Every week, we will look across Europe’s top five leagues in search of draws.
One of our tips came in last weekend, so congratulations if you picked out Real Valladolid v Cadiz. If you went with any of the others, here’s hoping we can make it up this week with a better score overall.
Remember: every tip contained here is a second opinion from a complete stranger online. Ultimately, trust your discretion in selecting which picks to go with.
Everton v Aston Villa (X at 3.60)
After a hot start to the season, Aston Villa are starting to find their proper level. In truth, we should not judge them too harshly: it was never going to last, especially with club talisman Jack Grealish laid low with injury.
The Villans have won just one of their last eight league matches; without their influential midfielder, they lack the tools to carve consistent chances.
Everton still harbour faint hopes of a European finish but is running out of time to force the issue. A recent spate of draws hasn’t helped their cause, and they only just snapped a run of six games without a win in all competitions in their fortuitous win over Arsenal last time out.
The Toffees’ inability to see games out seems to be their bane recently and means the opponent is never truly out of the game.
Their home record is also quite terrible: all season, they’ve won five games at Goodison Park. That provides visiting Villa with something to believe in going into Saturday’s encounter, and I think we will witness a low-scoring, tied game in the same mould as the last meeting between these sides.
One can make a very good case that Fiorentina were unlucky to only draw against Juventus last weekend.
They had more shots in total, four times as many shots on target, and hit the woodwork. Only a vast second-half improvement rescued the Old Lady from certain embarrassment.
This week, Fiorentina travel to face another team that saw their early profligacy punished brutally. Bologna shipped five against Atalanta but were actually the better side until La Dea opened the scoring. Football can be quite a silly sport sometimes.
Neither of these sides is mathematically safe from relegation, but Bologna does at least have a more significant buffer.
Fiorentina are only three points above the drop zone and are in peril of slipping in unless they start turning draws into wins. That said, I do not see them doing it here.
Four of the last five iterations of this fixture have ended in draws, and only two teams have a worse away record than La Viola, so there’s good reason to back the stalemate again here.
It has been a quite memorable second season back in the top-flight for Granada. They enjoyed a deep-ish run in the Europa League, and still are in with a chance of usurping Villarreal for a European place via the league.
Visitors Cadiz also have little to complain about, and had they been offered their current estate – seven points clear of the drop with five games to play – before the start of the season, they would have bitten your hand clean off.
Granada are strong favourites with the bookies and per league position. However, the history of this fixture suggests there is more to it than a surface-level appraisal.
When both sides shared the spoils in the reverse fixture in October, it continued a trend of draws going back three games to meetings in Segunda.
In addition, Cadiz actually have a pretty respectable record on the road: only one of their six losses away from home has come against a side outside the European spots. There’s a decent chance they prove too tough for Granada to crack.
No one pulls the fire alarm just yet, but with each passing week it is looking like Liverpool might actually not qualify for the Champions League next season.
Just when it seemed they were building up a head of steam, back-to-back draws against Leeds and Newcastle stopped them in their tracks.
With nothing more to play for save a CL place, they will travel to Old Trafford in a state of fury. Their last visit to Manchester United ended in a 3-2 defeat in the FA Cup in January, and since then it has been the Red Devils in the ascendancy in all competitions.
What’s more, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side no longer seems so beholden to Bruno Fernandes’ contributions anymore; despite the Portuguese’s poor form, they have been chugging along quite nicely.
The last time Liverpool won at Old Trafford was in 2014. That makes for grim reading, and it would be a terrible omen for this weekend if United didn’t have the Europa League as a “distraction”.
With that in mind, as well as the fact the last two league meetings between these sides in Manchester have ended in draws, the odds on offer for a tie here are worth exploring.