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Yesterday, today, and tomorrow....not the best set of matches. Competitive Championship, Champions League First legs and Europa League first legs tomorrow.
Take on bottom side Ipswich by default?
What is with 2.68 the favourite in top placed Norwich's match? Does the market know something I don't?
Blackburn to remain unbeaten v 20th and lower today?
Real Madrid surprisingly solid defensively in this Champions League. Will they continue to concede a maximum of 1 goal? It's a good foundation to work from.
Despite losing last home match, St Etienne are robust at home and should continue that today.
Those are the stand-outs for me in a tough day.

ENGLISH CHAMPIONSHIP

19:45 kick offs

Ipswich v Derby - 1.86 Derby

  • Only 3 wins for bottom side Ipswich.
  • 7 losses in 8 for Ipswich who kept only 3 clean sheets.
  • Ipswich not beaten a top 16 side at home/ 5 score draws in 8 matches at home v top 14.
  • Derby are 7th, and have only 2 losses since 1st December 2018.
  • The losses came away.
  • Derby are poor away, or rather inconsistent away. They lost away to 20th, 21st, 23rd, 2 of the losses were 1-0. Where Derby have scored 2+ goals away, they have won.
  • It is a natural inclination to lay the bottom side Ipswich if they lead. Derby have lost 1-0 v bottom sides away. That is always a risk but they have scored in 73% of away matches and should oblige today.
  • You might want to take out 'insurance' if Ipswich lead 1-0 (live chat webinar attendees know how to do this via the lay of the over 1.5 goals market).
  • Derby are noticeably poorer away so note that but may get away with it v bottom.

19:45 - Preston v Norwich - 2.68 Preston

  • 14th v top.
  • The market gives Preston a chance here despite Norwich being league leaders.
  • 3 wins in 4 for Preston sees them in good nick.
  • Those wins came away.
  • 3 consecutive home draws for Preston. Preston yet to meet the top 3 at home, lost v 4th and lost v top 3 away.
  • They are yet to beat top 12 at home.
  • 15 of 22 goals conceded at home for Preston came 2nd half.
  • Only 1 loss for Norwich since 20th October was a 3-4 v Derby.
  • Norwich have failed to score in only 3 matches.
  • No defeat in 13 away for Norwich and a mystery why they are not strong favourites.
  • 7 0-0's at halftime away nearly 47% for Norwich.
  • Norwich are unbeaten away v 4th and lower.
  • 9 goals scored by Norwich last 15 mins of matches away.
  • The odds are a mystery but the market tends to get it right with these odds. I still think Norwich should not lose today. We may see 0-0 at halftime. But do expect a goal from Norwich in particular 2nd half.

19:45 - Brentford v Aston Villa - 2.16 Brentford

  • 18th v 10th.
  • Brentford's unbeaten run of 7 ended with a loss last match.
  • 3 wins in 4 at home.
  • Only 5 clean sheets for Brentford.
  • Brentford have scored in their last 8 at home.
  • Only 1 win v top 12 for Brentford who scored and conceded in all bar 1 of those matches.
  • Aston Villa look like a good trading side IF.....you stick with them regardless....0-3 down to Sheffield United, Aston Villa scored 3 goals post 82nd minute to record an astounding 3-3 draw. You want potential 1.01 lays, you might get one with the Villa?
  • 5 draws in 7 now for Villa.
  • Only 2 losses for Villa since 2nd November 2018.
  • Villa away have not actually beaten any side 13th and lower. They have pointedly failed to score 2 goals v 13th and lower away.
  • It seems all the fun and games with Villa come at home, as away they are finding it hard to score 2 goals. Will that continue today?
  • Only 5 clean sheets for Brentford who have also scored in their last 8 at home - is both teams to score on the table?
  • I would dearly love a Villa 3-3 performance but fear these are only occurring at home. On that basis, Villa are layable if scoring first.

19:45 - Leeds United v Swansea - 1.75 leeds

  • Only 2 wins in 7 matches for Leeds United Leeds have failed to score in only 2 matches.
  • Only 2 wins for Leeds v top 12 at home (Swans are 11th).
  • 17 of 24 Leeds goals scored at home came 2nd half.
  • Only 1 loss in 7 for Swansea came v Bristol City.
  • Swans have conceded in their last 6 away matches.
  • 8 0-0's at halftime away for Swansea is quite high (53%).
  • Leeds are 2nd. Swans did beat 3rd 1-2 away. But that looks anomolous - the only win away v top 17.
  • 13 of 17 Swans away goals conceded came 2nd half.
  • I am not entirely convinced by Leeds at home v top 12, or recent form. Swans for does not suggest they can take advantage, only 1 loss away v top 17.
  • A messy match for me. If 0-0 at halftime, and Swans stats are high, I would expect a 2nd half goal at least.

19L45 - Sheffield United v Middlesbrough - 2.1 Sheff Utd

  • 3rd v 5th. Top 5 clash can usually be tough to predict. Obviously 2 in-form sides.
  • Only 1 loss in 9 for Sheff Utd.
  • 4 consecutive home wins.
  • 8 0-0's at halftime at home is a high % for Utd.
  • They are unbeaten at halftime at home.
  • They lost to 2nd and 4th at home and lost 3-0 v Boro this season.
  • 10 of 13 goals conceded at home came 2nd half.
  • Sheff Utd tend to score first at home.
  • Boro are unbeaten in 6 matches, scoring and conceding in the last 5.
  • 3 wins in 4 away.
  • Boro have scored in their last 7 away and have only lost to 1st amongst the top 14 away. They did fail to score v 1st and 2nd away. Beat 4th and 6th. What of 3rd?
  • Top 5 clash may suggest a tight match. The high % of 0-0's at halftime for both sides might lead you to want to back 0-0 pre match. Sheff Utd have lost to 2nd and 4th at home. Boro have failed to score v 1st and 2nd away but beat 4th and 6th away. Which Boro turns up today?

19:45 - Wigan v Stoke - 2.72 Stoke

  • A very unappealing market.
  • Only 1 win for Stoke in 8 matches. Only 2 wins in 12 for Wigan.
  • Both sides are bottom 8.
  • Wigan are unbeaten at home v 9th and lower.and beat Stoke 0-3 earlier this season.
  • Stoke have 3 draws v 21st and lower. 4 2-2's away v 14th and lower.
  • No appeal for me. Speculators? Back 2-2 pre match given Stoke's record?

20:00 - Reading v Blackburn - 2.76 Reading

  • Another wholly unappealing market.
  • Only 1 win in 15 for Reading.
  • 3 consecutive draws and 2 consecutive 0-0's for Reading.
  • v top 17 at home, only 3 home wins v 6th, 9th and 12th.
  • Blackburn's 4 consecutive wins ended with 2 consecutive losses.
  • Blackburn are unbeaten home and away v 20th and lower. Reading are 22nd.
  • 20 goals conceded away by Blackburn in the 61st+ minute.
  • On seasonal form, is Blackburn's ability to remain unbeaten v 20th and lower home and away enough to side with them today? Particularly with Reading having only 1 win in 15? Do remember though at 2.76 the favourite suggests it's too tough to call.

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

These are 1st of 2 leg matches today making them tough to predict. As it is not over if a team loses.

20:00 - Tottenham v Borussia Dortmund - 2.4 Tottenham

  • Alli, Kane, Dier, Lamela (maybe), are out for Tottenham. I was impressed at the weekend with their 3 goal haul against a normally defensively strong Leicester side.
  • Borussia Dortmund brought in a 1.01 lay at the weekend, letting a 3-0 lead slip v the Mighty Hoff.
  • I do not know how to evaluate the Champions League form of Tottenham as that form was earned with Kane and Alli in the team.
  • In 2018 at home, Juventus and Barcelona did beat Tottenham in the CL.
  • They did beat Dortmund 3-1 back in September 2017 at home.
  • 4 clean sheets in 5 in the CL for Dortmund indicative of deliberate tactics?
  • As ever, the Champions League is tough to call, particularly the first of 2 legs. Will Tottenham be compromised without Kane and Alli? Do those Dortmund clean sheets indicate a possible tactic? Is 0-0 pre match backable?

20:00 - Ajax v Real Madrid - 1.94 Real Madrid

  • Ajax 1-0 loss to Heracles at the weekend was indicative of the importance of this match. My instinct is that this Real Madrid side must have too much experience in the CL to be threatened.
  • Ajax are unbeaten in the CL since August 2018. Highlights? 2 score draws v Bayern Munich.
  • Real Madrid's only recent CL losses came v CSKA Moscow. 6 wins in 7 away for Real saw them concede 0-1-0-1-1-0-0 goals. They have beaten the likes of PSG, Juventus, Bayern, Roma - that is quite good stuff.
  • I must follow my instinct here and side with Real Madrid not to lose today. Ajax have been poor domestically since the Winter Break but we have to wonder whether they have been unduly influenced by this Champions League? I must lay Ajax if they lead.

FRENCH LIGUE 1

18:00 - St Etienne v Strasbourg - 1.94 St Etienne

  • 0-1 St Etienne and 1-1 in the last 2 head to heads.

St Etienne (6th)

  • No win in 3.
  • First home loss came last match.
  • Failed to score in only 5 matches.
  • Scored in their last 9 at home.
  • Unbeaten at home v 5th and lower. 2+ goals scored in all bar 2 in those matches.

Strasbourg (9th)

  • 4 wins in 5 matches.
  • 3 wins in 4 away.
  • Failed to score in only 3 matches.
  • Scored in their last 9 - scored and conceded last 4 away.
  • Only 1 away win v 12th and higher. Scored and conceded in all bar 1 away match v 4th and lower.

Conclusions

  • Both teams could score today with St Etienne returning to unbeaten ways at home. That is my angle today. Strasbourg have 3 wins in 4 away which impresses but have only 1 away win v 12th and higher.

18:30 - Caen v Nantes - 2.6 Nantes

  • 3-2 Caen and 1-1 in the last 2 head to heads.
  • 2.6 odds suggests a tough-to-read match.

Caen (19th)

  • Only 3 wins all season.
  • 4 consecutive defeats.
  • Only 4 clean sheets.
  • 5 losses at home in 6 matches.
  • Failed to score last 3 matches.
  • Conceded in their last 10 matches.
  • Only 2 home wins v 14th and 16th ....play 15th today.
  • 8 of 11 goals scored at home came 2nd half.

Nantes (15th)

  • 4 losses in 5 matches. failed to score in 3 consecutive matches but scored in their last 2.
  • Only 4 clean sheets.
  • 4 consecutive away losses.
  • Conceded in their last 11 away matches.
  • Only 2 away wins v 9th and 16th.
  • Not played the bottom 3 away.
  • Opponents have scored first in 10/11 away.

Conclusions

  • No wonder the market cannot call this. Nantes are poor away - only 2 wins. Caen have only 3 wins all season, 2 of which came v teams at either side of Nantes in the league.
  • No thanks.