I found live chat tough last night given the time zone difference. That, and Derby suddenly downing tools 2nd half, and Napoli continuing to struggle to score. 6 odds-on favourites today in the Champions League makes tonight a little more readable (I hope). I will follow the Championship too (but a reminder to you, it is the most competitive league in Europe and I tend not to research this league at weekends).
I hope to tweet from 18:00 if I can stay awake! @drtclub
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE (CL)
The group stages continue today.
17:55 - Shakhtar v Hoffenheim - 2.04 Shakhtar
- Now we have a reason for that Hoff loss domestically at the weekend?
- No draw for Shakhtar in the CL since 2015.
- 4 wins in their last 6 matches.In wins, Shakhtar did concede.
- 5 consecutive home wins, both teams scoring and beating the likes of Man City, Napoli, Roma and Feyenoord. The Hoff have been warned!
- The Hoff are new to the CL, losing home and away v Liverpool last season, scoring in those defeats.
- A real feeling that both teams could score but with Shakhtar's experience telling in what could be a 2-1 home win. Look at the teams Shakhtar have beaten at home in the CL!
- On this basis, lay any Hoffenheim lead.
17:55 - Ajax v AEK Athens - 1.41 Ajax
- Ajaz are unbeaten in 8 CL matches, albeit drawing 4 of those matches. They have not met marquee teams in those matches so the form is not rock-solid. 3 score draws and 3 wins last 6 home matches for Ajax v PAOK (Greek), Rostov, Nice, Sturm Graz, Standard Liege and Dynamo Kiev. As I say, no marquee clubs. They did draw v PAOK which suggests that AEK Athens might be better than their underdog status this evening.
- Only 2 wins in 9 for AEK Athens came v Celtic and Vidi. They scored and conceded last 4 matches. A big gap from 2007 to 2017 for AEK in the CL suggests a revival of late.
- Tough to call. But for me, the value is in laying Ajax especially if Ajax score first given they did draw with Greek side PAOK, and meet another Greek side today.
20:00 - Man City v Lyon - 1.19 Man City
- 4 losses in 5 for Man City in the CL, losing to Shakhtar, Basel, and Liverpool twice.
- Man City lost their last 2 home CL matches v Basel and Liverpool 1-2. Prior to that, 2-1 v Napoli and 1-0 v Feyenoord suggests for me that the odds are far too short.
- But of course it all depends on the opponents.
- Only 2 wins in 7 in all competitions for Lyon came at home.
- Only 3 wins in 14 CL matches for Lyon came v Valencia, and Dinamo Zagreb twice.
- Lyon's last 5 CL matches were 1-0 loss, 0-1 loss, 1-1, 0-1, 0-0. Is this a distinct tactic?
- Whilst City's CL form hardly shouts at us to back them at 1.19, even their home form, there is little in Lyon to suggest a shock unless those last 5 CL matches suggest they can keep City quiet?
20:00 - Real Madrid v Roma - 1.37 Real Madrid
- No Ronny for the first time in the Champions League.
- Only 3 CL defeats for Real since April 2016 came v Atl Madrid away, Tottenham away and Juventus at home (Italian opposition!).
- In 10 of Real's last 12 matches, both teams have scored.
- Only 2 home CL defeats since 2012 for Real came v Schalke and Juventus. Both teams have scored last 6 home matches.
- Win, Loss, Win, Loss, Win, Loss, Win, Loss, Win for Roma in the CL recently.
- 4 consecutive away defeats Roma v Atl Madrid, Shakhtar, Barcelona and Liverpool.....2 of those teams Spanish. Both teams scored in 6 of the last 7 aways.
- If the form continues, expect both teams to score but the Italians to find Spanish opponents too tough for them (see recent away results). A simple angle suggests laying Roma if Roma score first.
20:00 - Valencia v Juventus - 1.91 Juventus
- Instinctively, I feel Valencia are the weak link in their group. They are not what you would describe as a marquee club, a la Real Madrid, PSG et al.
- Valencia were last in the CL in 2015 and ended that with 3 consecutive defeats.
- Juventus were undone by a 0-3 Real Madrid home leg loss last CL and they beat them 3-1 in the next leg. 3 consecutive away wins in the CL last term for Juve. I do think they have too much experience and with CL expert Ronny on board, and scoring at the weekend, Juve should edge this one.
20:00 - Benfica v Bayern Munich - 1.56 Bayern Munich
- A feeling Benfica are out of their depth in the CL. 7 consecutive defeats 2017, failing to score in 6. Somewhat redeemed 2018, albeit 1-0 win, 1-1. 1-1, 1-4 win v Fenerbahce and PAOK.
- With Dortmund beating Benfica 4-0 at Dortmund, albeit Benfica beating them 1-0 at Benfica, there is a feeling that Bayern are simply too classy. 2-2 v Bayern in 2016 at home, it may not be cut and dried.
- Since November 2015, these teams only have beaten Bayern in the CL - Atl Madrid twice, Rostov, Real Madrid and PSG. I do not see Benfica fitting in with this crowd (minus the anomolous Rostov).
- Bayern have conceded in each of their last 14 away CL matches, winning 4 of their last 5 matches.
- I would lay any Benfica lead.
20:00 - FC Viktoria Plzen v CSKA Moscow - 2.42 FC Viktoria Plzen
- An un-appealing contest best approached via the in-play stats.
20:00 - Young Boys v Man Utd - 1.76 Man Utd
- Followers of the live chats know that, domestically, Young Boys are ultra reliable, tending to score before halftime and always able to get that 2nd goal.
- Young Boys historically look out-classed when entering the CL.
- Back in 2010 they beat Tottenham 3-2 at home and lost 4-0 away. But we cannot rely on that form.
- 2 consecutive domestic away wins for United came v Burnley and Watford ending a run of 2 consecutive defeats.
- Last season, Sevilla knocked United out of the CL.
- Apart from an emphatic away win v CSKA Moscow, United were poor, 0-1 win v Benfica, 1-0 away loss to Basel and 0-0 v Sevilla. They will have to up that scoring record if Young Boys decide to revert to domestic type.
- Really, United should be too good this evening. For all that YB are solid for us traders domestically, you fear for them outside safe Swiss league opponents.
19:45 - Sheff Utd v Birmingham - 1.91 Sheff Utd
- 1-1 and 2-1 Birmingham last 2 head to heads.
- 7 matches in, no draw from Sheff Utd, 4 wins in their last 5 now.
- 1-2, 2-1, 4-1 at home so conceding at home but 2 match winning streak.
- No win for Birmingham.2 1-0 losses and a 2-2 away. 3 consecutive draws.
- Birmingham have failed to score in 4 matches.
- Favour the home side based on their scoring and 2 consecutive home wins. I would lay Birmingham if Birmingham scores first.
19:45 - Nottm Forest v Sheff Wed - 1.97 Forest
- Sheff Wed have enjoyed meeting Forest in head to heads. The market gives Forest a chance today.
- Only 1 win for Forest sees 5 draws, 4 of them were score draws.
- 1-1, 1-0, 2-2 at home for Forest.
- 3 wins and a 2-2 draw for Sheff Wed last 4 matches saw them scoring 2 goals.
- No clean sheets from Sheff Wed. No 0-0 at halftime Sheff Wed.
- I am not sure why Forest are favourite here. I could see both teams scoring and it being a competitive match, especially with Wed scoring 2 goals consistently.
- I would back 2-2 pre match in the hope both teams score and we see odds movement with said 2-2.
19:45 - QPR v Millwall - 2.62 QPR
- 18th and 19th currently so early struggles for these 2.
- 1-1, 2-2, 1-0 Millwall last 3 head to heads.
- 4 losses began QPR's season. Since then, 2 wins and a 0-0.
- Only 1 win Millwall came at home.
- Add in the unappealing match odds as well as the London derby factor and this is best left to in-play stats.
19:45 - Middlesbrough v Bolton - 1.46 Boro
- Boro won the last 4 head to heads with relative ease.
- Only 1 loss for Boro came last match. The first concession after 5 clean sheets. Boro have failed to score in 2 consecutive matches.
- 3 consecutive home wins, all clean sheets, albeit 2 were 1-0 wins so limping over the line.
- 3 wins and a draw began Bolton's season but now Loss, Draw, Loss.
- Bolton have failed to score only once.
- At home, Bolton drew 2-2 v 3rd and 0-3 loss v 5th. This is important as Boro are currently 4th.
- I would expect Boro not to lose today. The market thinks this should be more emphatic than a 1-0 win as per the last 2 home matches.
20:00 - Reading v Norwich - 2.68 Norwich
- Another unappealing betting market.
- Both teams have scored in the last 7 head to heads with Reading the recent victors.
- Both teams have scored in Reading's last 4 matches. No clean sheets.
- 3 home defeats for Reading, scoring 1-0-1 goals. Poor stuff.Only win for Reading 2-3 last match.
- Norwich's 2 wins came at home. 2-2-1 goals conceded away.
- 4 0-0's at halftime for Norwich but none af fulltime.
- With both teams score again?
ITALIAN SERIA A
18:00 - Sampdoria v Fiorentina - 2.62 Fiorentina
- Yet another unappealing betting market.
- 2-2, 1-2 Sampdoria, 3-1 Sampdoria in the last 3 head to heads.
- 3 matches in, Sampdoria lost their opener but 2 wins, scoring 8 goals, and conceding none, is excellent.
- Fiorentina began the season with 2 home wins and a loss to a Napoli side Samp scored 3 goals against.
- Defrel is the man for the goals early doors for Samp.
- I will side with Sampdoria not to lose today based on head to heads and the last 2 matches.
18:00 - Helsingborgs v IK Brage - 1.52 Helsingborgs
- 1-1 in the last head to head.
- Only 2 losses.
- Failed to score in only 2 matches.
- 2 consecutive draws.
- 8 consecutive home wins.
- No draw in 10 at home.
- Scored 2+ goals in each of their last 3 at home.
- 100% wins at home v 6th and lower and play 5th today.
- No defeat in 4 away.
- Only 1 away loss .Only beaten one of the top 12 away though - 5 draws, 3 0-0.
- Brage do not tend to lose v top 12 away, but they do not tend to win. A draw is a possible. But Helsingborgs failed to score only twice.
- No draw in 10 at home for Helsingborgs is in contrast with Brage's away draws.
- I will side with Helsingborgs not to lose but am aware Brage could engineer a 0-0. I would lay Brage if they score first.