Xanthi vs Panetolikos
Competition: Greek Super League
Date: 5 April 2017
Kick-off: 14:00 CET
Xanthi missed a golden opportunity to leave Giannina with all three points last weekend. They took the lead early in the second half, but they got equalized in added time. A day later, AEK lost to Panathinaikos, which means that if Xanthi had not conceded that last-minute goal, now they would have the same points as AEK and they would be sharing the all too precious fifth spot. Experienced players Lisgaras and Baxevanidis will be missing from Xanthi’s defense and midfield respectively (the former got sent-off in the end of the game at Giannina, the latter reached the cards limit). On the other hand, striker Soltani, who got injured and substituted at Giannina, was further examined by Xanthi’s medical team on Monday, and it looks that his problem is not really serious. The inclusion of Younes in the starting lineup, Xanthi’s most influential player this season, is an enigma. The Tunisian reacted in an inappropriate manner when he got substituted at Giannina, and, even though he did apologize later, it remains to be seen if coach Lucescu will play him, or leave him aside, something though that at this point of the season, looks like a ‘luxury’ the Romanian coach and Xanthi in general cannot afford.
Panetolikos have lost motive for a few weeks now, not aiming at something big, but not being threatened with relegation either, so, as I expected, they didn’t exactly mind the 1-1 home draw last weekend against Asteras Tripolis. Midfielder Migas is injured, attacker Muñoz has reached the cards limit, but another striker, Clesio, is back, plus, Spanish attacking midfielder Alvaro Rey, who was signed during the winter transfer window, continued his good displays against Asteras, scored a beautiful goal, his second for Panetolikos, and that’s good news for the visitors. Rey is without doubt the most interesting player to watch these days at Panetolikos.
Xanthi vs Panetolikos: Head-to-head Stats
Xanthi have beaten Panetolikos in style the last three times they hosted them, 3-1, 3-0, and again 3-1.
Xanthi vs Panetolikos: Prediction
Xanthi have a better team and a far bigger motive to win this game. Plus, they are playing at home. If these three factors don’t make them big favourites to take all three points, I don’t know what else could.
Xanthi vs Panetolikos: Tips
Xanthi’s win pays just 1.42. Panetolikos haven’t scored in their last five away games, so backing Xanthi to win and keep a clean sheet makes sense (despite the two goals Xanthi conceded at home against Levadiakos), and pays 1.90 (Levadiakos had a huge motive to score and win that day, Panetolikos seem to struggle to find a reason to give their all). The number of goals depends heavily on whether Lucescu will play Younes or not, so despite scoring a total of nine goals last three times they hosted Panetolikos, in this particular case I’d stick to a win with a clean sheet.