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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Simeone’s boys are starting to get their act together at last

Mark's best bets of the day

Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann
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Atletico Madrid v Real Sociedad 3.15pm Saturday
November proved to be a much better month for Atletico Madrid after a shaky start and they can begin December in the best possible fashion with a comfortable home victory over Real Sociedad.

Atletico's 1-1 draw with Qarabag in October was a shocking result, one which almost certainly eliminated them from the Champions League, but things have looked up since Thomas Partey's last-gasp goal earned them a 1-0 win over Deportivo.

A stalemate with Real Madrid followed before Diego Simeone's side began to turn on the style, deservedly beating Roma 2-0, Levante 5-0 and Elche 3-0. In those three matches Atletico forced 30 shots on target and conceded just three.

Antoine Griezmann has been central to their upturn in fortunes.

Jeered by his own supporters following his insipid display in the derby with Real, Griezmann scored a sensational goal against Roma and the former Sociedad man was much more like his usual self in the demolition job on Levante.

Sociedad were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by lower-league Lleida Esportiu on Wednesday but the 2-2 draw with Las Palmas last week was perhaps even more concerning as arguably La Liga's weakest side were made to look dangerous.

The visitors have won just two of their last ten league fixtures and Sociedad's only away clean sheet came against rock-bottom Alaves.

Atletico Madrid -1 on Asian handicap
2pts 28-29 188Bet

Bet on this game at

Rennes v Amiens 7pm Saturday
Two in-form teams meet in Brittany but Rennes look more capable of sustaining their excellent run of recent results and they are worth backing at odds-against at home to Amiens.

The prices suggest there is little between the teams and on the surface that is correct. They both have 21 points and a goal difference of zero, while Rennes have won five of their last six league games and Amiens are unbeaten in eight.

However, Amiens are defying logic to sit in the comforts of mid-table despite possessing the worst shots-on-target ratio (share of total match shots on target) in Ligue 1 with a 0.32 figure and their shot ratio is also the worst at 0.39.

Rennes are defensively sound and with Wahbi Khazri working his magic they should be able to land a fourth straight home success.

1pt 21-20 Hills

Bet on this game at

Forest Green v Exeter 3pm Saturday
Exeter have already won convincingly at Forest Green once this season in Sky Bet League Two and should be capable of repeating the trick in the second round of the FA Cup.

The Grecians led 3-0 inside an hour on their previous trip to the New Lawn before settling for a 3-1 success and, while Forest Green seem slightly more comfortable these days than they were in September, the Football League new boys remain suspect in defence.

Forest Green have conceded 39 goals in 20 league games and are 16 points behind Exeter in the standings.

1pt 7-5 Betway, Hills

Bet on this game at

Plays of the day

Luton 7-10
The League Two table-toppers picked a strong side in the last round to beat Portsmouth and should have the firepower to see off mid-table National League hosts Gateshead.

Coventry 4-7
Visiting Boreham Wood are unbeaten in 12 games with three clean sheets in their last four and Coventry could be vulnerable without the injured Jodi Jones, one of their key attackers.

Atletico Madrid 4-7, Luton 7-10, Inter 4-9, Peterborough 4-7 Hills

Both teams to score
Games at Southend 13-19, Stevenage 13-19, Sampdoria 8-15 188Bet

Thought for the week

Everton's confused summer spending spree - Davy Klaassen, one of the many number tens signed in the transfer window, has not featured in the Premier League since September 23 - was clearly evident in their search for a manager to replace Ronald Koeman.

Marco Silva was identified as the main target and it was reported that their second choice was another Portuguese boss in Paulo Fonseca, who was rubbished by former Toffee Alan Stubbs on Talksport 2 when he said: "What does he know about Everton?" as if that would have made any kind of difference to his Goodison tenure. 

Silva and Fonseca have a clear idea of how their teams want to play but Watford and Shakhtar refused to release their managers and Everton ended up with Sam Allardyce, who "knows Everton" but is totally different in style to the other candidates.

Big Sam may well do a decent job at Goodison but you would have to worry about the long-term planning at Everton when even their managerial shortlist seems so confused about what they actually want.

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Antoine Griezmann has been central to their upturn in fortunes. He scored a superb goal against Roma and was more like his usual self against Levante
E.W. Terms
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