The first leg matches of the Europa League today. So tough to research and get an angle in as we have to factor in away-goal tactics. We also face the problem of weighing up the fitness of a number of clubs whose recent form has only been in friendlies.
Arsenal's record v BATE (under Wenger) was outstanding. Same again under Dick Emery?
Both teams to score Lazio and Sevilla?
Olympiakos match fit and tend to go unbeaten at home?
Red Bull Salzburg look well up for the Europa League. Are these strong enough arguments to trade these matches this evening?
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE
These are 2 legged affairs making research difficult as tactics will play a big part.
17:55 - BATE Borisov v Arsenal - 1.5 Arsenal
- Arsenal have a solid record v BATE, in 2017 scoring 10 goals in 2 legs against them. There is no reason not to expect an Arsenal win. Dick Emery, their new manager, has a good history in the Europa League. The market does not suggest an emphatic win though. Let the in-play stats guide you and bias you towards the gunners.
17:55 - FK Krasnodar v Leverkusen - 2.06 Leverkusen
- Friendly mode for Krasnador may leave them lacking in match fitness against a Leverkusen in solid domestic form. 4 2-1 wins though for Krasnador in the EL might see them competitive.
- Not sure of the quality of Leverkusen's opponents. They scored and conceded in 5 of their last 6 matches in the EL.
- Muddling form here. FK not yet playing competitively but winning , while conceding, at home. Leverkusen ok in the EL but hardly beating world class opponents.
17:55 - Galatasaray v Benfica - 2.74 Benfica
- I am not keen to research a match with a 2.74 odds favourite. This being a first of two legged match too leaves me wanting to play via the in-play stats.
17:55 - Lazio v Sevilla - 2.4 Lazio
- 2 sides from Elite Leagues and a Sevilla who historically have taken the Europa League seriously.
- Lazio scored and conceded in 7 of their last 8 EL matches and lost their last 2 v Apollon and Eintracht Frankfurt.
- 7 consecutive both teams to score EL matches at home too might be a pattern for us. Only the one loss though which came last match.
- Sevilla have lost 2 of their last 3 away in the EL v Krasnador and Standard Liege.
- A 2-3 win v Akhisar might see this year's Sevilla vulnerable if Lazio put forward their first team.
- Watch for potentially both teams to score. Keener to lay Sevilla if Sevilla score first.
17:55 - Olympiakos v Dynamo Kiev - 2.02 Olympiakos
- 3-1 win over Milan latest for Olympiakos impresses...or does it. A suspicion Milan are not 100% committed to the Europa League.
- 4 wins in 5 at home for Oly sees them take on all comers in this competition and not lose when in Athens.
- Dynamo Kiev are yet another side beginning their season so all of their recent form is in friendlies.
- Wins v Rennes and Astana are tough to quantify against today's opponents.
- Oly are match fit, certainly, and tend to go unbeaten at home. Enough to side with them not to lose today?
17:55 - Rapid Vienna v Inter - 1.66 Inter
- It's a mini crisis at Inter Milan and the phrase 'couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo' is very apt this 2019. 0-0-0-79th minute in their last 4 Seria A matches is not good enough. An embarrassing performance at home v Bologna too suggests Inter may not be trustworthy at 1.66 odds.
- They have a poor history in the Europa League, from 2015 and 2016 with 6 losses and 2 wins, both wins coming at home.
- Rapid Vienna are largely in friendly mode. A draw v Villareal, away win v Spartak Moscow and home win v Rangers in their recent EL appearances.
- 3 consecutive home clean sheets. I could see a lay of Inter here especially if they score first. Finding that 2nd goal a struggle, strong form for Rapid at home, and a perceived disinterest in the competition as advertised by the 2015 and 2016 form.
17:55 - Rennes v Betis - 2.76 Rennes
17:55 - Slavia Prague v Genk - 2.58 Slavia Prague
- 2.76 and 2.58 the favourites, in the Europa League suggests in-play stats if you are going to play. This competition is hard enough, particularly in its first leg, for us to attempt a 2.76 and 2.58 favourite rsearch.
20:00 - Celtic v Valencia - 2.2 Valencia
- A very early Champions League exit for Celtic has spoilt their season somewhat. They have had some famous home victories, particularly against another Spanish side Barcelona.
- Domestically, Celtic are winning to nil. 3 recent EL losses though came v Red Bull Salzburg twice and Leipzig. Celtic did beat Leipzig at home though.
- EL 2018 wins for Celtic at home v Zenit, Suduva, Rosenborg and Leipzig ended with a 1-2 loss v Salzburg
- Valencia domestically, love a 1-1 draw at home. Does this drawitis occur away from home in a different competition?
- Well, who can tell? This is the first EL match for Valencia who did not progress from the Champions League despite beating Man Utd and Young Boys and only losing 1-0 away to Juventus.
- If the will is there in this lesser competition, Valencia could be a threat. Remember Scotland lacks strength in depth and Celtic find themselves without the necessary quality opponents to ready themselves for European Elite leagues. We cannot really look at 2015 and 2016 Valencia EL form as indicative today.
- A watching brief yet again with a look to the in-play stats.
20:00 - Club Brugge v Red Bull Salzburg - 2.2 Red Bull
- 2 well-known sides to Live chat webinar attendees.
- The last time Club Brugge were in the EL, the failed to score in 2 legs against AEK Athens. They look as if they are another casualty of the Champions League where they did manage 0-0's v Atl Madrid and Dortmund. Yet again, we meet sticking points when researching this competition. For me, questionable attitude for Club Brugge in the EL. I think the Champions League is the main goal.
- 6/6 wins in the EL for Red Bull, beating the likes of Celtic, Leipzig, and Rosenborg, TWICE tells us that there is no attitude problem with the Austrians. They have scored and conceded in their last 3 away wins in the competition.
- I have a feeling Red Bull are up for the Europa League and that Club Brugge's attitude to this relegation into the Europa League is questionable. I'll be with the away side, especially if Club Brugge score first.
20:00 - FC Zurich v Napoli - 1.46 Napoli
- A first team for Napoli should see them oblige over the 2 legs.
- Highlights for Zurich in this competition? Beating Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 at home and that is about it. The other sides on paper are nowhere near as solid as Napoli.
- Zurich lost 1-2 to AEK Larnaca most recently at home.
- Napoli were last in the EL in 2016, losing away to Villareal and drawing 1-1 at home.
- Early 2018 they played Leipzig, 1-3 loss and 0-2 away win, failing by a small margin to progress via the away goal rule.
- When Napoli have played away in the EL, they have rarely conceded that 2nd goal so let that be a possible angle today. As this is an away 1st leg for them, expect them to try and put this tie to bed with away goals. The market looks right if we see a Napoli first team.
20:00 - Malmo FF v Chelsea - 1.38 Chelsea
- It's keystone cops domestically for Chelsea coming off a spanking against Man City.
- Swedish side Malmo have been lacking competitive football of late. It's all been friendlies for them. It looks on paper as if they have not met a team of Chelsea's calibre in the Europa League so tough to evaluate the Swedes friendly form and EL form.
- First leg away for Chelsea will see them target goals, much like Napoli. 5 wins and a draw in the EL in 2018 is solid enough with a slight question mark about the quality of the opponent.
- This is the first 2 legged start so tactics will play a big part. 13 goals conceded and none scored for Chelsea in their last 4 matches is appalling. With Higuan in their ranks, they may pose the threat v Malmo. Certainly we'd expect this Chelsea side to end a run of 4 matches without a goal.
20:00 - Plzen v Dinamo Zagreb - 2.44 Plzen
- We know that both of these leagues are coming back from a Winter Break. 1.16 odds Dinamo Zagreb struggled to a 1-0 win latest.
- 2.44 the favourite for 2 sides maybe lacking in match readiness makes little appeal for me. In-play stats (again).
20:00 - Shakhtar v Eintracht Frankfurt - 2.38 Shakhtar
- Shakhtar we know from the Champions League. Frankfurt we know from the German Bundesliga.
- Shakhtar yet again are another side post Winter Break who have been keeping sharp via friendlies.
- They lasted 2 EL matches in 2017, Win and loss v Celta Vigo, going out in extra time.
- Frankfurt have relished a return to the Europa League with 6 consecutive wins this 2018 campaign v solid yardsticks such as Marseille, and Lazio. We can, I think, be assured of 100% commitment from Frankfurt.
- Shakhtar struggled in the Champions League but we cannot really gauge their interest in the EL on this occasion. Yet another muddling affair but expectation of a positive performance at least from the Germans.
20:00 - Sporting Lisbon v Villarreal - 2.34 Sporting Lisbon
- Portugal v Spain. Sporting have only lost to Atl Madrid and Arsenal in the EL in 2018.They actually beat Atl Madrid at home. 4 clean sheets in 5 at home in the EL saw only Arsenal score and that took them 77 minutes.
- 4 consecutive EL clean sheets for Villareal is welcome respite from a poor domestic season. 2 recent 0-0's came away v Rapid Vienna and Rangers.
- I would contemplate a back of 0-0 pre-match with a view, like Hamburg recently, for cashing out as late as I dare (usually halftime).