Predictions – Besiktas v Galatasaray: Will the new stadium prove to be lucky?

The Intercontinental derby is usually the biggest derby in Turkey but the Besiktas v Galatasaray derby may just top it this season in terms of importance as far as the title race is concerned.

Both the Lions and the Eagles have got off to a great start and are joint second on 10 points.

Galatasaray have the added advantage of having just the league to focus on this season as the club has been suspended from European competition.

Reigning champions Besiktas meanwhile really do look like the team to beat this season. Head coach Senol Gunes has built a side that is not only aesthetically pleasing to watch but also a team with at least two decent players in every position.

Oguzhan Ozyakup’s dip in form has seen Gokhan Inler and Anderson Talisca move into a first-team role. But as the saying goes, form is temporary class is permanent. The former Arsenal man is undoubtedly one of the most talented players in the league and Senol Gunes faces a tough test whether to start him of leave him on the bench.

Talisca has been in impressive form and Inler provides experience but Ozyakup provides more creativity. The decision Gunes makes in midfield could end up being crucial.

Galatasaray are likely to play Tolga Cigerci alongside Nigel De Jong giving Jan Olde Riekerink a tenacious midfield. Selcuk Inan may get a look in if De Jong isn’t fit but the Dutch manager has opted for physical, direct football thus far and Cigerci as well as De Jong fit the bill.

The raw power of Cigerci and De Jong may just force Gunes to play Talica, Inler and Atiba or he could face the prospect of having his midfield muscled out.

Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun could keep his place upfront after a terrific start to the season but Vincent Aboubakar would provide a more physical option against Galatasaray.

Gunes experimented with Adriano as left-back and Caner Erkin as left-winger in the Champions League to great effect and could do the same again against Galatasaray.

Gokhan Gonul is likely to start on the right but the more defensively minded Andres Beck also remains an option.

Galatasaray have improved defensively compared to last season and have arguable the best goalkeeper in the league – Fernando Muslera – protecting their goal.

The Lions will look to in-form winger Bruma, star playmaker Wesley Sneijder and striker Eren Derdiyok for their attacking spark. Bruma in particular has been impressive and will be scouted by Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and West Ham.

Galatasaray are in fine form but Besiktas are more settled and have more depth as well as the more experienced manager.

The Lions will be no pushovers but Besiktas are the favourites at home in front of a packed Vodafone Arena stadium.

Prediction Besiktas win