Watch out for a Raikkonen renaissance at the Belgian Grand Prix

It has been a difficult season for him, but the Hungarian Grand Prix showed some light at the end of the tunnel for Kimi Raikkonen. Since rejoining Ferrari at the start of the season, he has finished inside the points seven times, but the race at the Hungaroring was the first time he had finished inside the top six. He is also yet to finish ahead of team mate Fernando Alonso in a race.

He currently sits 12th in the championship which, if the season finished today, would be his worst drivers’ championship finish ever. This includes his maiden Formula One season back in 2001 for Sauber which he ended tenth, before which he had only a season of car racing experience (Max Verstappen, take note).

The crash at Silverstone might have grabbed the headlines but it is Raikkonen’s consistent lack of performance which is notable. It is as if old habits have returned. Kimi’s F1 career is of course split into two distinct parts, before and after his two-year break to try his hand at rallying. But even within those two sections, it is almost as if there have been two drivers taking his place.

 

Belgian Grand Prix betting odds:

Lewis Hamilton -143

Nico Rosberg +160

Daniel Ricciardo +1600

(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

At McLaren between 2002 and 2006, Raikkonen was regarded as one of the fastest drivers ever, and was only robbed of the 2005 championship by an incredibly unreliable car. But after moving to Ferrari, his performances became erratic. Even in winning the championship in 2007, he was unconvincing, with team mate Felipe Massa, previously (and since) regarded as an unremarkable driver, proving a match over their two-and-a-half years as team mates.

Throughout his time at Ferrari, speculation was rampant that he had lost motivation, perhaps encouraged by his typically Finnish approach to dealing with the media (i.e. barely) and alcohol (i.e. drinking lots of it). When it was announced he was being replaced by Fernando Alonso at the team, it was widely believed that he was being paid to leave and do something else, such as flinging Citroens between and into trees.

Which leads to one theory doing the rounds this year – that Raikkonen’s return to F1 in 2012 with Lotus was primarily motivated by money. This shouldn’t really be a shock, but there’s more to it: basically that after Kimi’s Ferrari pay-off finished, he needed to replace that source of income, so he needed to return to F1 with the purpose of getting back into Ferrari, after which he could go back to not caring. Thus, it would explain his exceptional first two seasons at Lotus and his sudden drop-off in performance this year.

But to be honest, this all seems a bit too cynical. To assume that Raikkonen had the next three years mapped out when he returned ignores the reality of the situation. Lotus ran out of money last year, to the point where Kimi wasn’t even being paid on time, and if you’re a former world champion who has finished third and fifth in the last two championships, you have enough market value to avoid this. The fact that Lotus have continued to tail off dramatically this season suggests he made the correct call to leave.

 

However, rejoining Ferrari might not have been the most sensible move, even if it made sense at the time. Yes, he was rejoining the team with whom he won the championship, but he was never entirely comfortable there, and he was to be driving alongside Fernando Alonso, probably the fastest and most consistent driver in F1 who has outperformed his team mates and machinery year in year out for a decade.

Before the start of the 2014 season, there were forecasts of tension and bust-ups as the two former champions battled for victory. There has been none of this, mainly because Kimi hasn’t got close enough to create any tension – not only has he been way behind his team mate, but Ferrari have had their worst season for over twenty years, with Alonso doing a remarkable job in putting himself fourth in the standings.

But the Belgian Grand Prix provides a massive opportunity for Raikkonen to kick on, as it is with Spa-Francorchamps that he has his best relationship within the sport. He won here for McLaren in 2004 and 2005, Ferrari in 2007 and 2009, and came close to a win in 2008 but for a mistake while battling Lewis Hamilton on a damp track. He also finished third here in 2012.

If there are races missing here, it’s because they either weren’t held (2003, 2006) or because he retired due to mechanical problems (2001, 2002, 2013). In short: the guy’s quick here.

 

Spa is one of the most unorthodox circuits on the calendar, with its high-speed sweeping corners that would never be allowed today and its erratic, unpredictable climate. The races here are often amongst the most exciting of the season, although it’s going to have to be a special one this year to compete with Bahrain and Hungary.

Theoretically Mercedes should once again have the advantage in pace, and 2010 Spa winner Lewis Hamilton will begin as favourite, but the teams behind are closing, and as we saw in Hungary, they will be on the defensive if it starts to rain.

Raikkonen’s expertise here will be an enormous help to Ferrari, who sit third in the constructors’ championship (albeit mostly due to Alonso’s contributions) but are rapidly being caught by Williams, who have emerged as Mercedes’ closest challengers in the dry. Ferrari haven’t gone a season without a win since 1993, when Jean Todt arrived to kick-start the transformation of the team into world-beaters once again.

 

There are rumours of driver changes for next season or beyond, including the possible arrival of Sebastian Vettel, but in the medium-term, it seems as if the team’s decline could only be stemmed by the arrival of another Todt to transform the way the team is run into a more efficient unit.

However, that won’t happen overnight. In the short-term, this may be their best opportunity for a victory for the rest of the season, and it’s certainly Raikkonen’s best shot of some silverware.

 

Betting Instinct tip – Kimi Raikkonen to finish on the podium this weekend is +1400 with AllYouBet.ag

 

Sports blogger JamesJAMES BENNETT is a History MPhil/PhD student, who writes about soccer, Formula 1 and the NFL in his spare time to pay for his studies. He is also a Torquay United fan. He publishes articles in his sports blog, and you can follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Rosberg and Mercedes look to make history at Hockenheim

After retiring from the British Grand Prix, Nico Rosberg needs a strong result at his home race

Not since 1954 has a German car won a Formula One World Championship German Grand Prix. German drivers have won it – Michael and Ralf Schumacher, and last year’s winner Sebastian Vettel – and cars with German-badged engines have also won, but you have to look back to Juan Manuel Fangio’s win for Mercedes at the old Nurburgring Nordschliefe, once the most feared circuit in the world, to see a German car take the chequered flag. A German driver in a German car? You have to look back to the pre-war era, when German manufacturers Mercedes and Auto Union (the forerunner of Audi) were the dominant forces and employed drivers like Rudolf Caracciola, Bernd Rosemeyer and Hans Stuck Sr.

So no pressure on Nico Rosberg then. He might not necessarily be the most authentic German ever – his father is Finnish and he was brought up in Monaco – but he drives with the German flag on the side of his car, and that is all the records will show if he wins the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim this weekend.

And boy how he needs it. At the British Grand Prix, he looked all set to tighten his grip on the championship. After qualifying on pole with Lewis Hamilton losing out on a drying track, he led the race ahead of his team mate, only to suffer his first mechanical failure of the season. With Hamilton winning the race, Rosberg’s lead in the standings was slashed from 29 points to just four – had his car held out, it would probably have been 36.

 

German Grand Prix Betting Odds:

Lewis Hamilton -167

Nico Rosberg +180

Valtteri Bottas +1600

(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

Rosberg has now lost the momentum he had been building. In the previous three races, he had finished ahead of Hamilton and looked to be getting the better of his team mate, who was known to be faster but also more likely to make errors. Rosberg was always likely to have to rely on reliability and consistency to win the championship, so to lose 25 points to Hamilton at this stage was an enormous blow, as it puts the 2008 champion within striking distance once again – a win for the Brit here will see him take the championship lead.

 

Adding to the pressure, Rosberg’s record at the German Grand Prix is underwhelming. Since joining Mercedes in 2010, his best finish at the race, which is rotated between Hockenheim and the truncated Nurburgring, is seventh in 2011. In the last race at Hockenheim in 2012, he finished tenth, and last year at the Nurburgring he finished ninth.

It is a surprisingly poor record considering he spent the bulk of his junior career racing in Germany – he won the German Formula BMW series in 2002, followed by two years in the German-centric Formula Three Euro Series, during which time he won two races at Hockenheim. He even won at the circuit during his GP2 championship-winning season. So is it all just down to bad luck or poor machinery?

 

Hamilton, on the other hand, is a former winner at the circuit in F1, having taken a dramatic victory in 2008, carving his way through after a late safety car jumbled the field. However, this is the only time he has even finished on the podium at Hockenheim. In 2012, he retired after his 100th grand prix was ruined by an early puncture. However, he did also win the 2011 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring for McLaren.

The last two German Grands Prix at Hockenheim have been won by Fernando Alonso for Ferrari. The 2010 race was particularly memorable for the use of team orders, with the infamous “Fernando is faster than you” hint to his team mate Felipe Massa. But while Ferrari are off the pace and Alonso is unlikely to extend his winning run at the circuit, Massa may be a dark horse. Williams have shown improved pace in recent races, with Massa taking pole ahead of team mate Valtteri Bottas at the Spielberg circuit in Austria, a similar Hermann Tilke-designed circuit to Hockenheim, while Bottas charged through the field at Silverstone to finish second.

How sweet would it be if four years after being asked to concede a victory to his team mate, Massa ended his victory drought, which stretches back to the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix. Williams too have not tasted success much in recent years, with just one win since the end of 2004, and Bottas is yet to win, so any win for one of the team’s drivers would be popular and emotional. And yet they may be the nearest challengers to the dominant Silver Arrows.

 

As for home favourite Sebastian Vettel, it seems unlikely that he will mount a challenge. Instead, he will just be hoping for a change of luck – and to beat his team mate for once. Amazingly, Vettel is yet to beat his team mate Daniel Ricciardo in a race where both drivers finish, and only picked up a better result than the Australia in Malaysia, where Ricciardo failed to finish. Part of this is down to unreliability, but Vettel also simply hasn’t been as consistent as the youngster, and few would deny that the 28-point lead he has isn’t representative.

Vettel, like Rosberg, has a very patchy record on home soil, his win at the Nurburgring last year ending a poor run of results. The last time he came to Hockenheim, he was penalised by driving off the track while overtaking Jenson Button, dropping him from second to fifth, leaving his best result at the circuit as the third place finish in 2010. Surely it is unlikely that he will finish any higher than that on Sunday.

Instead, the attention at home will be focusing on Rosberg. His father Keke won the world championship via stealth in 1982, winning only one race all season. Nico has employed similar tactics this season, but he has to win races too if he is going to defeat his team mate. Hockenheim is as good a place as any to start.

 

Betting Instinct tip – Nico Rosberg to win the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship is +130 with AllYouBet.ag, and a win this weekend would put him in a great spot to do so.

Unfamiliar with American-style betting odds? Learn how to convert them to decimal or fractional odds with our handy guide

 

Sports blogger JamesJAMES BENNETT (James) is a History MPhil/PhD student, who writes about soccer, Formula 1 and the NFL in his spare time to pay for his studies. He is also a Torquay United fan. He publishes articles in his sports blog, and you can follow him on Twitter and Google+.

Slomka may be Hamburg’s saviour

When a free kick from near the halfway line flies into the top corner of your opponent’s net, you just know that your luck may well have turned. It was a rare experience of joy for Bundesliga outfit Hamburg and their fans last weekend when they sent mighty Borussia Dortmund home with a 3-0 defeat in their suitcase.

The final scoreline may indeed have flattered the hosts on new coach Mirko Slomka’s debut on the Hamburg bank, but nobody at the club was worrying about that as a dreadful run of seven successive league defeats came to an end. Suddenly the club, that has achieved the unique feat of playing every single season in the Bundesliga since its conception in 1963, is buzzing again and fans around the globe are hoping that Slomka will be the man to lead them away from the dreaded drop zone. Saturday sees the Rothosen travel to local rivals Werder Bremen in what is a crucial clash for both teams.

Bremen too have been struggling mightily this term and are currently just four points clear of an automatic relegation spot. Coach Robin Dutt, who joined the club last summer, hails from the far south-west of Germany and somehow has never seemed to fit in at this northern former powerhouse. Bremen’s fans to their great credit have stuck by their team and the coaching staff through abysmal performances this season, but a home defeat against their hated rivals this weekend could well change all that. Hamburg travel to the Weser Stadium buoyed by their win over Dortmund and with “saviour Slomka” at the helm, who knows where their journey might yet take them…?

Werder Bremen vs. Hamburg, Odds

Werder Bremen                               2.6
Draw                                                     3.4
Hamburg                                             2.5

Odds provided by www.intertops.eu are correct as of today, but subject to change.

 

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chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.

Fulham hoping for Magath magic

Fulham hoping for Magath magic

Felix Magath

Calm and sophisticated away from the pitch, Felix Magath is well-known for his temper on the sidelines

After picking up just 20 points from 26 games so far, club bosses at Fulham have turned to German manager Felix Magath to steer the west London club out of its crisis and out of the Premiership relegation zone. The 60-year-old former Germany international star has a CV full of success both as a player and a manager and has hardly ever been out of the Bundesliga headlines in recent seasons. Magath built a reputation early in his career of being the man to save struggling clubs from the drop, although his success often proved of a short-term nature. Championship title challenges with a very young team in Stuttgart from 2001 – 2004 earned him the chance to take over the reins at Bayern Munich where he led the club to two consecutive league and cup doubles. Perhaps Magath’s greatest achievement, however, was leading underdog VfL Wolfsburg to the Bundesliga title in 2009 after which he promptly left the club to take over at Schalke.

Always calm and sophisticated away from the pitch, Magath is well-known for his temper on the sidelines that has seen him clash with both officials and his own players over the years. He has nurtured a fearful reputation as a tough disciplinarian who is not afraid to drop star players from crucial games if he feels they are not prepared to give 100 percent to the job in hand. Fulham fans can look forward to their first taste of their new boss on the road at fellow strugglers West Bromwich on Saturday.

West Bromwich Albion vs. Fulham, Odds:

West Bromwich Albion                  1.7
Draw                                                     3.6
Fulham                                                 4.75

Fulham to be relegated:               1.36

(All odds provided by www.allyoubet.ag are accurate as of today, but subject to change)

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chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.

No need for hype as two #1 seeds clash at Super Bowl XLVIII

NFL fans across the globe can look forward to a Super Bowl clash between the two number 1 seeds, Denver and Seattle.

NFL fans across the globe can look forward to a Super Bowl clash between the two number 1 seeds, Denver and Seattle.

The biggest single sporting attraction in US sport need no extra hype this time around, as for just the second time in the last twenty years NFL fans across the globe can look forward to a Super Bowl clash between the two number 1 seeds. Both Denver and Seattle have dominated their conferences all season long, were rewarded as such with home games in the playoffs and are now ready to battle it out at Super Bowl XLVIII. It should be a fascinating contest between the best offense and the best defense in the league, as well as between veteran superstar quarterback Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson, a young man who has the potential to emulate him in the future.

Two years after returning to action after major neck surgery, 37-year-old Manning continued his amazing season piling up 400 passing yards against the Patriots on Sunday. After winning his duel with age-long Tom Brady, he now wants to secure his second Super Bowl ring after 2007 (with Indianapolis) by picking apart a ferocious Seattle defense which allowed just 231 points in 16 regular season outings. Winning a Super Bowl against Manning would be yet another amazing landmark in the meteoric rise to fame of 25-year-old Wilson. In just his second year as starter, he has put in performances way beyond his years, keeping his team at the very forefront of the NFC Conference race and has now been rewarded with a matchup against a legend.

Oddmakers slightly favour Denver in early markets, with the Manning-factor likely to play a major role in their thoughts, but a lot can happen in the two weeks until the big game and one thing is for sure, Wilson and his teammates have the self-belief that could lead to a first ever Super Bowl title for the Seahawks!

Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos: Super Bowl XLVIII Odds

Seahawks 2.10
Broncos 1.77

(Odds supplied by www.intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

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chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.

Everything at stake in the NFC South

showdown between the Panthers and the Saints that will go a long way to determining both franchises destiny this season

This weekend’s showdown between the Panthers and the Saints will go a long way to determining both franchises’ destiny this season.

There are just two weekends of action left in the NFL Regular Season and fans across North America will be glued to their seats over the festive period as the playoff berths are decided. This Sunday’s Week 16 action is highlighted by the NFC South.

Two weeks ago this pair met in the Big Easy, with the hosts New Orleans running away to a comfortable 31-13 victory. The division title then looked the Saints’ to take, but last week’s surprise loss at St. Louis, coupled with a Carolina win over the Jets, means that we are all square again at 10-4 going into this weekend. Cam Newton and the Panthers will now be fancying their chances of taking a massive step towards title glory in front of their own fans. Whilst the Saints have proven to be fragile on the road (four losses in their last five away trips is hardly championship-winning form), the hosts have won eight straight at their Bank of America Stadium by an impressive average of 18.7 points. So it’s all to play for with the winner taking the NFC South crown and the loser having to wait until Week 17 to discover its postseason destiny.

New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers Betting Odds

Saints                    2.45
Panthers              1.61

(All odds provided by www.allyoubet.ag are current as of today, but subject to change)

Broncos unbeatable at home

Brocos vs Chargers

Quarterback superstar Peyton Manning and his boys welcome AFC West rival San Diego Chargers to Mile High Stadium tonight.

We’re into Week 15 of the NFL season and slowly but surely we have reached the crunch games as far as the playoff picture is concerned. One team certain to play a prominent role in the postseason are the Broncos and it is Mile High Stadium in Denver that plays host to the weekend’s opener on Thursday. Quarterback superstar Peyton Manning and his boys welcome AFC West rival San Diego confident of putting up another impressive showing to add to their Conference-best 11-2 record.

The Broncs have bounced back from a tough overtime loss at New England in Week 12 by beating both the Chiefs and the Titans in the last two weeks. Manning has led the way in style throwing nine TDs in those two games and he will be looking forward to facing a Chargers’ defense that he dissected with ease in a 28-20 road win at San Diego in Week 10.

For the visitors, Thursday’s game could yet prove to be the key to their faint playoff hopes. Their 6-7 record currently sees them sitting in eighth place in the AFC, but a win at the mighty Broncos would prove such a confidence-booster that anything could still be possible. All that being said, the hosts have a perfect 7-0 record in front of their own fans and they don’t have intention of putting a blemish on that…!

Betting Odds:  NFL Week 15 Thursday Night Game

San Diego Chargers         5.10

Denver Broncos                1.18

(Odds provided by AllYouBet Sportsbook are current as of today, but subject to change.)

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chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.

Hawks flying higher?

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks travel to San Francisco hoping to underline their dominance in the NFC West

What a week for the Seattle Seahawks – Monday saw their fans make the earth tremor whilst the team caused an earthquake on the field by running all over another potential NFC title contender New Orleans, this weekend they travel to San Francisco hoping to underline their dominance in the NFC West. Another win for the 11-1 Hawks would not only see them land a franchise-record sixth road win of the season, but would also clinch the NFC West crown and first round playoff bye – and all that right under the noses of their fiercest rivals!

It is hard to see any weaknesses in coach Pete Carroll’s team after a near perfect season so far, but four consecutive road defeats at Candlestick Park will be very much on the minds of both teams as they go into the game. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his 8-4 Niners may not have rediscovered the irresistible form that took them to the Super Bowl in February, but they go into Week 14 holding a one-game lead in the race to the NFC’s final wild-card spot and will be doubly motivated to avenge their humiliating 29-3 loss at Seattle on September 15th. It’s the first time in a while that the team with the league’s best record starts a game as the bookies’ underdog, but can the 49ers live up to expectations?

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers Betting Odds

Seahawks            2.25

49ers                     1.65

(Odds obtained from AllYouBet.ag, subject to change)

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chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.

Battle for second in the Bundesliga

Matchday 15 of the German Bundesliga season sees league leader Bayern Munich confident of stretching its amazing 36-game unbeaten streak at struggling Werder Bremen on Saturday. The hosts have one of the weakest defensive lines in the league and are unlikely to stop Bayern’s amazing forward firepower. Over 3.5 goals in this one (1.95 at Intertops) could be a distinct possibility.

The top Bundesliga game this weekend features the battle for second place in the table when Borussia Dortmund entertains Bayer Leverkusen at the Signal Iduna Park stadium. Both teams picked up away wins in the DFB Cup in midweek and go into the encounter full of confidence. A full house of 80,000 will guarantee an amazing atmosphere, but home coach Jurgen Klopp has to overcome the injury-forced absence of several top players to gain a three-point haul and retake second place from Bayer. Three of the Bundesliga’s most prolific goalscorers will also be on show with Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski (11 goals) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (8) looking to outshine Leverkusen’s Stefan Kießling (9).

After six wins in seven home games (the only loss coming against Bayern), Dortmund is the bookies’ favourite to triumph, but Leverkusen has won four of six on the road this season and could pull off a surprise.

Borussia Dortmund v Bayer Leverkusen Betting Odds

Borussia Dortmund         1.53

Draw     4.10

Bayer Leverkusen            5.50

(Odds obtained from AllYouBet.ag, subject to change.)

 

 

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chrisives-50CHRIS I. (tipsterchris) is a European sports blogger who’s hooked on football — both NFL American football and European football.  Chris discusses betting tips and trends and includes betting odds in his regular posts at BI.

 

History suggests a home win but can Lyon defeat Toulouse tonight?

Clément Grenier opens the scoring in Lyon's 3-1 home win over Toulouse last season.

Clément Grenier opens the scoring in Lyon’s 3-1 home win over Toulouse last season.

Lyon v Toulouse brings the 16th round of Ligue 1 football to a close this evening at the Stade de Gerland with Toulouse looking to bring an eight year run of either home wins or the sides sharing the spoils to an end and after ending their own losing streak at the weekend they will be full of confidence this evening. Both teams have had poor starts to the season as they sit 13th and 14th in the league, with just Lyon’s four more goals scored separating the teams, so will this confidence be the deciding factor this evening? GR88.com do not think so as they favour another home win for Lyon and their match odds shape up as follows:

Lyon v Toulouse Betting Odds:

Lyon to win – 1.83

Draw – 3.10

Toulouse to win – 4.10

(Odds provided by GR88.com are current as of today but subject to change.)

Last season saw Lyon record an impressive 3rd place in the league to equal their best league finish in three seasons and secure a place in the Champions League, but defeat to Real Sociedad without a goal scored in the playoff round and sitting in the bottom half of the league at almost the halfway stage of the season has seen things fail to go to plan for the seven time Ligue 1 champions. They have slightly redeemed themselves by booking a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League, despite some subpar performances, and victory this evening could see them move as high as ninth in Ligue 1 which is a place higher than they started this round of matches. They need to bounce back quickly after a 4-0 beating at the hands of the league leaders PSG at the weekend and with them unbeaten in nine at home, including three wins and three clean sheets in their last four home games, they will fancy their chances of doing so and continuing this eight home unbeaten run for both themselves and Toulouse in meetings between the teams.

While Toulouse secured all three points at the weekend with a heavy 5-1 win over bottom of the table Sochaux, but they have been much better in front of their own fans this season as they have taken three of their five wins at home with 12 of their 19 points collected on home soil. Away from home they have been beaten in both of their last two matches with 16th position Evian taking a 2-1 win before title challengers Lille won 1-0 and Toulouse are now five weeks without a win away from home. That win came against Créteil, currently mid-table in the second tier of French football, in the Coupe de la Ligue and they have beaten only Reims on their travels in Ligue 1 action since the end of September, losing all of the other three matches. Toulouse know they must chance this if they are to avoid being sucked into a relegation battle, but can they upset the betting odds and history to take all three points this evening?

With the way that Lyon have secured points at home in their nine game unbeaten run and, after drawing four of the first five of those matches, they have started to win games, and do so while keeping clean sheets, I feel that Toulouse are going to continue to have a tough time of things away at the Stade de Gerland. The visitors this evening do not have a great away record this season and with the weight of history on their shoulders adding to the pressure of both sides desperate to move up from their bottom half of the table positions I can see only one victor in this Lyon v Toulouse clash tonight.

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AntonyANTONY JORDAN (antonygr88) is an avid football and cricket fan who loves to play his favourite sports as much as write about them and bet on them.  Read his daily sports betting blog.