Verdict: Total home goals over 2.5
Best odds: 1/1
As part of the 16th round of fixtures of the Super Lig, rescheduled due to the well-publicized problems in Turkish football, Fenerbahce will aim to continue their impressive form as they welcome Konyaspor on Wednesday evening.
This encounter marks the 47th meeting between these two sides, with the hosts holding a commanding lead in the head-to-head standings, boasting 35 victories compared to Konyaspor’s nine, while six matches have ended in draws.
The initial phase of the 2023/24 season witnessed a swift establishment of a two-way title race between Fenerbahce and Galatasaray in the Turkish top flight. Both clubs surged ahead of the chasing pack, creating a notable 14-point gap over Trabzonspor, currently occupying the third position.
Scheduled to contend for the Turkish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia just before the New Year, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray faced a postponement due to unspecified “problems” in the event’s organization.
However, Fenerbahce initiated their 2024 campaign with a visit to relegation-threatened Istanbulspor, securing a commanding 5-1 victory. This triumph allowed them to maintain their position at the top of the league standings, holding an impressive goal-difference advantage over Galatasaray while the two contenders have amassed 47 points each.
Across the first 18 league fixtures, Ismail Kartal’s squad displayed a prolific scoring record, tallying 49 goals—a notable 14 more than Galatasaray. On the other hand, they have also conceded six more goals compared to their rivals in this term.
Fenerbahce have exhibited significant strength when playing at home this season, collecting 22 points out of a possible 29. They currently enjoy an unbeaten streak at home, securing two wins and a draw in their last three fixtures. Additionally, their fine record includes a notable 4-0 victory over their upcoming opponent at their home ground in the previous season.
For the hosts, Mert Hakan Yandas will be back in action after serving his suspension for receiving a second yellow card against Kayserispor. However, Fred, who received a straight red card in that match, will remain ineligible and is set to return against Gaziantep in the upcoming weekend fixture.
Miha Zajc (muscle) and Luan Peres (knee) are both sidelined until mid-January due to their respective injuries. Additionally, Lincoln’s participation remains uncertain due to an ACL injury.
Moreover, Alexander Djiku and Bright Osayi-Samuel have been called up to represent Ghana and Nigeria, respectively, in the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations hosted by the Ivory Coast.
After an unbeaten start to their league campaign, Konyaspor faced a challenging period from mid-September to mid-November, enduring eight matches without a win, which included six losses and two draws. Consequently, this slump led to the Anatolian Eagles slipping into the relegation zone and prompted the club to dismiss Serbian coach Aleksandar Stanojevic towards the end of October.
Hakan Keles assumed the managerial role on October 27. Despite a winless streak in his initial three matches in charge, the former Giresunspor boss secured his first victory in late November against Kasimpasa. Ending the year on a positive note, Konyaspor claimed another three points by defeating Kayserispor on Christmas Eve.
With five points from a potential 12 in December, Konyaspor managed to climb out of the bottom four positions. However, a recent 3-0 defeat to Galatasaray leaves them tied with Samsunspor, the first team below the relegation line, with 18 points each.
The upcoming fixture against league leaders Fenerbahce might see Konyaspor back in the drop zone. Their recent away form doesn’t bode well for their chances of an upset, having gone winless in their last seven away matches, comprising three draws and four losses.
It’s uncertain whether Paul Bernardoni will ever return to play for Konyaspor after he took the step of sending a registered letter to FIFA regarding the non-payment of his salary. The shot-stopper faced removal from the squad as a disciplinary measure two weeks ago due to this issue. Similarly, Sokol Cikalleshi is reportedly excluded from the first team for similar reasons related to non-payment of salary.
Gokhan Tore (ankle) and Muhammet Demir (ACL) are set to miss the upcoming match due to their respective injuries. Additionally, Francisco Calvo will be absent from the game due to an accumulation of yellow cards, while Bruno Paz is away on international duty representing Angola.
Before their draw against Galatasaray on Christmas Eve, Fenerbahce had demonstrated consistent scoring prowess at home, notching two or more goals in each of their initial eight league fixtures, accumulating a total of 26 goals during that period.
Konyaspor, on the other hand, conceded three goals against Galatasaray in their recent fixture, indicating vulnerability in defence. As a result, it appears likely that Konyaspor concede at as many goals on Wednesday at the Şukru Saracoglu Stadium.
Verdict: Total home goals over 2.5
Best odds: 1/1
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