Sint-Truiden vs Sporting Charleroi
Friday 28th January – 7:45PM KO
The Canaries of Sint-Truiden welcome sixth-placed Charleroi to Stayen in the Friday evening Pro League fixture. This week in Belgium has been a real treat, with games coming thick and fast every day, and this will continue all the way through the weekend. Sint-Truiden are nestled in midtable, and though a push towards the play-off places is not necessarily out of the question, their inconsistent form makes it seem unlikely that they will be able to pull it off. Charleroi find themselves in the thick of what is increasingly becoming a fascinating scrap for the play-off spaces. There is a small buffer to the top four, but with Anderlecht’s shaky form there is nothing stopping any of these sides snatching the final spot there, whilst there are a number of sides just outside the top-eight looking hungry to break in.
Goals look to be the way to go in this game, as they often are in the Pro League, and while overall Sint-Truiden’s games don’t seem especially appealing for goals, being roughly around the league average, their home record is quite the opposite. All 12 of their home games have seen over 1.5 goals land, whilst nine of these twelve had had at least three goals. They have scored in 11 of these 12, and also conceded in 11 of these 12, and their tally of 10 games in which both teams have scored is by far the most in the league.
Charleroi fans must be exasperated seeing their team involved in high-scoring, exciting games on the road, but often failing to find the net back home at the Stade du Pays. Their away record is quite ridiculous, with all 11 games seeing over 1.5 goals, and 10 of these also seeing over 2.5 sail in. With seven of these 11 also hitting the over 3.5 mark, there is every reason to be confident that the goals will keep flowing on Friday evening.
Herve Koffi, Charleroi’s starting goalkeeper (who you may have seen doing backflips following Burkina Faso’s penalty shoot-out win in the last 16 of AFCON) is still in Cameroon, and this should hopefully make goals even more likely in Sint-Truiden. With the pressure starting to be turned up on Charleroi, they will want to respond and cement their play-off position, and hopefully they can contribute at least a couple of goals towards the three we need here.
Prediction: Over 2.5 Goals, 2.38 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
RFC Seraing vs KAS Eupen
Saturday 29th January – 5:30PM KO
A game that wouldn’t have raised any eyebrows just a few weeks ago now looks like it could be crucial for both sides. Seraing are second-bottom, in the relegation play-off places, whilst free-falling Eupen have gone from pushing the top four to being just four points above Seraing and looking nervously over their shoulder. A creditable draw against Kortrijk will have come as a welcome relief for the visitors, but there is much work still to be done, as shown by then losing 2-0 to Standard Liege, which dropped them below The Reds. They will be hoping to claim a victory here and finally stop the rot, with their only victory since October having come against bottom-of-the-table Beerschot.
Seraing have seen over 1.5 goals land in 75% of their last 15 fixtures. Though they have scored in over half of these matches, (7 of 12), in five of those seven they did score twice or more, so should they score here, it is likely they will go on to get at least one more. Meanwhile, in games in which their opponent has scored (13 of their last 15), they have been able to score twice or more 10 times. No team has had more games finish with over 3.5 goals than Seraing, and though that seems a stretch for this game, over 1.5 looks more than likely.
Eupen have one of the worst defensive records in the league, especially since their slide towards the bottom began. They have kept a clean sheet just once in 15 league games, with 11 of those 14 games in which their defence was breached seeing two or more goals for the opponents. Over 1.5 goals have landed in 11 of Eupen’s 12 away games. They have scored twice or more themselves on 6 occasions, with their opponents netting twice or more also in 6 of their 12 away fixtures.
With Eupen becoming desperate to pick up their form and move away from the bottom, and Seraing knowing this is likely to be one of their easiest remaining fixtures, both teams will be desperate for the win. This is a true six-pointer, and losing could be disastrous for both sides. If either side takes the lead, the other will be desperate to equalise, which should see the game open up, and provide opportunities for each side to equalise or seal the game late on.
Prediction: Over 1.5 Goals, 1.29 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Cercle Brugge vs Oostende
Saturday 29th January – 7:45KO
The league’s form team won again midweek, beating high-flying Anderlecht 2-0, and moving into the play-off positions for the first time this season as a result. Dominik Thalhammer’s side have been exceptional since he took charge, and though their last result did arrive following a red card for Anderlecht, they continue to punch above their weight. Oostende are the latest team to arrive at the Jan Breydel Stadium in Bruges, and they will not be alone in not wanting to face the Green and Black. They have conceded 46 goals this season, with only the three sides below them having allowed more. Only two points above the relegation places, they will be nervous with both Seraing and Beerschot picking up points recently. Having looked fairly safe, they now have very little margin for error, being just two points above the play-offs.
With eight wins in their last nine, and that one loss coming at the hands of Union St-Gilloise, who are running away with the league, Cercle will be confident of collecting three more points here. They have won 4 out of 4 at home under the new manager, with 10 goals scored, and just two goals conceded. They have dispatched teams from the bottom to the top of the table, and do so with efficient goalscoring and a solid defence. Considering that they had not won a home game all season until the new manager was appointed this is mightily impressive, and it would be a huge upset to see this fantastic run ended by De Kustboys.
Oostende’s away record all season has been poor, with six defeats in 11. Though they have managed to draw with Gent and beat Beerschot, winning against Beerschot is nothing to shout about, and Gent have drawn all four of their last four. Only two teams have scored fewer goals than Oostende, who have failed to score in six of their 11 away games.
Cercle are, as you would expect, heavy favourites for this clash, but they are still good value considering that they have now been in championship-winning form for several months now. Having finally bridged the gap to the play-off spots, Cercle will not want to let up now, and should they continue playing as they have in the last two months, the sky really is the limit.
Prediction: Cercle Brugge to Win, 1.57 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)
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