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Juventus vs. Bologna: Sarri’s side favourites to continue unbeaten run

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Juventus sit top of the Serie A table after seven games thanks to their six wins and one draw, leapfrogging leaders Inter after their latest victory saw them overcome Antonio Conte’s side 2-1.

They have also had to maintain their energy levels for some tricky fixtures in Europe, and have used their squad depth to also sit top of their Champions League group after two games.

A last-gasp Atletico Madrid equaliser prevented the perfect start.

This was followed by a comfortable 3-0 over Bayer Leverkusen. They host Lokomotiv Moscow in a couple of days time, but the Italian champions host Bologna in the league on Saturday as they look to stretch their lead at the top.

Dropping points only in a goalless draw at Fiorentina, Sarri’s side are unsurprisingly 4/11 to pick up all three points against their visitors, who sit 11th in the table. 

Despite a promising start to the campaign, Bologna are now winless in four. They are currently 15/2 to snatch a rare victory on the road in Turin.

Juve have been as consistent as ever in front of their home fans. But with just two clean sheets in the league so far, their defence has undoubtedly not been as solid as it has in recent seasons. It’s 21/10 then for both teams to score with Sarri’s team coming out on top.

They have, however, managed at least two goals in each of their previous six games in all competitions. The champions are currently 11/8 to score over 2.5 in this fixture.

And in another opposing feature to last season’s successful campaign, the club haven’t been relying on the goalscoring exploits of Cristiano Ronaldo.

The forward finished Serie A’s top scoring list well ahead of his fellow team-mates in his first season in Italy with 21 goals.

This season sees Ronaldo in fine form again, but the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Miralem Pjanic have been supporting the Portuguese.

The Argentinian forward is 4/1 to open the scoring. The Bosnian midfielder meanwhile is currently 7/1 to break the deadlock.

Ronaldo remains favourite with odds of 21/10. And the star man is only 8/15 to find the net at any stage throughout the 90 minutes.

Bologna have been tough to beat at the back at times this season. But have found hitting the back of the net even more difficult. Rodrigo Palacio is their top scorer with just two league goals. The striker is available at 14/1 to score first in what will be another tough game for the away side. 

I'm a Sports Journalism graduate, currently working as a freelance journalist. I currently work for SKY as a freelance sub editor, while I am a graduate of the FISU Young Reporters Programme at the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. I'm a Liverpool and Northern Ireland fan, can follow me on Twitter or view my linkdin biography here.

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Arsenal

Leicester vs Arsenal: Foxes ‘can pile more misery’ on Emery

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During Leicester’s 2015/16 title winning season the Foxes amassed 22 points from their opening 11 league games.

Fast forward four years and they’re a point better off at the same stage of the season. Unfortunately for them Liverpool are flying and any hopes of a second Premier League title are pretty slim.

That said, victory over Arsenal on Saturday teatime would lift Brendan Rodgers’ side up to second.

Things couldn’t be going much better for Rodgers, the same can’t be said for Unai Emery who is under serious pressure to bring Champions League football back to the Emirates.

Six points off the top four. One Premier League win in five. A defence leaking goals for a fun. The Granit Xhaka saga.

And an inability to hold onto a lead, you wouldn’t trust this lot to walk your dog. The problems are piling up.

Four games on the bounce the Gunners have taken the lead, but failed to see the game out. It’s 6/1 for Leicester to come from behind and draw.

Most Arsenal fans will tell you Emery hasn’t improved Arsenal one bit, and to be honest they’re not wrong.

The only positive is new captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who has 9 goals to his name, with four of those coming away from home.

He’s 8/5 to score anytime.

Jamie Vardy is the Premier League’s current top goal scorer and he’s scored in each of Leicester’s last two wins over the Gunners. The former England striker is 10/3 to open the scoring.

The Foxes were 3-0 winners the last time these two sides met in Leicester and it’s 19/1 for the hosts to win by the same scoreline.

Leicester’s home form this season is close to perfection.

They’ve dropped just two points all season at the King Power Stadium and that was in their opening game of the season against Wolves.

Add to that Arsenal’s poor away record then it’s hard to look past the Foxes to bag all three points, they’re evens to do exactly that. The draw is 14/5 and so too are Arsenal.

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Vitoria vs. Arsenal : Money comes in for home side to cause shock

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Arsenal head to Portugal on Wednesday to take on Vitoria in their reverse Europa League encounter, with the Gunners flying high in Group F.

Unai Emery’s side won the meeting in London as they twice came from behind two run out 3-2 winners. Two late free-kicks from Pepe secured all three points and continued Arsenal’s 100% record in the competition.

Only Arsenal and Sevilla have won their three group games so far, with the Gunners tally of ten goals scored the highest in this season’s Europa League.

The away side are unsurprisingly heavy favourites to win the tie. They can be backed at 11/10 to take away all three points.

The home side meanwhile have been given odds of 23/10 to cause a real upset and win the game. And a draw is available at 13/5.

Arsenal will be looking to make it four wins from four against Vitoria who, despite sitting bottom of the group with zero points, certainly gave them a scare in London.

It was the first goals that Emery’s men had conceded in the tournament. They will be looking to get back to their early clean sheet days, having kept clean sheets in the victories against Frankfurt and Standard Liege.

The visitors are currently available at 11/4 to make it three clean sheets from their four group games.

The home side can be backed at 4/1 to keep out the travelling youngsters and keep their first clean sheet of the group stages.

However, the likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Joe Willock and Bukayo Saka will have something to say about that. 

Young forward Martinelli has three goals in Europe this season. He’s currently 5/1 to score the opener and 13/10 to score anytime.

His fellow youngster Willock has two Europa League goals to his name. He’s available at 10/3 to make it three.

And 18-year-old Saka will be ready to go once again after scoring on matchday one. He’s been given odds of 10/1 to score the game’s first goal. And the teenager is 3/1 to score anytime throughout the 90 minutes.

Despite their perceived superiority, the statistics certainly don’t favour the away side.

They’ve lost on all three visits to England, but are unbeaten at home to English clubs, winning one and drawing two.

Furthermore, Portugal hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the north London outfit. They have won just one of six UEFA fixtures in the country, drawing two and losing three.

It’s currently 20/1 for a repeat of the 3-2 Arsenal victory from last time out.

London-born Marcus Edwards scored the opener for the Portuguese outfit at Emirates Stadium. He’s available at 11/1 to do the same on Wednesday.

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Arsene Wenger target for Bayern Munich

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Legendary manager Arsene Wenger is reportedly apart of a four-man shortlist that the Bayern Munich hierarchy have compiled to replace the recently departed Niko Kovac.

It was reported that Kovac was sacked following Die Roten’s 5-1 humiliation at the hands of the Croatian’s former club Eintracht Frankfurt, however, Kovac confirmed he and his assistant, his brother Robert, handed in their resignations.

The former Croatian national manager cited the reason for his departure was down to the fact that he felt that he could no longer take this squad further.

The former Bayern Munich defender was appointed at the start of last campaign following his impressive stint at Frankfurt where he won a DFB Pokal, beating Bayern and his successor Jupp Heynckes in the final.

Kovac managed to secure the domestic double but it wasn’t plain sailing as suffered intense criticism from the fans and the media as he failed to manage the big ego’s of the dressing room effectively.

The Bavarians had a relatively poor start compared to their high standards and have been relying heavily on the individual quality of Robert Lewandowski to get three points on a consistent basis.

The heavy defeat at Frankfurt accelerated the decision to part ways with Kovac and assistant Hansi Flick will take over for the Champions League fixture against Olympiacos and a Bundesliga match-up against title-rivals Borussia Dortmund.

With Bayern looking for a manager, former Arsenal manager Wenger has been one of the few names to be touted for the prestigious job.

Odds of Next Bayern Munich Manager

7/4- Jose Mourinho

7/2- Erik ten Hag

5/1- Massimiliano Allegri

5/1- Ralf Rangnick

8/1- Arsene Wenger

It is said that the hierarchy of the reigning Bundesliga champions are huge fans of Wenger especially considering his ability to speak fluent German.

The blend of his attacking football philosophy, ability to improve the youth players and his elite resume makes him a stand-out candidate for one of Europe’s elite.

However, current RB Leipzig director Ralf Rangnick is the top target and the 61-year-old did manage Leipzig last campaign where he led them to an impressive 3rd place in the Bundesliga.

Current Ajax manager Erik ten Hag is also reportedly a huge favourite amongst the Bayern hierarchy. His team’s run to the semi-finals in the Champions League captivated the world and the Dutch manager has great knowledge of Bayern, which makes him a favourite for the job.

The 49-year-old was with the German giants during Pep Guardiola’s tenure in Munich where ten Hag managed the reserve team.

However, it is unlikely that ten Hag would be appointed as Ajax would not let him leave in the middle of the season.

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