Three days off after dishing out a midweek Champions League thrashing in Belarus should be enough time for Barcelona to polish their scoring boots and hand out the usual punishment at Sporting Gijon this Sunday.
While BATE Borisov were left wrongfooted by another Catalan masterclass on Wednesday, it is Barcelona’s little hands that attracted the most comment in Spain. A little hand or Manita is what the Spanish call a 5-0 drubbing.
Remarkably, Wednesday’s win was Barcelona’s third by this same scoreline in seven Champions League and La Liga games this season.
Over the last 12 months Bareclona have taken an unbelievable eight little hands, so-called as fans, referees and journalists alike can keep track of the score with one hand’s five digits.
That does not bode well for this weekend’s opponents Sporting Gijon, who languish at the bottom of the Primera Liga table.
Sporting started the season badly and have got worse, suffering a 4-0 defeat at Atletico Madrid last weekend.
A possible injury-enforced absence of defensive stalwart Carlos Puyol is about the only thing going in the home side’s favour. In all likelihood it would probably also need Barca to take the field jet lagged and swigging bottles of Belarusian vodka for a 13/1 bet on the home win to pay off.
Barcelona are an absolute banker to win at 3/20, but the slim odds are unappealing. The European champions were held to a draw at Valencia after their previous Champions League midweek encoutner, and 13/2 on a tie is a fair outside bet should the long journey back from Belarus level some of the gaping gulf in class between the teams.
For those expecting a comfortable Barcelona win, the first goalscorer and full-time score markets are perhaps the most tempting. Leo Messi needs one more goal to become Barcelona’s second highest goalscorer of all time and is priced at 7/4 to open the scoring on Sunday.
Better value might be offered by Cesc Fabregas’s 11/2 first goalscorer odds. The former Arsenal man has scored in both away La Liga fixtures since his return to the club.
Barcelona’s record of little hands provides a further reminder that when one or two are scored, more Barcelona goals often follow as a matter of course. The final score market at bwin.com only lists specific scorelines with both teams scoring four goals or less, so a bet on the ‘any other score’ category at 4/1 pays off if another five or more are fired by the champions past Gijon.
A successful £25 free bet on ‘any other score’ in the full-time score market would return £125. The £25 free bet is available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
Alternatively, football betting fans expecting Barcelona to administer another thrashing might want to take odds of 18/5 on the Catalans winning either 4-0, 5-0 or 6-0
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