No review/preview video today. The only real candidate yesterday was AEK Athens 1-2 down to 2-2. Elsewhere, Burnley's defence was on top, and Chelsea were emphatic. I was confident there as West Ham were missing Antonio, their usual goal merchant. I will try and be on Telegram throughout the day for you. League Cup and German Cup may yield a trade or two. I cannot get into Facebook at the moment so expect telegrams to coincide with the 17:30 kick offs. The Norwegian Eliteserien wraps up today at 17:00 but is chock full of dead rubbers. Still there is incentive for Rosenborg and Valerenga who will battle for that Europa League spot. Start and Mjondalen battle it out for the relegation play off place (as opposed to automatic relegation). See you on Telegram throughout the day.
ENGLISH FOOTBALL LEAGUE CUP
- A competition steeped in questions as to the attitude of the Premier League teams.
17:30 - Brentford v Newcastle - 2.38 Brentford
- The market cannot split these 2, English Championship v Premier League. Will Newcastle field a weaker side for this competition which Premier League managers usually treat with contempt?
20:00 - Arsenal v Man City - 1.62 Man City
- A chance for redemption for the Arsenal side which is likely to mirror the Europa League side which battered their opponents and had no problems with scoring goals. Again, all we can do here is react in-play given possible team changes.
ITALIAN SERIA A
17:30 - Crotone v Parma - 2.78 Parma
- Only 1 win plays only 2 wins here so little to dwell on pre-match.
- Crotone did win their last home match 4-1 v Spezia.
- Crotone have conceded in their last 6 home matches.
- 20th v 15th today. Crotone have played only one of 9th and lower, and that was the win v Spezia.
- Only 2 losses in 9 matches for Parma came v Juventus and Roma. But there have been 6 draws and a single win. Still, it takes a good 'un to beat this Parma side.
- Parma failed to score in 5 of their last 7 matches but with nuisance Gervinho up front, they may be a threat today.
- Like Crotone, Parma have conceded in their last 6 away matches.
- They are unbeaten v teams below them in the league and beat 19th 1-2 away. They play 20th today.
- Angles? On seasonal form, you get the idea that it takes a solid side to beat Parma. Gervinho is a solid striker who might get some reward against this poor Crotone. Further, Parma win rarely but one win was away v 19th and they play 20th today. So I'd enter this match favouring Parma but remind you that 2.78 the favourite means that this is very hard for market makers to weigh up.
19:45 - Juventus v Fiorentina - 1.37 Juventus
- Juventus remain unbeaten and play a Fiorentina doing a 'Derby', unable to score that 2nd goal in their last 8 matches.
- Fiorentina's failure to score in their last 4 away matches, and the teams they have played - Roma, Parma, AC Milan and Atalanta, suggests that Juventus could target a possible win to nil.
- They emphatically beat Parma 0-4 last match, a Parma drawing 0-0 with Fiorentina.
- 3 1-1 draws in 4 matches for Fiorentina suggests best case scenario for them.
- With Juventus scoring and conceding in 8 of their last 10 matches and seeing 5 1-1 draws, I would certainly lay any late 1-1. Juve will be sick of the sight of a 1-1 draw, having kept another, v Atalanta - the side recently beating Fiorentina 3-0 away.
- With Juventus scoring 2+ goals in 5/6 matches v 13th and lower (Fiorentina are 16th), they will be confident of avoiding a 1-1 draw and eye a possible win to nil. We are with the market today for sure here. If Fiorentina score, they are unlikely to follow up with a 2nd goal.
- We want to see Morata and Ronaldo playing for Juventus. A solid forward combinations.
SPANISH LA LIGA
- 3 La Liga matches where the favourite is 2.4+ suggests a tough night ahead.
16:30 - Valencia v Sevilla - 2.06 Sevilla
- Contrasting form for both sides last match. Valencia drew 2-2 v Barcelona and always tend to show up v Barca. Sevilla let a 1-0 lead slip late on.
- Only 1 loss in 7 matches for Valencia sees some improvement, and it sees 4 2-2 scorelines! 5 of those 7 matches were draws.
- 2-4-0-2 goals scored at home recently for Valencia. They lost 0-1 v Atl Madrid and Sevilla have been trying to mirror Madrid with their 1-0's.
- Valencia have conceded in their last 7 at home.
- Valencia have not played 3rd-9th at home and meet 7th today.
- Sevilla have lost only one of their last 6 matches, seeing 4 wins and 3 1-0 wins.
- 2 consecutive away 0-1 wins. 2/3rd of Sevilla away matches see 0-0 at halftime. Note that.
- 13th v 7th today. 4 1-0 wins, a 0-1 loss and a 1-1 for Sevilla v sides 11th and lower suggests their pattern.
- Angles? Contrasting personalities. Sevilla might set out for yet another 1-0 win today so will rely on defence as they have done v 11th and lower. Valencia can threaten 2 goals which of course scuppers Sevilla's plans. 4-2-2-4 goals scored by Valencia in 4/7 matches. Their recent 0-1 loss v Atl Madrid will be something Sevilla will look at.
- If Sevilla keep a lid on Valencia, then the match could be 0-0 at halftime as it has been in 2/3rd of Sevilla away matches.
16:30 - Elche v Osasuna - 2.42 Osasuna
- These 2 are bottom 5 sides, Osasuna are bottom so let's not dwell on this one too long.
- 4 consecutive draws for Elche ended with 2 consecutive defeats. 6 defeats and a draw for Osasuna. The draw v newly promoted Huesca.
- Most notably, Elche are unbeaten v 13th and lower where all of their 3 wins came from. Osasuna are 20th.
- On that basis, on Challenge Table form only, we would go against the market and favour Elche not to lose. Please remember though that 2.42 the favourite is there for a reason. It's too tough for the market to call.
18:45 - Sociedad v Atletico Madrid - 2.44 Atl Madrid
- And here's another match too tough for the market to call, for a different reason. These 2 are in great form.
- This is a top 3 clash and I do tend to leave these to unfold in play. These 2 are top 3 for a reason. There are no real weaknesses.
- But there may be some wobbles for Sociedad with 3 draws and 2 consecutive 2-1 away defeats. 2 of only 3 defeats all season.
- They are on a run of 2 consecutive 1-1 draws at home.
- They are undefeated in 5 at home and so far have not beaten a top 5 side with 2 draws at home 0-0 and 1-1.
- Only 1 loss for Atl Madrid came in the Madrid derby. They have kept 8 clean sheets this season which is their usual modus operandi. 0-0 at halftime, 2nd half winner.
- Atl Madrid have only dropped points where they have failed to score away.
- Angles? The market has rather dismissed the winless run for Sociedad of late, 2 consecutive 1-1 draws at home suggests they may not hold onto a lead today, v an Atl Madrid losing only in the Madrid derby and with the potential to keep clean sheets (8 this season). I would be with the know how of Atl Madrid to keep Sociedad to that winless run.
18:45 - Huesca v Levante - 2.56 Huesca
- Newly promoted Huesca and 2.56 the favourite. I am afraid I am going to leave this to the in-play stats. We have seen with recent Europe wide performances from Spezia and Koln that newly promoted sides are unpredictable. And the market agrees with me here.
21:00 - Villarreal v Athletic Bilbao - 2.04 Villareal
- I thought 2.10 was generous for Villareal last match and they brought home the goods. Their home form could suggest same with this 2.04 quote today.
- 4th in the league and under Emery, Villareal have a solid look about them, particularly at home. Only 1 loss all season came away at Barcelona. A run of 4 consecutive home wins did end with 2 consecutive draws but still they look tough to beat at home.
- 4 draws in 5 matches though for Villareal is a sequence we would be keen to see end. They have scored and conceded in 5 of their last 6 matches but have, so far, looked reliable for an equaliser when conceding first.
- Villareal have not met 3rd - 12th at home so a gap there. They play 10th today.
- Villareal scored 5 goals at home 60th minute onwards. Remember that in-play if the match is a draw or if they are losing coming to the hour mark.
- No win in 6 away for Bilbao should add to the confidence in Villareal getting something today.
- They have conceded in their last 8 so are unlikely to win to nil.
- Angles? All in all we have an unbeaten home team v an away side without a win in 8. I like Villareal and expect them to retain their unbeaten home form.
21:00 - Valladolid v Barcelona - 1.46 Barcelona
- Now this will be a litmus test of Barcelona's revival. Doing the business at home, bar that 2-2 v Valencia who simply ALWAYS turn up when they meet Barcelona, this is the first away fixture of this mini revival.
- 5th December saw an embarrassing 2-1 loss to newly promoted Cadiz for Barca but since then, 2 wins and a draw at home.
- 3 losses and a draw away for Barca strictly on form but as I say, they are undergoing a mini-revival under Koeman, albeit at home.
- They meet a Valladolid with Win, Draw, Win, last 3 at home. Only 1 loss in 6 was away at Atl Madrid. Significant that one of the big 3 should be the team to end a sold recent run?
- Barca are given a chance today as Valladolid have not kept a clean sheet.
- Certainly away, Valladolid have lost to the top 4 without scoring and at home, drew 1-1 v Sociedad who are 3rd. That may be a signal that the big guns are too much of a hurdle despite that unbeaten home run of 2 wins and a draw.
- Angles? The question we need to answer here is whether Barca's recent home revival can translate away where they are on a run of 3 defeats and a draw. I think it can and remember Valladolid are yet to keep a clean sheet so Barca should get a helping hand in scoring today. I would say score draw best case for Valladolid if their 1-1 v Sociedad at home is anything to go by.
15:30 - Fortuna Sittard v RKC Waalwijk - 2.28 Fortuna Sittard
- Sittard are poor but are on a run of 2 wins and a draw, the only 2 wins all season.
- No 0-0 at halftime at home for Sittard yet.
- The Challenge Table reveals Sittard may have a chance. 14th v 13th today. Sittard are unbeaten home and away v 10th and lower and have score drawn all matches. If this pattern continues, then they should have an ability to come back from behind if RKC were to score first.
- To make our lives a little more difficult, RKC themselves have a score draw and 2 wins record v 11th and lower.
- Notably, for me, RKC have not scored more than 1 goal v 5/6 away matches and that may be their Achilles Heel with Fortuna on that unbeaten run and unbeaten v 10th and lower.
- Angles? An interesting clash where both teams could score and RKC could max out at one goal, allowing Sittard to secure a score draw at least and keep this unbeaten run going.
17:45 - Emmen v - FC Utrecht - 1.74 Utrecht
- No win for Emmen this season plays an obviously talented Utrecht making a pig's ear out of their season, with 4 1-1 draws in 5 matches, and no win in 7 matches.
- 2 consecutive draws for Emmen.
- Utrecht have scored in all bar 1 away match so should get on the scoresheet today.
- Both sides have no win in 6 (Emmen home and Utrecht away).
- 18th (bottom) v 10th is probably the reason why Utrecht are favourite today.
- Utrecht have only 1 defeat outside of the top 2 and that may be enough for us to expect them not to lose. 2 sides finding winning hard.
19:00 - PSV v VVV Venlo - 1.16 PSV
- Only 1 loss for PSV this season.
- 6/6 at home and no wonder the market is confident.
- They have scored in all matches.
- They have only failed to score that 2nd goal once at home.
- PSV have had only 1 0-0 at halftime all season.
- 100% win record v 9th and lower and PSV play 15th today.
- With VVV conceding 2+ goals (and 13 v Ajax) v the top 6, that is the expectation today. They have conceded 2 or 3 goals in all bar 1 away.
- Angles? Remember Ajax at the weekend? If this PSV are 0-0 after 20 minutes, back 1-0, 2-0, any unquoted in the halftime score market. Ajax 0-0 20 mins, 4-0 halftime for a payout far higher than 1.16!
- We expect 2 goals bare minimum from PSV today in what should be a comfortable evening for them.
20:00 - FC Twente v Sparta Rotterdam - 2.1 Twente
- Only 3 defeats for Twente this season but they have lost their last 2 home matches.
- They have failed to score only once so we should expect a goal from them at least.
- They play a Sparta whose winning is all coming recently. 4 wins in 6 matches, and 2 wins in 3 away will make this a competitive match.
- 6th v 9th here. Twente have lost to 7th and 10th but are strangely unbeaten v the top 5 so the form lines are a little muddled.
- Notably, Sparta have done all of their winning v 13th and lower.
- Angles? The latter piece of form might seal Sparta's fate. Their form has been excellent recently but put into context the wins are all coming v 13th and lower and they meet 6th today. Twente have oddly lost to 7th and 10th but are unbeaten v the top 5 and that may see them at least draw and not lose today. They have conceded last 8 matches so may be able to equalise of Sparta score first today.