PAOK vs Xanthi
Competition: Greece Super League
Date: 22 April 2018
Kick-off: 18:00 CET
In the crazy world of Greek football, PAOK players are the biggest victims right now. They have played 25 games, and won 58 points. They lost 0-3 to Olympiakos on paper (a game that was never held), that’s final, and they’ve also lost 0-3 on paper to AEK, having three points deducted as well. This decision is still pending… final verification. On the field, PAOK players have won more points than anyone else this season, but they are very close to losing the championship title for things others did. Midweek they beat Panionios again, qualifying for the Cup final, where they will meet AEK, just like last season. At this point, all they can do is… wait. Keep winning, and wait for the judge’s final decision, see what happens – for good – with their game against AEK, which they should be winning 1-0 in the 89th minute, but never ended, because of the referee’s irrational decision to annul their goal, leading to the invasion of several people onto the pitch.
Xanthi’s 3-0 home triumph last weekend over PAS Giannina has them fifth in the table, three points ahead of Asteras Tripolis. If the season were over today, Xanthi would be earning a Europa League ticket. In the three matches left, anything can happen, the distance between them and Asteras (other teams as well) can be covered. Xanthi will be without injured center-back Christos Lisgaras in this game. Central midfielder Pablo de Lucas is also out, due to cards. If Xanthi lose this game, and Asteras win theirs, they will be level on points, but Xanthi will remain 5th, as they have the advantage in the two games against the Tripoli side. They drew 0-0 at home and 1-1 in Tripoli, with that away goal giving them an advantage.
Previous five matches:
PAOK vs Panionios 3-1
PAOK vs Panionios 3-1
Atromitos vs PAOK 0-2
PAOK vs AEK 0-3
Asteras Tripolis vs PAOK 3-2
Xanthi vs PAS Giannina 3-0
Panionios vs Xanthi 0-0
Xanthi vs Panetolikos 1-0
Atromitos vs Xanthi 1-0
Xanthi vs Apollon Smyrnis 2-0
PAOK’s next game is at Panathinaikos, next weekend. Xanthi will be hosting AEL Larissa (both Super League matches).
PAOK vs Xanthi: Head to head Stats
Two wins for PAOK, one for Xanthi, and two goalless draws, in the last five games between these two in Thessaloniki. Only PAOK’s wins went over 2.5 goals.
PAOK vs Xanthi: Prediction
As I wrote midweek before PAOK’s Cup match against Panionios, “PAOK, PAOK, PAOK…”
PAOK vs Xanthi: Betting Tips
A simple PAOK win pays just 1.17. Xanthi haven’t conceded in their last three games, but no team were even close to PAOK’s level. I’m backing the hosts to score enough to push the game “over 2.5” (1.62). The added risk of “over 3.5” is not small, but it pays 2.45, making it worth it.
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