Galatasaray versus Fenerbahce is always one of the most ferocious games in world football, and the fact that Gala and Fener are sitting first and second in the table makes Sunday night’s derby even more significant.
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The Istanbul derby will likely have it all: goals, fan violence, yellow cards and probably a few red ones too.
Galatasaray come into the match with a two point lead over Fenerbahce which they’ll be looking to increase as they try and pull away in the title race.
Galatasaray’s season has been largely successful so far after having progressed through to the knockout stages in the Champions League, yet the campaign has not been without hiccups also. In their last performance Gala, albeit with a second-rate team, were KO’ed from the domestic cup at home by second divisioners 1461 Trabzon in their worst result of the year.
Can they bounce back against Fenerbahce? Of course.
Although slightly porous down their left flank with Albert Riera and Nordin Amrabat attracting plenty of criticism, Emmanuel Eboue together with midfielders Selcuk Inan and Felipe Melo give Gala a backbone through the spine of the team. Gala’s best form of defence, though, is in their attack where Umut Bulut has been on fire and Burak Yilmaz has been sensational.
Fenerbahce are no mugs though, and the visitors will arrive with their own offensive weapons.
Fener have a lot of quality upfront, Moussa Sow has been lethal and has a habit of giving his best performances in the Canaries most important games. Dirk Kuyt is a well known big game player, his record in the Ajax-Feyenoord and Liverpool-Everton derbies speaks for itself.
Caner Erkin is likely to start instead of Miroslav Stoch and Milos Krasic primarily because he provides more defensive cover.
Whilst punters may be inclined to back Galatasaray for the win, in truth this match could go either way as Fener have the firepower to unlock the hosts. Rather than betting on the winner, the smarter bet is to predict more than 2.5 goals in the match.