It’s the Champions League Final, it’s a Madrid Derby, and it could confirm Diego Simeone as the greatest manager in the history of football (in some eyes). There’s a lot to play for, the crown as European Football’s Kings, as well as the ultimate bragging rights over City neighbours, and…if you fancy a flutter, there could be some money to be made too.
Now I realise that Simeone will have to go some way to beat the achievements of Bryan Robson’s 1996-97 season (relegation and defeat in two cup finals), but he’ll be doing a pretty impressive job nonetheless.
As it stands, Simeone’s team are an incredibly generous 3-1 to beat a team that they finished ahead of this season. Real are a not so generous 19-20, possibly due to Diego Costa’s injury.
At the time of writing, and depending on what news stories you believe, he’s currently being merged with a horse in a desperate attempt to make the starting line up. That’s certainly one way to overcome such a hurdle.
In terms of individual bets, below are the goalscoring stats for each team, based on the ranking of opponent. The Champions League Final is arguably (by South Americans) the biggest game in Club Football, so it makes sense that big game players will rise to the occasion. With that in mind, a look at some of the interesting goal scoring bets:
Absolutely no surprise who the favourite is, and with good reason. Ronaldo used to have a big game bottler tag, but after numerous goals against Barcelona, Internationally and in the 2008 Final, there’s no doubting that he’s a man for the big occasion. The 11-10 any time bet doesn’t offer any value to anyone other than the rich or possibly professional gamblers with an excess cash pot, but the First (or last) goalscorer odds of 10-3 certainly do make for a decent bet.
As per the stats, in the league, he’s a man for all occasions – taking the golden boot with 31 league goals, including 8 in the games against the Top 6 teams. That included one against the league champions Atleti in the 2-2 draw. In the Champions League, he netted twice in the counter attacking master piece that was Real’s 4-0 away win against Bayern Munich – the reigning Champions of Europe.
Fresh on the back of an excellent goal scoring season which included 17 league goals, he showed his big game credentials by scoring 7 times against other Top 6 opposition. This included goals against Barcelona (a brace) and Atletico, proving he can do it in the big games.
Like Ronaldo, Benzema also scored against Bayern Munich, but this wasn’t after going 3-0 up on aggregate, his was the all important first goal in the first leg to give the advantage to Real. There’s a feeling that Benzema is finally emerging into the player he’s long suspected to be and what better way to do confirm that then to score in the Champions League Final.
The best bets often come with a risk, just last weekend I bet on Arsenal to win the FA Cup when they went 2-0 down (10-3), and lo and behold, they came good (though the small print said that I apparently bet on the full time result – bastards). Could this be the time for the thoroughbred Spazilian striker to edge his team over the line first? As mentioned above, he’s currently in the company of a witch doctor or something similar in an attempt to get fit. His doubtful fitness has lent itself to generous odds of 13-2 for the first goal or 9-4 anytime. These will surely slash if he makes a recovery, so if you fancy the high risk high reward bet, now’s the time to get involved.
His stats this season have been impressive. Scoring goals in most games he plays, he has notable notches against a whole host of teams, though perhaps telling is that he failed to score in either game against Barcelona, and if you take away penalties, he didn’t score in the Quarters of Semi Finals of this seasons Champions League. Flat track bully? Not quite, with 5 goals against Top 6 opponents including the winner against Real in the 1-0 early season match up.
Of course, if Costa doesn’t make it, all is not lost from an attacking point of view. Although he’s played second fiddle this season and mainly wider, he’s still managed a decent 13 league goals (15 in all) in what is his debut season with the club.
Big Game credentials? There’s the Champions League Final of 2011 against Man Utd, a World Cup golden boot including goals in the Quarters and Semi Finals. At 15-2, these are worth a bet.
What a fantastic first season in Spain this could end up being for Bale. Having watched him a lot this season, it still seems that he’s playing to be accepted by his team mates – passing (particularly to that angry Portuguese bloke) at times when he would have shot. For Spurs in his final season, he scored more goals from outside of the box than any other player. But…….there was that goal in the Spanish Cup Final, a Clasico. And he is the most expensive player in the history of Football, so should start repaying some of that!
Who else? Well if you’re reading this site there’s a good chance you’ve been watching Spanish teams in action quite regularly, and that means you’ll be aware of Sergio Ramos’ reinvention as a number 9.
I’m not sure if that’s a real number 9 or a false number 9, but the point is that he’s scoring a lot of goals at the moment, none more important than the opening brace in the Champions League Semi Final in Munich.
He only scored 4 league goals, but three of those were in the closing weeks of the season when they were still chasing the league title – so he does do it under pressure. He’s available at 20-1 for first or last scorer, and 8-1 at any time. In the Atleti corner is another defender who’s recently scored an important goal – Diego Godin. What chance him following up the title winning goal with one in the Champions League Final? 40-1 (18-1 anytime).
With the support of the helpful data below, there’s some evidence to support an Atletico Madrid shut out. They kept a massive 20 league clean sheets (including one against Real) compared to Real’s 16. Crucially, Real didn’t keep one clean sheet against any Top 6 teams.
Atletico Madrid – La Liga 2013-14
Real Madrid 2013-14 La Liga
You can get 3-1 on Real Madrid not scoring. I admit that I don’t think this is likely, but then I thought Fernando Torres was going to score more Premier League goals than Luis Suarez this season. When looking at the Failure to Score (FTS) numbers, Real were only kept out twice.
There’s plenty more markets on offer here in what promises to be an engrossing game. There’s money to be had and hopefully the above guide will give you a helping hand. Now there’s not a compulsory law that suggests you should give me a cut if you win on any of the above, but morally you know it’s the right thing to do.
Good Luck All.