Today’s free tip is in the Croatian Prva Liga encounter between Lokomotiva Zagreb and Varazdin.
I’ve given Lokomotiva Zagreb some shit this season, and rightly so too, as their ruse with parent club Dinamo Zagreb finally took a turn for the worse. Still, whether legitimately done or not, Lokomotiva Zagreb have finally done some good, even signing experienced Greek defender Papadopoulos recently. I appreciate he’s not been fit for ages, but he’s one hell of a defender on his day; far too good for this level. If boss Tomic can get the best out of him, then Lokomotiva Zagreb have made a brilliant signing. Well, at least until their big brothers Dinamo Zagreb come a-knocking and take him off their hands, which is the standard protocol for Croatian football.
It’s pure comedy gold that Lokomotiva Zagreb went to sign him in the first place though. I mean, the sole area of the team that Tomic can be very happy with is Lokomotiva Zagreb’s defence, which has looked good. They really have contained teams well this season; it’s goal-scoring that has been their bugbear, which is why it was hilarious when they signed Papadopoulos.
Lokomotiva Zagreb do have a good attack though. Well, that’s assuming they have access to a tardis. I mean, Jelavic was deadly once upon a time, as was Budimir. However, Jelavic is almost never fit nowadays, and Budimir has seen better days too. The general consensus in the Croatian media is that, with Gorica’s rise, Lokomotiva Zagreb are going to come sixth this season – and I agree with that notion completely. They could finish fifth, if Dinamo Zagreb loan them more players in the next window, but if not, sixth is more realistic. Don’t be fooled by that statement, though – they’ll be comfortably sixth in a Pink Floyd kind of way. Previously, the top five and bottom five of the Prva Liga were miles apart; now it’s the top six and the bottom four that are miles apart.
Subsequently, Lokomotiva Zagreb should be too good for Varazdin today; that’s my logic here. The risk is that they won’t score, of course. They are limited in that area, which is where the drifting odds come in. Where I disagree with the masses, however, is in that Lokomotiva Zagreb do have enough speed and creativity in midfield to force something to happen now, with or without their strikers. Varazdin are not a tremendous defensive outfit by any stretch of the imagination, and if the home team can cobble a goal together from somewhere, they really should be able to hold it. Varazdin don’t have much by way of quality, and their hosts have become seriously adept at containing teams now. The risk is whether they score or not, but based on what I saw prior to the international break, Sammir and co. can do enough to score tonight.
Varazdin can’t keep teams out, either. They do attack well enough in general, but they have zero capacity to control games, or to prevent opponents from getting at them. I guess they still retain a sense of when they used to be NK Varteks, a good attacking team in the Prva Liga, going back a lot of years now. This team shares that team’s spirit, but lacks its quality – and relatively high placement within the Prva Liga hierarchy. It’s hard to be optimistic about their chances in the Prva Liga this season when they perform as naively as they do though.
I mean, it looks nice, this attacking football they play. They’re happy to commit men forward in a kamikaze fashion, and it looks respectable, running teams like Rijeka and Dinamo Zagreb closer than they should – but they still lost. They have now lost their last two home games against Slaven Koprivnica and Sibenik too, both of which are bottom four teams like they are, which should set the alarm bells ringing. I mean, Slaven Koprivnica traditionally only do well at home anyway, and Sibenik – at least in terms of displays – are the worst side in the Prva Liga right now (although they do at least have scope to improve with time). It’s nice to run the top teams close, but that’s not what keeps teams from relegation. It’s their last two games against similar teams that should seriously concern Varazdin because they simply don’t look smart enough right now.
Lokomotiva Zagreb may be boring and predictable, but they’re smarter than Varazdin. I’d rather watch the visitors play because they’re fun, but I’d much rather trust the home team to do something because I understand what their approach is; I’ve no idea what Varazdin’s approach is, based on their displays. Therefore, I’ve got to trust in the logic and meticulous preparation of the capital club being enough to see them edge this game. If they can get their noses in front, that really should be enough for them to win, and at odds of 41/50, I’m happy to take that chance tonight.
Lokomotiva Zagreb to win at 41/50.
As ever, if there are any explanations required then please feel free to post a comment! For the remainder of my thoughts on today’s games, see below, although I feel compelled to write that the below are not necessarily my tips but merely my thoughts. For confidence ratings, you’ll need to go to the members section here.
Brazilian Serie A:
RB Bragantino vs Bahia
Croatian Prva Liga:
Lokomotiva Zagreb vs Varazdin
Sibenik vs Gorica
Czech Republic Liga 1:
Slovan Liberec vs Baumit Jablonec
Lyngby vs AC Horsens
French Ligue 1:
Stade Rennais vs Girondins de Bordeaux
AS Monaco vs Paris Saint-Germain
Italian Serie B:
Frosinone vs Cosenza
Spanish Primera Liga:
CA Osasuna vs Huesca
Swiss Challenge League:
Stade Lausanne-Ouchy vs FC Schaffhausen
Winterthur vs SC Kriens
Enjoy your free betting tips!