Beware the dead rubbers in the Champions League. Focus on teams with something to play for. PSG, Tottenham, Liverpool, Napoli, Inter Milan. A token look at the FA Cup too.
I am travelling home to see family for Christmas on the 12th December 2018. It may not be logistically possible for me to post here on the 12th December. Please accept my apologies if there are no tips on this date.
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE (CL)
17:55 - Galatasaray v Porto - 2.38 Galatasary
- This is the last match in Group D. Porto are through. Galatasary cannot get 2nd spot. This is a dead rubber. Porto are guaranteed top spot. Galatasary claim 3rd spot with a win.
17:55 - Schalke v Lokomotiv - 2.14 Schalke
- Group D. Schalke are through in 2nd spot and cannot be caught. Lokomotiv could go third with a win today if Galatasary lose or draw. For me this is another dead rubber.
Barcelona v Tottenham - 2.18 Barcelona
- Barcelona top Group B and cannot be caught. Note any Barca team changes. The boys from Tottingham are on 7 points along with Inter Milan, who the market suggests have an easy home match against PSV. This will focus Tottenham who must win if we assume the Inter odds are accurate and they win. Goal difference is identical.
- Barcelona scored and conceded in 3 of their last 4 matches and are unbeaten. 2-4 at Tottenham was a Messi master class. A pleasure to watch him dismantle the Spuds.
- 7 consecutive home wins for Barcelona in the CL. Tottenham's only 2 wins came at home. They conceded 2 goals away at the weak link PSV.
- Barcelona have nothing to play for which makes reading their attitude very difficult. Reading their team news is a pre-requisite. It is a must-win for a Spurs side who have scored 2 goals at least on 3 occasions.
Monaco v Dortmund - 1.86 Dortmund
- The only piece of business to wrap up here is whether Dortmund want 1st place in Group A. They are 2 points shy of Atl Madrid. This is not a must-win for an already qualified Dortmund who cannot be caught. A disappointing 0-0 last match reflected, I think, the fact that they are safe. Same again today against a Monaco with just the single point. NOTE - Thierry Henry is the new manager for Monaco. Win, Loss, Win under his tutelage domestically. He has 2 avenues here. One. Look for his Monaco to gain a winning thread. Two. Blood some youngsters and look for competition in places.
- Another dead rubber.
Liverpool v Napoli - 1.65 Liverpool
- Group C is very tight. Napoli on 9 points, PSG on 8 points. Liverpool on 6 points. Red Star Belgrade are out of it.
- This is a must-win for both sides. Both sides dare not hope for Red Star Belgrade to do them a favour and must play this match expecting a PSG away win.
- Liverpool have lost their 3 away matches in the CL and won their home match v Red Star Belgrade. This is really poor form.
- They did not let up at the weekend though, fielding a first XI and winning impressively domestically. This is now 5 defeats and 2 wins for Liverpool in their last 7 CL matches. Their 2 wins coming at home.
- Napoli are unbeaten in 5 in the CL. They scored and conceded in their last 3 matches.
- 0-0 and 2-2 away to red star and PSG in the CL.
- On the very bare form, Liverpool are struggling. But at home they have 2 wins. Napoli are unbeaten, scoring and conceding and not necessarily winning.
- Remember that a win is a must for both teams if they don't want to rely on Red Star to help them. This could as easily be a goal fest as a 1-0/0-1 nervy affair.
- I am sorry I don't have any strong angles.
Crvena Zvezda v Paris St-G - 1.2 PSG
- As above this Group C is undecided until the 90th minute. PSG must win and the market expects PSG to win.
- Red Star amazingly beat Liverpool at home but have been roundly spanked, conceding 13 in 3 other CL matches.
- PSG beat them 6-1 in the earlier meeting.
- Both teams have scored in all of PSG CL matches. Note that this evening, particularly in light of Red Star's 2 goals v Liverpool at home. Red Star seem the weak link. PSG scored 6 goals v them, and only 2-1-2 goals v the other sides.
- Expect an away win and the possibility of both teams to score.
Club Brugge v Atletico Madrid - 1.68 Atl Madrid
- As mentioned with the Dortmund research, Group A boils down to a battle for top spot between Atl Madrid (12 points) and Dortmund (10 points) IF any benefit is actually accrued from top spot. This is a match in which it's tough to gauge Madrid's attitude as they don't need to win....unless top spot is part of their plans, in which they will need to win. if they draw and Dortmund win, goal difference will see the Germans top.
Inter v PSV - 1.37 Inter
- Group B is wide open. Tottenham and Inter are on 7 points. Barcelona are through on 13 points. PSV have one point. Tottenham have arguably the tougher task and will be praying for a weakened Barcelona side this evening.
- Inter have struggled this CL and 1.37, at first glance, looks layable. 1-2 v PSV saw PSV lead, 2-0 loss to Barcelona, 1-1 v Barcelona and 1-0 loss to Tottenham.
- Both teams have scored in all PSV CL matches and all PSV matches have been tight. 3 2-1 defeats and a 2-2.
- They lack any motivation tonight which is the negative for any Inter layers as the lay is the obvious call.
19:45 - Aberdeen v Livingston - 1.87 Aberdeen
This match is on the coupon at www.soccerway.com for tonight but on Betfair for tomorrow. I'll research it now.
- No recent head to heads sees newcomers Livingston impress with some solid defensive displays.
- No draw in 10 and in 6 at home.
- Only 1 0-0 at halftime at home.
- Only 2 home defeats came v the top 5.
- 1-0 wins only at home v 8th and 9th.
- 2 wins in 3 came at home.
- 3 consecutive away defeats.
- Failed to score in 5 of their last 7 matches.
- Only away win v 12th. That was the only away match in which Livingston scored that 2nd goal.
- Lay any late draw and hope Aberdeen continue to avoid the draw.
- I would think about backing 0-0 pre-match to cash out as late as possible. With Livingston failing to score in 5 of their last 7 matches and Aberdeen winning only 1-0 v 8th and 9th at home, we may get a good run at 0-0.
ENGLISH FA CUP
Sunderland v Walsall - 1.62 Sunderland
- 3rd v 10th in League One. I do prefer to see teams in different leagues.
- Sunderland are enjoying League One. Unbeaten in 16 matches.
- 3 draws in their last 5 matches though.
- At home in all competitions, Sunderland are unbeaten in 11 matches. In 6 of their last 7 matches, they scored 2 goals at least.
- Only 1 win in 7 in the FA Cup for Sunderland. Either they're meeting strong teams early on, or they are not up for a cup run.
- 5 consecutive home clean sheets in the FA Cup, albeit from 2014, 2015, 2017.
- Only 3 wins in 13 for Walsall in all competitions in stark contrast.
- They failed to score in 4 of their last 5 aways.
- Only 1 win in 5 FA Cup matches for Walsall.
- Only 3 away wins since 2004 in the Fa Cup.
- It does look as if Sunderland have the momentum, the home FA Cup momentum and are meeting a team with only 3 away wins since 2004. The market looks right here. Draw worst case for Sunderland.
Bradford v Peterborough - 2.36 Peterborough
- Probably not a match to dwell on. 2.36 the favourite in a cup competition.
- 24th v 4th in League One. The better form side are not strong favourite.
- Bottom of the league Bradford surely have other things to worry about than a cup run in a competition they will not be winning.
- Only 1 win in 15 in all competitions.
- Only 2 wins in 16 at home in all competitions.
- Only 3 losses in 20 matches in the Fa Cup for Bradford may be the reason why 4th in the league are not strong favourites today. Bradford it seems like a cup run.
- This is a replay after a 2-2 at Peterborough which saw Peterborough lead 2-0.
- Only 1 loss in 90 minutes in 15 at home in the FA Cup for Bradford.
- Peterborough are unbeaten in 8 in all competitions.
- Only 1 loss in 9 away so good nick on travels.
- Only 2 losses in 17 FA Cup matches came v Leicester and Chelsea.
- Both teams scored in 12 of the last 14 matches.
- 3-2-2-1-5-1-3-3 goals scored in recent Fa Cup matches away. Both teams scored in 6 of the last 7.
- No wonder the market is so reticent to pick sides. Bradford have a great record in the FA Cup and only 1 loss in 15 at home. Boro have goals in them away and have only been beaten by Leicester and Chelsea recently.
- Both teams to score looks obvious.
Newport County v Wrexham - 2.12 Newport County
- League 2 v National League so we have that marginal gap in the leagues.
- Welsh derby of sorts.
- Only 1 loss in 90 minutes in 11 matches for Newport County. 0-0 v Wrexham last match so a replay.
- Only 1 loss in 90 minutes in 10 at home for Newport in the FA Cup. They even drew 1-1 with Spurs last home match.
- 3 consecutive clean sheets for Wrexham includes the earlier FA Cup meeting.
- 4 consecutive Wrexham clean sheets in the FA Cup.
- Back 0-0 pre-match and hope Wrexham defence stands firm? Other than that I do like Newport's home form in the FA Cup.