The domestic season in England may be more or less finished but there is still plenty of action taking place and no more so than this weekend as all eyes will be on the Champions League Final. There are other important ties too and we have a treble of games where we are predicting the winner and both teams to score..
Lillestrom v Stabæk – 2.30pm Saturday
Lillestrom to win and BTTS is 11/5 with William Hill
We are now ten games deep into the season in the Norwegian Tippeligaen and Molde look the team to beat once more as they top the table with an advantage of five points over the chasing pack. Lillestrom will feel like they can push on from their current position of eighth and after tough games away to Valarenga where they earned a draw and suffered a home defeat to Molde they can bounce back here to a strong Stabæk side. Albeit one was a friendly but their last two meetings with Stabæk have ended in Lillestrom victories and both were at home. The league table may have Lillestrom’s opposition five places higher but this is just a three point gap and I can see a home victory here.
Whenever Stabæk are involved, there are goals. It is all or nothing which has worked out well with six victories from their ten games but they lost the other four and this has left them sitting nicely in third. Nine out of their ten games have seen three goals or more scored and they have kept just one clean sheet in those opening ten games. I believe they will leave with nothing on Saturday but not without a fight. Goal scorers in Boli and Brustad have provided ten goals already and most sides will have to score at least two goals to beat this attacking outfit. Stabæk have scored in every away game this season and the net should bulge once more on Saturday,
Bray Wanderers v Cork City – 7.45pm Friday
Cork City to win and BTTS is 3/1 with William Hill
Bray never particularly look forward to this tie as they usually come up second best when taking on Cork. Wanderers have lost their last two meetings between the sides and with Cork on great form, it is likely to be three in a row after Friday night. Bray will hold out hope though as with home advantage they won’t feel beaten quite yet. On home turf Bray have won three of their six games and also found the net in four of those. Just over a month ago they took on St Patricks and lost 3-1 and I can see a similar scoreline against a similar side.
Second placed Cork have now got in full flow of the season and have had a very good week having beaten Derry City 2-0 and then went on to dispatch Limerick 2-1 on Tuesday. Cork will be desperate to make it three in a row and i see no reason why not. Left winger Billy Dennehy is having a great campaign in front of goal and they will look to him for some magic and City also welcome back for the trip to Bray, striker Danny Morrissey which will only add to their chances of victory. Cork are playing very well currently and we should anticipate them to continue at this high level here against Bray.
Dundalk v Sligo Rovers – 7.45pm Friday
Dundalk to win and BTTS is 9/2 with William Hill
We finish off our treble by staying in the Airtricity League Premier Division over in Ireland. Dundalk have started exceptionally and are topping the division with a huge 29 points. On the Tuesday evening just gone, they thrashed and battered neighbours Drogheda United… 7-0! Confidence is at its peak. Finding the back of the net isn’t a problem as displayed this week but they too have scored in each and every home game this season and show no sign of slowing down. These two met only a few weeks ago in the Setanta Cup Final and Dundalk lost 1-0. The manager has spoken this week about revenge and this should be a very different performance. I am predicting another home win for the league leaders.
After reading how well Dundalk are doing you would expect this tie to be a formality, however Sligo will also be pleased with how their campaign has started. Rovers fans will have few complaints at the position of fifth, which they currently hold with eight less points than their opposition here. Sligo have found the back of the net in each of their last eight games and failed to lose in any of them. This is clearly going to be their biggest challenge especially away from home but I expect at least a goal.