I mentioned at the start of the Eerste Klasse season that Standard were having problems with strikers and how it won't be worth touching them until they sign some. Well, they finally did and it's former Racing Santander striker Mame Tchite that has convinced me to take this bet today. No, he's obviously not called me and told me the game is fixed but four goals in six games for him shows he's too good for this division and that Standard are finally a threat in front of goal again. Standard's overall quality was never in question; it was just their ability to take their chances that concerned me. The midfield duo of Witsel and Defour is arguably the best in Belgium so I've no concerns there. It's interesting to see how well youngster Carcela-Gonzalez has blended into that midfield too with all three players contributing to the Standard goalsheet this season. Standard's attacking duo is still far from certain with a whole host of different players having featured this season i.e. Pieroni, Tchite, Bokanga, Cyriac, Nong etc. so I'm a bit concerned on that front; Standard need a settled duo to launch a legitimate Eerste Klasse title challenge. Standard's defence is still far from settled and indeed, how can it be with their continual choice to field samba Brazilian defenders Felipe and Ramos?! Nonetheless, they contribute to Standard's attacking play well enough and as a result, Standard are very much a goal threat this season, which removes the largest concern I have about them. They miss number one Bolat for this game through suspension, which is a blow as he's a bloody good 'keeper, but I'm banking on Standard to do the damage today by outscoring their opponents so that's what I'm focusing on today.
I also like this bet because I think Gent's form is a tad flattering. To beat sides always deserves respect but I don't think they're playing as well as the statistics suggest with fortune supporting them more than quality on occasion. They've just come back from a 5-1 drubbing in Portugal against a frankly impotent Sporting Clube de Lisboa side so they're going to have taken a knock or two mentally. They lost 3-2 at a potent Club Brugge side in their last Eerste Klasse away game and indeed, they've struggled all season long on the road. The only way they win their away games is by outscoring their opponents, which sounds obvious but what I mean is that they simply cannot defend on the road! They've conceded for seven consecutive away games in all competitions and have leaked sixteen goals in their past five games, which is an average of over three goals conceded per away game - it's just not good enough, especially when you consider that five of those goals were against Lierse SK and Lokeren respectively. I have no faults with Gent's attack - pacey Ljubljankic, strong Coulibaly, and under-performing but very able Arbeitman are all good attackers - but their defence is very susceptible and if they come to Liege playing an open game then they're going to be blown apart.
I maintain that Gent haven't played well lately as European committments catch up with them whereas their more illustrious hosts have had plenty of time to prepare for this encounter. They've played well lately, winning three out of their last four games with the only side to puncture that record being Racing Genk in a 4-2 defeat, which is somewhat respectable, really. Don't be mistaken here - Standard are not the same side currently that they were under Bologni a few years ago when they had Fellaini, Jovanovic etc. but they're still a good side and I don't think that is shown enough in the odds on the home win. Liege are going to take the game to a possibly tired Gent side today and if this game is open then Liege should win it easily. I expect a lot of goals here but Liege winning at evens represents far too much value in my opinion!
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