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Arsenal consented to end their poor form v the top 11 with a 0-1 win. Levante continue their 1-1 sequence at home v the top 6. I hope you layed Levante after they scored first. Atalanta get the Mr. Magoo award. Utter dominance but 0-0. Empoli (bottom 3) get that precious point. We see, yet again, a relegation-threatened side play a 8-1-1 formation - 8 in defence!
Today's matches make little appeal to me personally. The Premier League match is a relegation six pointer. The Champions League matches are tight. The value, I suggested,is in a 0-2, 1-2, 1-3 Man Utd win given what they achieved away at Paris St Germain against all odds. Ajax cannot be dismissed but Juventus's home losses are against higher level teams such as Man Utd and Real Madrid.

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

20:00 - Barcelona v Man Utd - 1.39 Barcelona

  • Both Barcelona and Juventus rested the stars, some of whom were conveniently 'injured' in their league matches and paid the price with a 0-0 draw for Barcelona and a 2-1 loss for Juventus.
  • 0-1 lead for Barcelona from the first leg sees Man Utd needing to score today and ideally score 2 goals. Do you remember the Everest Man Utd had to climb against Paris St Germain? Man Utd were 0-2 down at home to Paris St Germain. In the away leg (for Man Utd), Man Utd won 1-3 in the second leg.
  • Romelu Lukaku scored 2 goals in that match and will be the key today.
  • The value? It will be in laying Barcelona off the bat at 1.39, or backing 0-2, 1-2, 1-3 in Man Utd's favour IF.....you saw that miraculous PSG away result as a sign that this Ole United could pull it out of the fire.
  • There is no form to work on, these matches are more opinion based. What's your opinion?

20:00 - Juventus v Ajax - 1.75 Juventus

  • As I said above, Juventus were willing to rest the stars and take the defeat in the league, in order to assure qualification here. Juventus do have the advantage in the 1-1 first leg result....that away goal.
  • In the Champions League, Juventus at home have lost to Real Madrid and Man Utd. In between those losses, they had 3 clean sheet wins v Young Boys, Valencia and Atl Madrid. I would argue that the latter 2 teams, come from a league far stronger than the Dutch Eredivisie.
  • Ajax have scored and conceded in 5 of their last 6 Champions League matches and you can bet that Juventus will look to equalise if Ajax score first today.
  • After 3 consecutive away draws (and a 2-2 will see Ajax qualify under the away goal rule), Ajax have 2 consecutive away wins v AEK Athens and Real Madrid.
  • It is tough to discount Ajax but with Mandzukuc, and Ronaldo rested at the weekend, Juventus may nick this by the single goal. Again, this is opinion based rather than my usual form based conclusions. You may have a different opinion and that is fine.

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

19:45 - Brighton v Cardiff - 2.06 Brighton

  • This is your typical relegation six-pointer.

Brighton (17th)

  • 2 losses, 2 wins, 3 losses in recent matches.
  • 4 losses, a draw and a win in recent home matches.
  • Failed to score in their last 4 matches.
  • 5 points clear of Cardiff so this match is absolutely crucial for both sides.
  • 6 0-0's at halftime at home (38%)
  • Unbeaten at home v 6th-11th. v 12th and lower, we have loss, win, loss, loss, draw, win. The draw and win came v the bottom 2.
  • 2-1 loss to Cardiff earlier this season.

Cardiff (18th)

  • 6 losses in 7 matches.
  • 5 losses in 6 away matches.
  • Failed to score in 4 of their last 6 matches.
  • Conceded in their last 6 away matches and conceded 2+ goals in each of their last 3 away.
  • 7 0-0's at halftime away (44% of matches).
  • Actually unbeaten home and away v 16th and lower. Yet to play 17th and 19th away.
  • 8 of 9 goals scored away came 2nd half.

Conclusions

  • Both teams have had trouble scoring of late which does suggest backing 0-0 pre-match.
  • Both sides have had 5 losses recently. Brighton were solid v 6th-12th at home but then struggle with consistency outside of this band.
  • Cardiff are unbeaten v 16th and lower. Does that suggest to us that they have the more robust and consistent form v the relegation-threatened? Cardiff not to lose?
  • All of that being said, this is a relegation six pointer and the victor will take a huge step towards safety.