The Champions League dominates today. I have also had a look at English League One. Newly promoted sides, such as Tranmere, are worth monitoring. The instinct is to oppose. Sunderland have been excellent if conceding first. Let's hope this pattern continues this evening. Coventry look strong and are playing a weak Wimbledon. Will Doncaster continue to concede but not lose? 4 consecutive home wins for Wycombe. Another on the cards this evening?
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
17:55 - Lyon v Zenit St Petersburg - 1.76 Lyon
- Group G sees Leipzig and Benfica as well as these 2.
- The first group game begins now.
- A loss and 2 score draws domestically for Lyon is a concern.They were leading 1-2 v Amiens until the 90th minute in their last match.
- Home form in all competitions is bitty. Only 3 wins in 9 home matches.
- Both teams have scored in 14 of Lyon's last 17 home matches.
- 6 consecutive Champions League draws for Lyon ended with a loss v Barcelona in March this year.
- 5 consecutive draws at home in the CL for Lyon. 2 were 0-0, 3 were 2-2.
- Zenit had a bit of a blip domestically, failing to score in 2 matches, one of which was v 10 men.
- That has firmly been put to bed with 3 consecutive wins, 1 a friendly which I am sure the manager insisted upon to get Zenit scoring again.
- 5 wins in 6 away in all competitions.4 wins in the last 5 away were to nil for Zenit.
- Zenit were last in the Champions League in 2015 and 2016 so we cannot really gauge them by that distant form.
- First leg match and tactics will play a massive part.
- I would personally look to lay any draw given that Amazing run of draws from Lyon. They cannot keep collecting draws! That is the only strong angle, that and Lyon's strong both teams to score pattern at home.
17:55 - Inter v Slavia Prague - 1.4 Inter
- With Barcelona and Dortmund also in this Group, and hoping to cut each others' throats, this match becomes very significant for Inter Milan to win against an apparent weak link in Sparta Prague.
- The signing of Lukaku up front for Inter is an especially good one.
- Lukaku has scored in 2 matches to date, as has Sensi.
- Inter's last 2 losses at home in all competitions were 0-1 which may provide us with an angle in. Lay Slavia Prague if they lead 0-1 but take out insurance on the 0-1 (by laying over 1.5 goals - visit a weekend live chat webinar to see this strategy in real time). This ensures that if Inter lose 0-1 again at home, we have it covered and will break even.
- 4 consecutive home wins for Inter scoring 2-2-4-1 goals.
- Poor stuff from the CL matches, losses to Barcelona and Tottenham and home 1-1 draws v Barcelona and PSV. Calling it poor stuff may be a tad harsh.
- Both teams scored in the 3 home CL matches for Inter. An uncomfortable habit as it gives away that away goal but they remained unbeaten.
- It is difficult to weigh up what Slavia Prague achieves domestically as their Czech league is so much weaker than the Italian Seria A.
- In the Champions League Slavia Prague don't tend to reach these group stages. They have done via 2 1-0 wins v Cluj.
- Some unknowns here. How to gauge Slavia Prague? What of Inter with their significant forward signing Lukaku? If Inter concede, and first, I would do as I mentioned earlier. Remember they have scored and conceded at home in the CL last 3 matches without losing.
20:00 - Chelsea v Valencia - 1.88 Chelsea
- A really emphatic win for Chelsea, pre-Champions League, v a sturdy Wolves outfit, away from home, really caught the eye this weekend.
- There is an element of the unknown about Chelsea and Lampard as manager for the first time in the Champions League so I'm afraid it has to be a watching brief for this match, with a keen eye on the in-play stats.
- Tammy Abraham was the man at the weekend. Will he play in the CL at home? Or will Lampard opt for the experience of Giroud?
- Valencia did impress in the Champions League last season but with only 1 win in 4 domestically this season, they are out of form.
- Wins at home v Young Boys and Man Utd were solid enough in the CL but 0-1-0 scored away last season in the CL is a concern.
- A match for the in-play stats and to check team news regarding Chelsea's forward like. Abraham and Mount may be a bit too inexperienced for this competition. Will Fat Frank opt for experience over youth?
20:00 - Ajax v Lille - 1.52 Ajax
- Group H comprises Chelsea, Ajax, Valencia and Lille.
- Ajax were last year's semi-finalists and engineered a way past PAOK of Greece despite conceding 2 goals in each match.
- 6 wins and a 0-0 last 7 matches for Ajax in all competitions.
- 4 consecutive home wins scoring 5-3-2-4 goals for Ajax.
- Since July 2017, only Real Madrid and Tottenham have beaten Ajax in the Champions League. Those losses did come at home for Ajax.They did score and conceded in 5 of their last 6 home CL matches. Recent wins v PAOK and APOEL at home is not the strongest form in the world.
- 2nd in French Ligue 1 last season, Lille have won their home matches, lost their away matches this season.
- Lille were last in the CL in 2011, 2012 and 2014 so there is no recent form for us to work from.
- Logic favours last season's semi-finalists and the market favourites Ajax. They are in rare old form in the CL. Lille, I'd argue, are not quite in the same league as Tottenham and Real Madrid.
20:00 - Dortmund v Barcelona - 2.38 Barcelona
- It's tasty, tasty, very very tasty!
- 2.38 the favourite sums up this match perfectly. Can you call the result?
- We have Messi and Suarez, at time of writing, injured for Barcelona. That is their go-to Champions League forward line. So there is a question mark regarding Fati and Griezemann as able replacements.
- I bet Dortmund wish Aubameyang was still there. He's banging in the goals for Arsenal. Dortmund are banging in the goals domestically, bar an unexpected 3-1 defeat to newly promoted Union Berlin.
- I won't look at past CL form for Barcelona given this unique possibly Messi-less Suarez-less forward line.
- Inplay stats or just watch and savour.
- This group may be decided by who, amongst these 2, wins the head to heads. Inter are waiting in the shadows.
20:00 - Red Bull Salzburg v Genk - 1.58 Red Bull
- Group E sees Liverpool and Napoli the logical choices for 1st and 2nd.
- 6 wins in a row for Red Bull in all competitions.
- Red Bull's last 3 home losses since July 2018 came in friendlies so the form is suspect.
- Red Bull didn't actually lose a match in CL campaigns in 2016, 2017 or 2018 so you'll surmise that it was the away goal rule that did for them
- 1-1 v Rijeka, 0-0 2nd leg, 0-0 away at Red Star last year, 2-2 home leg (2 away goals Red Star).
- Red Bull will be all too aware that they are not losing CL matches but not progressing. But this is the group stage now so it's a straight shoot out.
- Red Bull are unbeaten at home in the CL since 2012.
- No win in 2 for Genk domestically.
- Only 1 win in 5 away matches in all competitions.
- Genk were last in the CL in 2011 so absolutely no recent form with which to gauge them by.
- Will Red Bull continue to remain unbeaten in the CL? This is a key match for both sides who, logic dictates, will lose to Napoli and Liverpool.
20:00 - Napoli v Liverpool - 2.44 Liverpool
- Speaking of Napoli and Liverpool, the matches between these will likely decide 1st and 2nd in this group and Red Bull and Genk should be easy pickings.
- Napoli matches have been full of goals this season.3-4 win away v Fiorentina, 4-3 loss away to Juventus, 2-0 home win v Sampdoria.
- These 2 have recent Champions League history. Napoli beat Liverpool 1-0 at home, Liverpool beat Napoli 1-0 at Anfield in the CL last season.
- The Napoli win was care of a 90th minute goal. Big Mo scored the Liverpool goal.
- Do we expect another tight 1 goal in it match? If so, then back 0-0 pre-match here and hope for a concerted period of 0-0. Cash out as late as you dare.
20:00 - Benfica v RB Leipzig - 2.68 RB Leipzig
- The market cannot split these 2 sides. This is Group G which also sees Lyon and Zenit. It looks a wide open group.
- All wins bar a loss v Porto for Benfica this season.
- 4 of their last 5 home wins, largely domestically, have been to nil.
- Benfica losses in the 2018 CL came v Bayern Munich twice and Ajax.
- Benfica's last 5 wins at home since December 2015 in the CL were all 1-0. Coincidence or tactic? If they score first today, and that 1-0 is lurking, you may want to lay Benfica, cover the 1-0 by laying over 1.5 goals and hope that Benfica don't add to the goals?
- Since December 2015, they scored 2 goals only once at home.
- 4 wins and a 1-1 draw v Bayern Munich for Leipzig recently.
- They have only lost 1 away match this 2019 which came v Werder Bremen.
- 2017 was the first time Leipzig appeared in the CL. Wins v Porto and Monaco, lost twice v Besiktas and once v Porto (another Portuguese side).
- The market is as it is because there is very limited form from the CL for Leipzig with which we can work from.
- Watching brief with a possible lay of Benfica if they lead 1-0 here?
ENGLISH LEAGUE ONE
- Not a league I dwell on but on a quietish day, I thought I would look at these matches.
19:45 kick off.
Tranmere v Peterborough - 2.02 Peterborough
- 1st goal: Bottom-six promoted teams have conceded first in 54% of home matches against top-six teams since 2014-15 while Peterborough have scored first in 7/11 away matches. Peterborough have drawn the first half in 9/13 away matches against promoted teams.
- Only 1 win for Tranmere. 2-5-2 goals scored at home with just the one win.
- Only 1 clean sheet.
- 4 consecutive wins to nil for Peterborough. 2+ goals scored in their last 5 matches.
- On what we see here, both sides are scoring 2+ goals but with Peterborough doing the winning. Most certainly any 0-0 we see must be taken on.
- Newly promoted Tranmere look to be huffing and puffing.
Shrewsbury v Southend - 1.72 Shrewsbury
- -2.5 goals: There have been -2.5 goals in 9/10 Shrewsbury home matches against bottom-six teams while Southend have drawn the first half in 6/9 away matches against bottom-half teams. Shrewsbury have drawn 6/8 home matches against bottom-six teams.
- All defeats bar a 3-3 for Southend. Poor stuff. In 5 of 7 matches at least one team has scored 3 or 4 goals.
- Only 2 over 2.5 goals matches though for the Shrews. They failed to score in 4 of 6 matches.
- Not the kind of match to dwell on for me.
Sunderland v Rotherham - 2.12 Sunderland
- Match outcome: Sunderland have won 6/10 home matches and they have scored first in 10/20 home matches. Middle-third relegated teams have had +2.5 goals in 55% of away matches against top-six teams since 2014-15.
- No indepth research. Sunderland look very reliable this season especially if conceding first so let that be a simple angle into this match.
Portsmouth v Burton - 1.92 Portsmouth
- -2.5 goals: There have been -2.5 goals in 7/10 Portsmouth home matches against middle-third teams while Burton have drawn the first half in 4/7 away matches against bottom-six teams. Burton have conceded first in 5/7 away matches against bottom-six teams.
- Only 1 win for Pompey came at home. 2-0 and 3-3 at home this season.
- No away win yet.
- 3 consecutive clean sheets for Burton. Win, Win, Draw away so not too shabby.
- 4th last season, Portsmouth will be dreaming about what might have been. 1-2 and 2--2 loss and draw for Burton when they met Pompey last season.
- I have no strong angle here as befitting the fact that I rarely venture into this league.
Rochdale v Lincoln - 2.32 Lincoln
- 1st half outcome: Rochdale have drawn the first half in 10/10 home matches against promoted teams. Top-half promoted teams have had -2.5 goals in 52% of away matches against bottom-half teams since 2014-15. There have been -2.5 goals in 7/10 Rochdale home matches against promoted teams.
- Only 2 wins for Rochdale came away and saw them score 3 goals!! Draw Loss < Draw at home scoring 1-0-1 goals.
- 4 defeats in 5 for Lincoln.3 consecutive away defeats while scoring. They failed to score only last match.
- I don't like the 2.32 odds or the poor case which can be made for Rochdale's poor form at home and Lincoln's 3 match losing streak away. Leave alone or in-play stats.
MK Dons v Ipswich - 2.48 Ipswich
- +2.5 goals: Top-half promoted teams have had +2.5 goals in 52% of home matches against relegated teams since 2014-15. Top-six relegated teams have had +2.5 goals in 50% of away matches against promoted teams since 2014-15. Top-six relegated teams have scored first in 61% of away matches against promoted teams since 2014-15.
- Ipswich are unbeaten but only 2.48 odds! Yikes! Win, Draw, Win away. 3 consecutive clean sheets. Failing to score only last match.
- No draw for the MK Dons yet,Win, Win, Loss, Win at home. I suppose that is the reason Ipswich's odds are so lukewarm. The Dons are winning at home.
- Dons themselves have failed to score only once.
Coventry v AFC Wimbledon - 1.69 Coventry
- -2.5 goals: There have been -2.5 goals in 5/5 Coventry home matches against bottom-six teams while AFC Wimbledon have drawn the first half in 5/8 away matches against top-six teams. There have been -1.5 goals in 3/5 Coventry home matches against bottom-six teams.
- Top of the league plays a Wimbledon with 5 defeats where they scored in each, and 3 draws. Both teams scored in all bar 1 of Wimbledon's matches without them winning. A good angle? 4/4 home wins for Coventry.
Doncaster v Blackpool - 2.24 Doncaster
- +2.5 goals: There have been +2.5 goals in 12/17 Doncaster home matches and in 9/11 Blackpool away matches. Blackpool have drawn the first half in 12/17 away matches.
- Doncaster are unbeaten this season.Both teams have scored in the 4 home matches with a draw and 3 wins.
- 3 wins, 3 draws then 2 losses shows steady decline for Blackpool.
- 3-2-0-2 scored away by Blackpool is eyecatching but in a win-draw-draw-loss.
- It seems that a stronger pattern is embedded with Doncaster who may concede but not lose. That is how I would enter the match.
Bristol Rovers v Gillingham - 2.22 Bristol Rovers
- -2.5 goals: There have been -2.5 goals in 5/8 Gillingham away matches against middle-third teams and they have drawn the first half in 5/10 such matches. Bristol Rovers have conceded first in 12/19 home matches.
- Unbeaten at home, Bristol Rovers have 2 draws and 2 wins and have scored 2-3-3 goals recently. Poor travellers with 3 2-0 away defeats.
- Gillingham have won 2 recent matches but those were at home.
- 1-1, 1-0, 2-2 away.
- Too many gaps in the form for me. so early in the season.
Wycombe v Accrington - 1.9 Wycombe
- -1.5 goals: There have been -1.5 goals in 3/6 Wycombe W home matches against bottom-six teams and -2.5 goals in 6/8 Accrington S away matches against top-six teams. Accrington S have conceded first in 7/10 away matches.
- Only 1 loss for Wycombe came last match. 4 consecutive home wins. And in stark contrast, only 1 win all season for Accrington and a 2-0, 2-0, 3-3 away. A suggestion that the form is with Wycombe here.