March 2nd will serve us with a match between Shimizu S-Pulse and Gamba Osaka in what is expected to be a highly entertaining match with plenty of scoring. The fixture will take place on IAI Stadium Nihondaira, the home of Shimizu S-Pulse for the first time this season.
Shimizu S-Pulse are coming into this match after a draw against Hiroshima (1:1), which was a decent result for them, and not so much for the home side. Hiroshima were the better side in that fixture, as they managed to hold the ball 52% of the time, had 14 goal attempts, but only 4 of those were shot towards the goal. On the other side, Shimizu had 6 goal attempts and 1 shot on goal, which they used with 100% success rate. All in all a good result for Shimizu, who will look to grab some more points against Osaka. Another great news for Shimizu is that their star striker Douglas won’t leave them. Prior to the start of the season, I had some concerns about Shimizu strength up front without Douglas, however now I can comfortably say, they look good offensively. Sadly he is not 100% fit and will not appear in the upcoming match.
The visiting side, Gamba Osaka are coming into this match after a 2:3 defeat against Yokohama Marinos, which was not their best performance. While they managed to score a goal in the 1st minute of the match, Marinos took over the tempo of the match in their own hands, and dominated Osaka with 15 goal attempts and 8 shots on goal in the 1st half alone, while Osaka only managed to produce 5 goal attempts and 2 shots on goal. Not surprisingly, Marinos managed to convert 8 of their shots into a goal, which meant the teams went into the 2nd half 2 goals apart (1:3). Gamba Osaka managed to respond with a goal of their own late into the 2nd half, which did not have much of an impact in the greater scheme of things. To be fair, I am surprised Marinos did not win by a bigger margin, which they easily could against poor Gamba defence. Shimizu will come into this match without Elsinho, Nishimura and Douglas, while Gamba won’t have Rokutan at their disposal.
The last 2 matches between these two sides ended 1:2, with each team winning once. Despite the fact Osaka won the last fixture against Shimizu, it is Shimizu who are heavy favourites to win. This time Gamba will once again be faced off against a team that has a potent attack, but somewhat lacks in the defensive end. That will especially be true for Shimizu, who will enter this match without Elsinho, which will leave them vulnerable in the back. The home side is considered the favourites, however, I believe this match can really go either way, due to strong attacks both sides have and relatively poor defence they possess. For that reason let’s first look at over/under market. There is no denying both teams are capable of producing goals, as they did in the last two H2H matches. For that reason, I would not be surprised if we will be looking at yet another match ending in at least 3 goals. On the other side, Shimizu are considered too big of a favourite to win this one. While they managed to grab a point against Hiroshima, and yes, Osaka did not perform up to par in the last match, odds offered Gamba to win are just too high to look past. We see value in a +0.25 bet on the visiting team, as we believe Gamba are capable of upsetting Shimizu, which is just what they did in September 2018.
Prediction: Over 2.50 goals
Odds: 1.85 Asianodds
Prediction: Gamba Osaka +0.25 Asian Handicap
Odds: 2.03 Asianodds