Right, let’s get back to basics, shall we? After Sunderland failed to find the net against a Southampton side that had conceded 15 goals in their prior seven games, we had something of a hissy fit.
But this is football, this is betting, and we know that occasionally the path to true love never quite runs smooth; a fitting metaphor for Valentine’s Day.
And in another suitable analogy for this romantic of days, let’s get back in the saddle and look to make our mark. We go again with this strong-looking bunch of selections:
Bet 1: Bastia vs Monaco: Monaco Double Chance – £10 at 1/7
Friday February 17, 19:45
Monaco have lost once since October 15, and that was against the occasionally-excellent Lyon. They have won 11 of their last 14 Ligue 1 encounters, and bludgeoned a hugely impressive 75 goals in just 25 games. They can outscore anybody; and who better than relegation-threatened Bastia on Friday?
The hosts have 5/25 games this season and 3/12 on home soil, and their current form – no win in six – would suggest they are on a bit of a hiding to nothing here. A 1-4 loss to Toulouse last time out confirms the fact.
Bet 2: Burnley vs Lincoln City: Burnley to Qualify – £11.43 at 1/7
Saturday February 18, 12:30
The magic of the FA Cup is alive and well in Lincoln, and the Imps are an excellent side at home. But, and forgive us here because we are old romantics as far as the cup is concerned, they have benefited from some nice home draws against sides with more pressing league concerns in mind.
Lincoln are less effective on their travels – W9 D1 L4 and a goal difference of +7 isn’t all that from the National League’s leaders, and the key factor here is just how good Burnley are at home: only Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal have taken more Premier League points on home soil than the Clarets.
Safe from the spectre of relegation, Sean Dyche will eye an opportunity in this FA Cup and that will start with victory here.
Bet 3: Middlesbrough vs Oxford United: Under 4.5 Goals – £13.06 at 1/8
Saturday February 18, 15:00
Middlesbrough are pragmatic at the best of times, as a return of just 9/25 Premier League matches witnessing Over 2.5 Goals testifies. They will be even more conservative here with a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals up for grabs, and wary of the threat of a capable Oxford side.
Only 5/13 Oxford United matches have delivered Over 2.5 Goals of late, and 27/29 have satisfied this Under 4.5 mark (the Boro are at 25/25!). A goal-laden cup classic then? Not on your nelly.
Bet 4: Pescara vs Genoa: Genoa Over 0.5 Goals – £14.69 at 1/5
Sunday February 19, 14:00
No matter how bad things get for the football club you love, you can always console yourself that at least you don’t support Pescara (unless you do; apologies for that!).
They last won a game on August 28, have lost 14 of their last 16 Serie A outings and conceded 39 goals in their last 13 matches, which breaks down to 22 in their last six and eleven in their last two. Bad times indeed.
Genoa are no great shakes, it must be said, but this is a side that has scored three goals in a game against Juventus, Fiorentina and AC Milan this term, so they should be able to breach this rather flimsy Pescara backline. You’d certainly hope so anyway!