by Mircea Panait
In our regular column, we propose to analyze different European football teams to find the best bets on their matches. Whether it’s the domestic championship, Champions League or UEFA League, it’s good to keep always up-to-date on the latest news on the team we bet on and to analyze the previous results and bets, if any.
It was set up in 1899, and fans and supporters still use the name “blaugrana” when referring to the Catalan team. It is one of the teams that any bettor has met and whom any better has played, FC Barcelona holding numerous European and national trophies.
This being the short history, we shall pass to the part that interests us the most, namely team statistics in the season of 2017 – 2018, which is still in progress. Barca is engaged in the Champions League and La Liga, the most important competitions for a top team. With an average of 1.5 goals / game, Catalan players held an average possession of the ball of 62.9% of the time allocated to the game. The accuracy of the passes is high, 89.5%, averaging 19 goals towards the opponent and 16 dribbles / match. They are very good at discipline, only 5 yellow cards in La Liga until the 9-th of September 2017. We have here, also, 14 tackling / match and 4.5 air duels won in each game.
At a critical glance, FC Barcelona suffers in the offensive, not being the team that used to mark so easily in the past few years. Neymar’s departure to PSG seems to have left a bigger hole than expected in the blaugrana team’s attack. This adds to various criticisms of some former players, rumors that have a negative effect on the team. The Argentinean Lionel Messi prolonged his contract for another 4 years after circulating different rumors regarding some another destination. At the same time, Iniesta refused to extend the contract. Ernesto Valverde Tejedor, the team’s manager, has not positively impressed so far in this season, being rather a coach suitable for a team that has some chances in the UEFA League, but that is all.
Lionel Messi is, of course, the leading scorer with 2 goals, followed by S. Roberto with 1 goal. As to the goal pass chapter, we find G. Deulofeu, J. Alba and P. Alcácer, each with one assistant. One of the weaknesses of the current team is about air duels. Barca is not good at all at this chapter, Busquets being noted for 2 won air duels and that’s all. On the whole, it seems that the entire defensive compartment is deficient in the reaction speed chapter, with the team having trouble confronting hard and fast technical attackers.
Let’s see which could be Barcelona’s strengths: they are very good at long passes and good in creating chances for scores by individual players technique, creating opportunities to score, attacks on the flanks, performing of free kicks, completing scores occasion, possession of the ball, position on the field. Weaknesses would be air duels and the speed of reaction of defending players in front of technical players. The game style is one based on possession, with short passes and midfield offense. The team plays highly, by pressing opponents and controlling the game.
As FC Barcelona now stands, it has no too big chances in the Champions League, according to the results in the first two games in the groups; it is even recommended betting against it, since it does not win the Champions League. It is in Group D with Juventus, Olympiakos and Sporting. In the games played on New Camp in the Champions League, handicap betting on one or two goals without doubling them with the scores number is recommended. Since Barca is not fit at this start of the season, it is possible to bet “several goals in the second half” both in away and home games. They shall play the first game at home, against Juventus, the odds being balanced: @1.80 for Barcelona’s victory, @2.00 Juventus’ victory or tie.
If Messi was exponential for the team, he now becomes vital on the offensive part, Luiz Suarez being expected to score. So far, the Uruguayan is inconstant and it is known that it is difficult for him to enter the season.
In the domestic championship, La Liga, the team seems to be overtaken by the big rivals of Real Madrid, who have kept their offensive trio intact and are seen as the big favorites for the title. The same number of shots to the gate for both teams, Barca being placed in second position in the ranking, with 6 points in two games and 4 scored goals. The most prolific, after the first stages, seem to be the players of Atletico Madrid, with 7 successes.
I expect Barcelona to have good matches at home, in front of its supporters. Depending on the opponent and its defensive capability, a betting system based on “par” is recommended, a bet with real and good odds of @1.90, but, most importantly, it covers the handicap at one goal, at least, and the equal result in the same time. That is, Barca wins with 2-0, 3-1, 4-2, 5-1, 4-0…or equals, both possibilities being covered.
The following bets, depending on the opposing team and the latest news in team groups bets are recommended for away matches: less than 2.5 scored goals in matches against solid teams in defense and fighting for places in European competitions; over 2.5 or even over 3 goals whenever you anticipate an open match or when it comes to Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla or Espanyol Barcelona as opponents.
Both at home and on the road, one can play “Messi scores anytime” when the Argentine is in the field from the very beginning.
I wish you a lot of inspiration!