St. Gallen v FC Sion
If there were still any doubters about the credentials of St. Gallen as title contenders this season, they were given another reminder of the exciting team that Peter Zeidler has built over the last few seasons at kybunpark as they defeated Young Boys last Sunday to move a point clear at the top of the Super League table.
That result brought a fourth straight win in all competitions and continued their 100% record at home too. The visit of FC Sion this weekend will bring the sideshow of a possible first start for Mario Balotelli for the Valais club, but FCSG will be focused on keeping up their scintillating form at his and Sion’s expense.
There was a buzz about the place for Sion in their last match as they introduced Balotelli to Swiss football and also secured a very late win over FC Basel. It keeps them up in the top half of the table, something that wasn’t necessarily expected, even at this early stage of the season.
FCSG are firing on all cylinders and have scored thirteen goals in their last five league games. They have also been excellent at home and should be able to overpower a Sion side that is going well but have blown hot and cold across their seven games and were also beaten on their last away outing at struggling Luzern.
Winterthur v FC Luzern
Both of the points that FC Winterthur have amassed this season came at the Schutzenwiese after draws with FC Basel and FC Zurich. Their games at their atmospheric home are critical to their chances of staying up and their next match against Luzern is one that they will be eyeing to put some more points on the board after suffering heavy back-to-back defeats.
There has been no lack of effort from Winti as they search for their first Super League win since the 80s. They may have lost 5-1 to YB in their last match, a contest that they actually led in, but it keeps their 100% scoring record at the Schutzenwiese alive. Winti have actually only failed to score in two out of their seven matches so far, both away from home.
It has been an encouraging start for FC Luzern as they aim to avoid a repeat of last season’s brush with the relegation playoff. With a home victory over Sion sandwiched in between two defeats, albeit to high-flying St. Gallen and Servette, they are starting to stutter slightly. Away form was a particular area of concern for FCL last season and they’ve only won five out of their last twenty-seven on the road, so this will be a tricky trip to Winterthur.
Backed by their passionate home support, Winti can cause enough problems for a Luzern side that has only two clean sheets away from home in two years. They have found the net themselves in both of their away matches at Lugano and St. Gallen and they should score against a Winterthur team that has shipped seventeen goals already.
FC Basel v Grasshoppers
After an underwhelming start to the season, it was hoped that Alex Frei’s FC Basel had turned a corner over the last few weeks as they recorded three crucial wins in a row in their last three. Their victory over lower-tier Alschwil in the cup was routine, a 4-2 ‘der Klassiker’ win over Zurich to gain their first win of the season was particularly significant and their 2-0 triumph over CSKA Sofia to qualify for the UEFA Conference League was crucial, both to their season and the Swiss coefficient.
Those early question marks on the team and Frei himself returned as Basel were beaten by Sion on Saturday evening. The goalscoring worries that FCB had at the beginning of the season are gone, but their defensive frailties have been exposed often and were on show on Thursday night as Armenian minnows Pyunik found the net at St. Jakob-Park, even if FCB ran out 3-1 winners in the end.
Grasshoppers are enjoying a terrific start and underlined that with their 3-0 win over Winterthur at the weekend. GC have lost just once this season and look like a team capable of challenging for a top-half finish rather than the relegation that many predicted before a ball was kicked.
This fixture has much history and is typically an entertaining affair. Given the current position of both clubs, I expect the same again here. GC have scored the third-highest number of goals behind only FCSG and YB but have also kept only one clean sheet. I predict goals at both ends at the Joggeli.
Young Boys v Lugano
With the difficult starts that champions FC Zurich and the 21/22 runners-up FC Basel have endured so far, YB may have been forgiven for thinking they would quickly regain their title as Swiss champions after missing out for the first time in four years last season. They were quickly reminded by way of a 2-1 defeat to St. Gallen in their last match, their first loss of the campaign, that this won’t be the case.
Despite that slip, YB are in really good form overall, scoring ten goals in their last three domestic games.
Lugano have been wildly unpredictably but also hugely entertaining in their opening seven games. They certainly seem to enjoy playing away from the Cornaredo, winning three of their last five games on trips to Basel, Winterthur and Zurich. They have also scored two goals in all but one of the seven matches they’ve played and kept only one clean sheet.
With both these sides having a keen eye for goal lately but also not looking watertight at the back, especially in the case of Lugano, I think there will be a lot of goals here. Five of the last seven have also ended with Over 2.5 Goals in this fixture.
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