Every week, we will look across Europe’s top five leagues in search of draws.
So, last weekend was a good one for this column. We went three out of four for our picks, with only Stuttgart dissenting, proving too good for Hoffenheim. Oh well, a 75% strike rate is healthy indeed, especially if we can get that ratio to stick going forward.
Let’s see what we can get this week. 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.
Eintracht Frankfurt VS Union Berlin (X at 3.70)
Since beating Bayern Munich in mid-February, Eintracht Frankfurt has not won a Bundesliga match. A disappointing tally of two points from nine has stalled their momentum somewhat, but they remain in possession of the final Champions League spot in fourth and have their destiny very much in their own hands.
Sadly, I don’t think that run is set to improve right away. This weekend, it’s Union Berlin who come calling. The Berliners are a pain in the nether regions to play at the best of times: no team outside the top four has lost fewer matches this season, and Union have not been defeated in any of their last five matches. Crucially, they have attacking talisman Max Kruse back in the side.
For all that they are flying high, I don’t get the sense Eintracht is capable of blowing teams away just yet. Much of their danger is created by Filip Kostic flying forward, and so nerd like myself will be looking forward to an epic 1v1 battle with Christopher Trimmel on that flank. They will likely cancel each other out, and that will prove a microcosm of the match itself, with both teams sharing the spoils.
Getafe VS Elche (X at 3.15)
Elche were a tad unfortunate in midweek to lose to Sevilla, all things considered. They certainly had the better of the first-half until Youssef En-Nesyri pounced to head the hosts in front, and they can feel encouraged by the fight in their performance. This weekend, they face another tricky trip, this time to Madrid to face Getafe.
Pepe Bordalas and his thugs don’t give up points easily, and they took a little bit of air out of Atletico Madrid’s La Liga title charge last time out. What’s more, they beat Elche on the road just two months ago, and they will fancy their chances yet again.
However, look beyond the result, and that reverse fixture was actually quite even. In fact, one might go as far as to say Elche were the better side until Ivan Marcone got sent off seven minutes into the second-half. Only then did Getafe take over.
Elche is not the sort of team to be bullied, and in truth Bordalas’ brand of football has shown signs of starting to wane in effectiveness. Getafe will be the fresher of the two teams, but I cannot see them having the wherewithal to really take advantage of it, whereas Elche will be just a little short.
West Ham VS Arsenal (X at 3.45)
There hasn’t been a draw in this fixture in the Premier League since 2017, and I think we’re due one now.
West Ham were tepid in their defeat at Old Trafford last week, and will be able to welcome back both Jesse Lingard, who missed out against his parent club, and Pablo Fornals, who was out with a knock. That will help their attacking play no end.
Arsenal on the other hand is buzzing after their derby win over Tottenham last week. The fact they did it without captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang spoke volumes of the belief in the club’s ranks, and it seems Arteta may finally be getting a sustainable tune out of his charges. Too bad it’s come too late in the season to affect the league table much. In any case, this is a meeting of two quite evenly-matched teams.
Arsenal won the reverse fixture through a late Eddie Nketiah goal, but in truth, they rode their luck at times at the Emirates. This time, with Europa League exertions to contend with, I can’t see the Gunners quite pulling it off, especially as West Ham will be keen to avoid losing too much more ground in their battle for the European places.
Parma VS Genoa (X at 3.10)
Struggling Parma stunned punters everywhere last time out, pulling off a shock win over high-flying Roma and keeping a clean sheet while doing it. However, it was an oasis of green in what has generally been a rough season for Roberto D’Aversa’s side.
Whether it can prove a catalyst for a late surge up the table remains to be seen. Parma will get to test that theory when they host Genoa on Friday evening. Their visitors aren’t in much better shape either: they brought in a draw for us last week against Udinese, and have not won any of their last six.
I’ve settled on this match for two reasons. For one, these sides boast the highest and second-highest draw tallies in Serie A respectively. Second of all, I think Parma got lucky against an AS Roma side exhausted from their Europa League exertions.
Even though they’ve won the last five iterations of this fixture, these are worse times than usual for them. Genoa will be motivated by the need to keep their heads above water and will present a tighter front to avoid defeat.