Club Brugge v Royal Antwerp
Sth February – 12:30PM KO
Sunday in the Belgian Pro League begins with a massive game at the top of the table, with two of the biggest names in Belgian football, and current occupiers of second and third in the table facing off at the Jan Breydel Stadion.
As much as I would like to predict a goal-fest however, this game is likely to be decided by fine margins, with both sides likely to be more worried about losing the game than trying to get three points. Whichever side loses this game will likely fall to either 12 or 13 points behind league leaders Union, and will know a six point deficit will be extremely difficult to overcome after points are halved ahead of the end-of-season play-offs.
Five of the last seven games between these two have seen under 2.5 goals, and both sides have struggled for goals lately. Brugge have seen over 2.5 goals land in just 2 of their last 5 home games, a low number considering the high-scoring nature of the Pro League and how dominant Brugge typically are.
Furthermore, in 4 of 5 games against fellow top-4 sides this season the home side have seen under 2.5 goals/ With just three goals scored in their last three home games, and having won just three of their last six league games, there is little to suggest this will change this weekend.
Antwerp are in similarly poor form, having only won one of their last three games, and losing the other two. Their stingy defence will contribute to this being a low-scoring game, conceding just 0.93 goals per 90 minutes away from home. They have kept 10 clean sheets this season, joint-second best in the league (with their hosts Brugge), and with over 2.5 goals landing just once in their last six games on the road, this mean defence is keeping games tight and under control.
Barring a couple of unlikely early goals, this should be a cagey affair, with neither team willing to really push for the win. Even if one side goes ahead, the other will be wary of their quality on the counter and will likely not open up too much until near the end of the game to avoid exposing themselves. More than 2 goals in this game would shock me. Games featuring the top-4 playing each other have tended to be quiet affairs all season, and getting towards the business end now where any dropped points could be a fatal blow, there is no reason to suspect this game will be any different.
Prediction: Under 2.5 Goals, 2.1 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Genk v Kortrijk
Sunday 20th February – 3:00PM KO
The Club Brugge vs Antwerp game will be a tough act to follow, but this mid-afternoon game is interesting in that it will feature two sides on opposing trajectories. Genk are in good form, solid but not spectacular, whilst Kortrijk seem to be slipping away from a play-off challenging position into mid-table obscurity.
Genk have generally been in and around the European positions in the league over the last few seasons, and have fared well against De Kerels, winning four of their last five meetings. They will expect to make that five from six here, with Kortrijk 16th in the form table, taking just three points from five games.
Genk meanwhile, score over 2 goals per game on average when playing at the Luminus Arena, and come into this game unbeaten in five home fixtures, winning 4 and drawing once against third-placed Antwerp. Their last home game saw them demolish the side just above them, Mechelen, 4-1 and add to the number of big wins that have seen them score more than all but three sides in the Pro League this season.
They have scored 13 times in their last 5 home games, conceding just 3 times, and they have only drawn a blank in 1 of 14 matches on their own patch. With an incredibly solid record of 9 wins in 14 matches against bottom-half opponents, they will be confident of making it 5 wins in a row here today.
Kortrijk meanwhile will be looking to forget what happened last time they travelled, losing 2-1 to rock-bottom Beerschot. They have not only lost four of their last five games in the league, but have also won just once in their last five games away from home, and over the season have averaged exactly one goal per game less than Genk’s 2.29, at 1.29 per 90.
The two teams are separated by only a few positions in the table, but this is not a positive for a Kortrijk side that has struggled against those teams around it. In 7 games against the sides two places above and below themselves, they have won just twice and have lost the other 5.
Genk will be confident of securing three points here, and I see no reason to doubt that confidence. Kortrijk are a team on the decline who have fallen away from good early season form, and Genk have been playing their best football of the season since the Pro League returned from its winter break.
Prediction: Genk to Win, 1.55 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Standard Liege v Gent
Sunday 27th February – 5:30PM KO
Unfortunately for those hoping for an action-packed day in Belgium, the third game of the day looks to be yet another low-scoring affair. Liege and Gent are both amongst the four sides to have seen the most under 2.5 goals games this season, and both sides have been struggling to score in recent weeks.
Liege have seen under 2.5 goals in four of their last five Pro League fixtures, and have scored just four goals in their last five games, both overall and in their last five at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne. Over the course of the season they have only scored 1 goal per game, and whilst they have conceded 1.62 per game, this is from 1.39 expected goals against them, suggesting their opponents have been a little fortunate to score this often.
They have not won a home league game since November, and the home fans must despair, having now seen their side score more than once on just one occasion in the last seven league games in Liege, and just three times in the whole of 2021/22.
Gent meanwhile have a similar record in recent weeks, with under 2.5 goals landing in four of their last six Pro League games. Though they did put four goals past Seraing in their last game, this was against a side which has lost every away fixture since mid-November, and have been in terrible form for some time now.
They have managed just three goals in their last four away games. On average, Gent’s away fixtures have seen a very low 1.86 goals per game (the league average is 2.96) for both sides combined, scoring 1 goal per game and conceding 0.86, which is amongst the lowest in the division, amounting to just 26 goals in 14 matches.
With 6 clean sheets in 14 games away from Ghent, and having failed to score on 6 occasions, it is no surprise that under 2.5 goals has landed in 9 of their 14 games away from the Ghelamco Arena so far this season. With visitors Liege also struggling for goals, whilst having conceded far and away the fewest goals amongst teams in the bottom-third of the league, there is no reason to think this record won’t be extended here.
Prediction: Under 2.5 Goals, 1.85 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Zulte Waregem v Seraing
Sunday 27th February – 8:00PM KO
The final game of Sunday sees Zulte Waregem host Seraing, the two sides currently sitting second and third-bottom of the form table, with just one win between them in the last 6 games they have each played. Seraing claimed that win, but coming as it did, at home to Beerschot who are seven points adrift at the foot of the table, this is hardly impressive.
Waregem were one of the league’s highest scoring sides before the winter break, but have been unable to convert any of their three draws since the resumption of the league into wins. Two of these three draws have come at home, and though they have been struggling this season, their record against the sides around them in the bottom-6 is quite strong, with 3 wins, 3 draws and only 2 defeats in 8 games.
Their last six home games have seen 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats, but with one of those defeats being against fourth-placed Anderlecht, and including a win against an in-form Mechelen side, this is actually quite good for a team one place above the relegation zone.
Seraing meanwhile have been pretty terrible all season, and despite the odd good performance or shock result, they have not really been able to make their mark on the Pro League following promotion last season. Despite the recent win against Beerschot, and draw against Eupen (possibly the two worst sides in the league right now) somewhat masking their poor form, it should not be forgotten that Seraing have lost 10 of their last 12 league games, and come into this game having lost 3 in a row.
Their away form is particularly poor, having not won away in the league since November, and losing 12 of 14 games played away from their Stade du Pairay. Their last five away fixtures have seen them score just once, whilst conceding a huge 13 goals, at a rate of just under 3 per game.
Of the 14 away matches Seraing have played this season, they have conceded at least twice in 12 games, and have conceded once in the two that did not reach that threshold. With no team scoring less on the road than the 11 they have managed so far, Zulte Waregem really must be quite confident of securing a result here. The goals may have dried up for the hosts slightly, but if they cannot score here they will have to wonder where exactly they will be able to find the back of the net.
I feel quite confident that Waregem will win this tie, but Waregem are probably the most unpredictable side in the entire league, so I am choosing to play it a little bit safe and go for Draw No Bet as the odds are pretty good value considering how poor Seraing have been in the second half of the season.
Prediction: Zulte Waregem Draw No Bet, 1.57 on Betfair (⭐⭐⭐⭐)
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