After five games into their new season, you would think Porto would be cruising. Far from it. Nuno Espirito Santo’s side sits three points off the pace having already lost to Sporting Lisbon this season. Their last fixture finishing in a 0-0 draw away to Tondela; the visitors having 13 attempts on goal with only two hitting the target. Not good.
Furthermore, their last two matches in all competitions have ended in draws. However, they do hold an unbeaten record at home this season; winning both games and not conceding a goal. Something to keep their spirits high.
Last season, the Dragons finished third in the Portuguese league and were 15 points off the pace. So, what does a manager do in that situation? Spend. Espirito Santo went out and brought in ten fresh faces, which included four defenders; the most expensive out of the bunch being Alex Telles from Galatasaray for £5.53 million.
What I’ve noticed with Porto though, is that there is no consistency. Hear me out, in their last three games Espirito Santo has changed the formation three times. Against Vitória Guimarães it was 4-2-3-1, followed by a 4-3-3 against Copenhagen in the Champions League and then last weekend, in their 0-0 draw, they set up as a 4-4-2.
I’m not sure even the Porto manager has figured out his strongest 11 yet, I mean this is something you would need sorted out before the season has begun.
Nuno Espirito Santo
Their opponents on the other hand are having a bad day at the office, sitting 12th in the league having only won one game so far this season. Their last fixture finishing 2-1 defeat at home to Feirense; the visitors scoring in the 90th minute to grab the win.
On top of this, their away from is not one to be proud of either. Boavista have only won three of their last 15 matches carrying on from last season in the Primeira Liga, and they have only scored away from home once in their last five games.
Erwin Sanchez will really need to change up his team if he wants to leave the Estadio do Dragao with a point. It’s not looking too good especially since they were not able to spend any money on strengthening their squad in the summer. All free transfers.
One negative is that the visitors will be without centre-back Lucas, who picked up a red card on the weekend, so a reshuffle may be needed. However, considering Sanchez has stuck with 4-2-3-1 for every game this season, I doubt he will change.
Boavista fans will not like this bit. Looking back at previous head-to-heads, the last time the visitors travelled to Estadio do Dragao the game finished 4-0. From that game, only three Boavista players featured in the weekend match against Feirense.
Going back even further, and Sanchez’s side have not won in against Porto since 2007. Their last win away from home coming back in 2004.
I’m backing Porto for the win, but going unders, don’t ask me why, but the record speaks for itself. Obviously there are a few dangers considering Espirito Santo keeps changing his formation, but this seems like a mountain too steep for Boavista to climb.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Under 2.75 goals @ 2.00 with Pinnacle
Prices correct at time of writing.