A tough set of fixtures today. Ordinarily I would not research the Championship or the Kilmarnock match (if, say if was a busy Saturday or Sunday). The Champions League matches are more opinion-based than stats-based. Remember that these are two-legged matches so tactics will play a massive part. If Man City do not win tonight, for instance, they have the second leg at home so all is not lost tonight. It seems an evening for in-play stats-led trading.
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
19:45 - FC Basel v Manchester City - 1.35 Manchester City
- This Champions League stage sees the first of two legs.
- The end of this match is therefore effectively halftime.
- FC Basel are returning from a Winter Break and they were certainly ring rusty in their return to league football in Switzerland with a defeat on their first match back.
- An improvement to their Champions League performances in 2017. They were beaten 3-0 by Man Utd and did beat Man Utd 1-0 in Basel.
- They beat Benfica twice and won and lost against CSKA Moscow.
- The last home match was that 1-0 win over Man Utd, seeing an 89th minute goal. IS that the template for today? Keep it to 0-0 for as long as possible?
- As to Man City, you suspect their 'greenness' in this competition will be ended under new manager Pep Gladioli. It was a relatively easy group stage against the likes of Feyenoord, Shakhtar Donetsk with more eye-catching results against Monaco and Napoli.
- Away wins came v Feyenoord and Napoli, scoring 4 goals on each occasion. Losses away came v Monaco and Shakhtar. Note the latter may have come after Man City already qualified from the group.
- FC Basel, for me , are a surprise package to see so deep into this competition.
- Unlike researching league football, there is no strong statistical angle into what will be a tactical match as it is based over 2 legs. In-play stats will play their part.
19:45 - Juventus v Tottenham - 2.12 Juventus
- A look at the injury list at the UEFA Champions League website sees Pablo Dybala there. He is joint-top scorer alongside Gonzo Higuan. His absence may be the chink in the armour.
- 15 clean sheets in 16 matches in all competitions for Juventus sees them strong in their typically-Italian style. Defence!
- Juventus had a relatively easy group with the likes of Olympiakos, and Sporting Lisbon. Barcelona were also there and Juventus lost away to Barcelona before drawing 0-0 at home.
- Juventus's only 2 home losses in the Champions League since October 2013 came against Real Madrid and Barcelona. Prior to that, it was Bayern Munich. The cream of European Football. Tottenham are not quite in that rarified air yet.
- 5 wins, a loss to Real Madrid and a 0-0 v Barcelona were the Juventus home matches in the Champions League this 2017 gone.
- 5 clean sheets there.
- A superb run for Tottenham in the group stages, but again it was a relatively weak group bar Real Madrid who Tottenham beat and drew with. In 5 of 7 matches, Tottenham scored 3 goals. The only away aberration was a 1-1 v Real Madrid.
- Harry Kane v a superb defensive back line. This will be worth watching.
- I would suggest a 0-0 for a while here. Tottenham's 3 goal hauls have tended to come at home. They did score against Real Madrid away but come on, Real Madrid are hardly defensive stalwarts.
- Juventus are blunted by the absence of Pablo Dybala, joint top scorer. Higuan remains as a threat.
- I would consider backing 0-0 pre-match and cashing out at halftime if lucky enough to get there unscathed. Apart from that, it is a tough match to call. The second leg matches see us with those 'angles in' from the first leg. Both Champions League matches have no form angles between the sides. Add in the two-legs and it is, as I say, opinion based and not form based.
19:45 - Cardiff v Bolton - 1.59 Cardiff
- 2-0 Bolton in the last head to head. The market sees a turnaround today.
- Unbeaten in 4 matches after a torrid run of 4 consecutive defeats.
- No draw in 7 at home.
- Unbeaten at home outside of the top 7.
- 17 of 26 goals scored at home came 2nd half.
- Only 1 loss in 6 matches.
- 9 consecutive under 2.5 goals matches.
- Only 1 away win was a 0-1 v 8th in the league.
- 1-0 away v 2nd, 1-1 v 5th and 0-0 v 7th. Could be defensive today.
- Scored 2+ goals only twice away and still did not win.
- Cardiff are unbeaten at home outside of the top 7 and that is a good start for us today.
- Add to that the fact Bolton have only 1 away win, and, when scoring 2+ goals they did not win, it seems that we can lay Bolton should they lead 0-1 or even 0-2.
- Cardiff have a higher % of goals 2nd half so note that.
19:45 - Sheff Wed v Derby County - 2.3 Derby County
- The odds are immediately off-putting when coupled with this competitive English Championship league.
- 2-1 Sheff Wed and 2-0 Derby in the last 2 head to heads.
Sheff wed (17th)
- Only 1 win since 18th November 2017.
- 3 0-0's, a 1-3 loss and a 1-1 in the last 5 matches.
- Failed to score in 5 consecutive matches but have scored in each of their last 2 matches.
- No win in 7 at home.
- Only 2 0-0's at halftime at home.
- Failed to score v top 6 at home albeit 0-1, 0-0, 0-0 so an obvious tactic v the better sides at home.
- All home wins v 10th - 16th inclusive.
Derby County (3rd)
- A realistic opportunity for automatic promotion.
- Unbeaten in 12 matches and in 11 away matches.
- 5 draws in their last 8 matches now sees 3 0-0 draws, and 2 0-0's in their last 4 away.
- 11 clean sheets in their last 15 matches.
- Unbeaten away outside of the top 8.
- Form sees us side with Derby all day long but the market is cautious here. IS this because Sheff Wed have had a 0-1, 0-0, 0-0 v other top 6 sides at home this season?
- Add to that 2 0-0's away in 4 matches, and we could see Derby come out of this without losing but maybe without winning too.
- 11 clean sheets in 15 matches for Derby suggests that if Sheff Wed are to score, they may not get a 2nd goal. But they seem capable of nicking a 1-0 given that clean sheetery at home. Up to you if you want to risk laying Sheff Wed if Sheff Wed lead, knowing the clean sheets they have managed. If you wanted to do that, laying over 1.5 goals or backing 1-0 would cover that eventuality, then laying Sheff Wed in the match odds market or backing Derby +1.
- Really, on recent form, Derby are the side here. Unbeaten outside of the top 8. But remember those 5 draws in 8 matches now.
SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE
19:45 - Kilmarnock v Dundee - 2.06 Kilmarnock
- 1-1 and 0-0 in the last 2 head to heads.
- 4 consecutive home wins.
- Scored in their last 9 matches.
- Only 2 defeats in 11 matches came v Aberdeen.
- Only 4 clean sheets all season included a 1-0 win v Celtic last home match.
- No 0-0 at home and only 1 0-0 at halftime at home.
- 71% of home goals scored 2nd half.
- Highly inconsistent at home. Can beat Celtic and Rangers but then lose to bottom side Ross County.
Dundee FC (9th)
- Unbeaten in 3 away with 2 consecutive away wins.
- No 0-0 away.
- 63% of goals conceded away came 2nd half.
- Not beaten top 7 away albeit draws v 6th and 7th 1-1.
- Kilmarnock are a trader's nightmare. An unreadable team. Look at their home form. Beating Celtic and Rangers but also losing to bottom side.
- On very recent form, only Aberdeen have beaten Kilmarnock so is recent form going to trump season-long form for you? If so, then favour Kilmarnock today.
- On form Kilmarnock tend to concede first. Indeed 71% of goals scored at home came 2nd half so fear not if Dundee score first and early first half. Killy should be into replying come the 2nd half.
- Neither side tend to do 0-0's.