Hack the weekend: LaLiga2 leader Eibar in crisis and tricky situation in Argentina

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Hack the weekend: LaLiga2 leader Eibar in crisis and tricky situation in Argentina
Eibar's goalie Luca Zidane after conceding a goal
Eibar's goalie Luca Zidane after conceding a goal
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Who will win the big game? Well, that is the key question that sports fans and pundits around the world ask themselves daily. Most of the time, however, they are guided more by feelings and impressions than by raw data. The right answer to this question can often be extremely valuable especially if the numbers suggest that the favourites might just slip up.

That's why Flashscore, in cooperation with a team of analysts from Czech data company 11Hacks, is bringing you a data-driven overview every Friday about where those (un)expected results might occur in the wide world of football to help you ultimately hack the weekend.

Brondby - Randers, Sunday

Although according to the bookmakers Randers enter the match against Brondby as clear outsiders, they are currently on a better run.

Under new coach Rasmus Bertelsen (39), they first drew with Aarhus, then won a valuable scalp against leading FC Copenhagen and in the last round they also took points from second-placed Nordsjaelland

Moreover, analytical models show that these results were not the result of luck but stemmed from very good performances, especially defensively. Brondby, on the other hand, lost three of its last four games, always by a significant margin.

Along with the two away games against Nordsjaelland, they also failed to win at home against Viborg, allowing their opponents an average of 2.5 expected goals per game.

In the current season, both teams are allowing 1.3 xG per game, but the clear defensive trump card in Randers' hands is their number one goalkeeper Patrik Carlgren (31). He, along with Odense's Martin Hansen (32), dominates most goalkeeping models. The data says that he has received eight goals less than he should have according to the quality of opponents' shot placement.

Randers main offensive weapon is quite obvious. Brondby has already conceded 12 goals from set pieces this season, the most in the entire league. They are especially vulnerable from corner kicks, from which only Odense have allowed more dangerous chances. Randers have created the fourth highest volume of chances from set piece so far, and it is from corners that they threaten the most.

Chances from counter-attacks allowed
Flashscore

Brondby also have huge problems with defending counter-attacks. Together with Aalborg, they have allowed the most quality shots from them and also have the second highest number of goals conceded. Randers, on the other hand, are one of the most counter-attacking teams in the league and create very dangerous shooting opportunities from them.

Bertelsen's team could also be helped by the possible absence of Brondby's busiest player Mathias Greve (28), who missed the last two games due to injury. The Danish central midfielder is very important for his team as he is able to regularly bring to ball up to the final third of the pitch and then pass the ball to his teammates into a shooting position thanks to his good dribbling.

If he is missing, Brondby will lose much of their creativity.

Eibar - Zaragoza, Friday

With the fight for the two direct promotion spots to the Spanish LaLiga coming to a head, a results crisis has caught up with leaders Eibar. After a run of four games without a win, they are now just three points clear of the play-off positions, and they welcome Zaragoza, who have not lost in the league for eight games in a row, having faced second-placed Granada, fifth-placed Levante and sixth-placed Albacete during that run.

Despite being separated by nine places in the table and a staggering 18 points, the two teams have been very similar throughout the season in terms of the quality of chances created and chances allowed. This is well reflected in the expected points table, in which Zaragoza are the sixth team in LaLiga2, just two points behind Eibar.

The main reason for Eibar's better position is the high efficiency of their attacking players, along with the fantastic goalkeeping performances of Luca Zidane (24).

Eibar have to win and that is why Zaragoza will probably open up space for fast breaks, a discipline they excel in. No other league team has created more chances from them. Also playing into their hands is the injury to Eibar centre-back Juan Berrocal (24), who has missed the last three games and his absence has been evident in his team's play. 

Matches without Berrocao, red = opponents have a higher success rate of passes and runs into the zones against Eibar than the average team, blue = lower success rate
Flashscore

In the spaces where Berrocal usually operates, Eibar had problems intercepting passes and rushes from opponents in his absence and allowed a large number of shots. Moreover, Zaragoza has been successful in penetrating these spaces for a long time, not only relying on crosses, but also often getting crosses into the box from the side, from the cutback zones or the central area in front of the whitewash. Eibar are not expecting anything easy.

Lanus - Sarmiento Junin, Saturday

The Argentine Liga Profesional enters its 13th round this weekend, from which we pick the match between seventh-placed Lanus and 17th-placed Sarmiento, but due to the early stage of the competition, only four points separate them. Both create almost the same amount of chances according to mathematical models, and the same goes for the ones allowed.

Lanus are finishing better so far, while Sarmiento is conceding less, thanks in part to a well performing goalkeeper Sebastian Meza (23).

The game may well be decided by set pieces. Lanús are only 19th in defending them out of 28 league teams, which plays into Sarmiento's hands. After all, they have created the fifth highest xG so far and only Rosario Central produces more dangerous shots from corners. 

Lanús also has big problems defending crosses from open play. Analysis of the passes shows that they are allowing the most chances from them, while Sarmiento players are very efficient and have one of the highest header success rates in the final third.

In addition, the team is great at collecting deflected balls in the attacking phase, which is another weakness of Lanus - they even have the fourth worst success rate in their own third.

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