back as they try to go on another good cup run. Both teams are also in good form.

Bruno Fernandes is in good form

Lille will aim to get back to winning ways when they travel to bottom placed Nimes. Nimes have just one win in ten and have not won in their last seven. Bank on Lille for an away win.

Banana Peels

The careful with the English FA Cup matches generally.

Be careful with the FA Cup matches

In the NPFL, avoid going for a MFM home win against Sunshine Stars. MFM tend to struggle at home against fellow South-Western teams.

Stoke at home against Leicester will be tricky. Rodgers tends to always rotate, and with a good league finish in their sight they may not be at their best against Stoke, who had a good run in the Carabao Cup.

Boald Call

Tenth placed Cadiz host fourteenth placed Alaves. Cadiz have gone off the boil a little after a very good start. At 2.6 for a home win against Alaves, it could be worth the risk.

Hertha Berlin have lost just once in five, they go away to Arminia Belefield, who have just two wins in ten. At around 1.8, Hertha Berlin is worth the risk for a win.

There you have it, our picks for the weekend. Blame the players in case of any hiccups. Remember to bet responsibly and pay your tithes here if you win.

Follow Goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal

Time Running Out For Lampard At Chelsea

Putting Chelsea’s season into context, they are just three points ahead of Arsenal – who are having a terrible season. The Blues are worse off than they were at this point last season. They have won just one of their last six matches. Talks of a potential title race has began to simmer as familiar defensive frailties under Frank Lampard have started surfacing once again. Edouard Mendy is now showing his kepabilities, he has started drinking goals like the legendary Kepa ‘Aribibizagba’, where does the problem really lie with Chelsea?

The appointment of Lampard looked more sentimental than deserved. Even if it was expected Lampard was going to manage Chelsea at a point, it kind of came early. Lampard was a manager yet to hone his style as a manager. His time at his first job – Derby County showed glimpses of quality but there was nothing substantive enough.

Lampard legendary status got him the job

Right from last season, his Chelsea team have appeared spineless, despite having Ngolo Kanye – one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League in the last five seasons. The team conceded more than 50 goals in the Premier League last season, a stat for relegation threatened teams. A fourth place finish in a season when they couldn’t bring in players was seen as a plausible success but all the excuses only papered the cracks of Lampard’s inadequacies.

Around £200m signings later, Lampard and Chelsea seemed to have made the wrong signings or Lampard does not just know how to manage his players. It is a combination of both, but more of the latter. Olivier Giroud looks like Lampard’s best center-forward but Lampard always seems reluctant to play him, quite mysteriously. There seems to be an effort to play the misfiring Kai Havertz and Timo Werner into form but both players confidence continues to drop with every passing poor performance. Hakim Ziyech has looked really good but has struggled with fitness. Regardless, without the aforementioned attacking trio, Chelsea have options to cover up. Lampard is just not using them right.

Lampard can’t seem to solve the defensive problem

Chelsea have been terrible defensively and it is not just down to the players. Thiago Silva has come into the defence and has performed creditably alongside Kurt Zouma, Ben Chilwell and Reece James are good at fullback – it is not for a lack of personnel, it is how Lampard sets the team up. The team is always susceptible to counter attacks and the defence seems unshielded most times. Against Wolves, Arsenal and Manchester City, we saw how the opposition practically strolled from one end to Chelsea’s goal. Like Kepa, Mendy seems to also be dropping in confidence after a good start.

Lampard cannot say he has not been backed enough. This Chelsea team should be competing for the title, just a top four should not be enough. They have one of the biggest squads in the league and after one full season in charge, he should have a better hang of the team. As is expected, there is no manager imprint on this Chelsea team. One can not say they are an attacking team or defensively solid team. They are a team struggling for an identity as Lampard has even struggled to identify his strongest eleven. It is looking obvious another manager will do better with the team. One thing has to change at Chelsea, it is becoming clearer it is the manager.