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The return of league football and we are getting to crunch time in Leagues throughout Europe. The key is to know the teams with motivation (to win the league, enter the play-offs, avoid relegation) from those whose season is over. Nothing to gain, but no relegation to haunt them. The first match below is fitting. Both sides are down!

19:00 - Achilles 29 v Dordrecht - 2.4 Achilles

  • 3-0 to Dordrecht the last time these 2 teams met.
  • This is 20th (bottom) v 19th in the Dutch Juliper League.
  • Both of these sides are relegated (although I may have to phone the lovely Rachel Riley from Countdown to check my maths, amongst other things).
  • I will leave this match alone from a trading perspective.

19:00 - Almere City v De Graafschap - 2.58 Almere

  • 4-1 De Graaf the last time these 2 met. You know by now that odds such as these suggests the market cannot split the teams.
  • This is 6th v 13th in the Dutch Eerste Divisie.
  • I would suggest the De Graaf's season is over with 3 matches remaining. Nothing to gain, and no relegation worries.
  • All to play for, for Almere City who have a play off place within their grasp with 3 matches remaining. Basic research here but a bent towards the motivated side Almere.

Almere City stats

  • Only 2 losses in 12 matches.
  • 3 consecutive home wins scoring 3-2-2- goals.
  • Failed to score in only 3 matches.
  • Scored and conceded in 4 of their last 5 matches.
  • No 0-0 this season.
  • All defeats at home have come v the top 3.

De Graaf stats

  • 9 wins, a draw and 2 defeats in 12 matches suggests De Graaf are still up for it, but with dwindling motivation, will that continue today?
  • De Graaf have scored 2 goals at least in each of their last 10 matches.
  • 3-2-2-2-2 scored in recent aways with a 3-2 and 2-2 in recent away matches.
  • Not beaten a top 11 side away from home.
  • Only 2 away wins perhaps puts that amazing recent run into perspective.

Conclusions

  • Motivated at home plays nowt to play for away from home.
  • De Graaf have been in rude health of late, scoring 2 goals in each of their last 10 matches but the fact remains that they are yet to beat a top 11 side away from home. So that recent solid run needs a context.
  • I do think both teams could score today given Almere's very recent record but I do think that they have the requisite motivation not to lose.
  • Old faithful 2-2 is in-play as a trading angle for those of you noting Almere's 3-2-2 in recent home matches and De Graaf scoring those 2 goals in each of their last 10 matches (albeit acknowledging no win v top 11 away).

19:00 - Telstar v Jong Utrecht - 2.1 Telstar

  • 2-1 Utrecht the last time these 2 met.
  • This is 15th v 18th in the Dutch Eerste Divisie.
  • Telstar are 6 points from relegation and with 3 matches remaining, can conceivably fall into the zone, especially as they play the side in 3rd bottom spot.Utrecht will remain 3rd bottom even with a win today.
  • Just basic research today given this is a likely relegation six-pointer.
  • Only 2 wins in 11 for Telstar. They should be grateful for that 6 point gap with poor form like this.
  • Only 1 loss in 6 at home for Telstar came v 2nd in the league so it's not all doom and gloom.
  • Telstar are unbeaten at home v 12th and lower albeit drawing v bottom 2.
  • Only 2 wins in 11 matches for Jong Utrecht. Poor stuff.
  • 4 defeats and a draw in their last 5 away.
  • Only 3 clean sheets for Jong Utrecht so make life difficult for themselves.
  • Jong have conceded in their last 17 away.
  • Only 1 away win for Jong Utrecht.
  • Note that Telstar are safe with a win today (the lovely Rachel Riley on speed dial in case the maths needs checking) and I think they meet the right team at the right time.
  • Jong Utrecht are highly likely to concede and not win today. Telstar are in good recent home form and are unbeaten at home v 12th and lower.
  • I must oppose any Jong Utrecht lead and I do expect Telstar to perform.

19:00 - Heerenveen v Willem II - 1.78 Heerenveen

  • 2-1 Willem II in the last head to head. Both teams have a history of scoring in this fixture.
  • This is 8th v 11th in the Dutch Eredivisie.

Heerenveen 100% stats

  • 3 matches remain this season and I think Heerenveen can qualify for a European Competition play-off place.
  • Unbeaten at home v 7th and lower.

Heerenveen other stats

  • Only 2 wins in 13 matches were 3-0 and came at home.
  • 8 consecutive over 2.5 goals matches.
  • Failed to score in only 4 matches.
  • 8 0-0's at halftime at home.
  • 21 of 25 goals scored at home came 2nd half.
  • 17 goals scored at home last 1/2 hour of matches.

Willem II 100% stats

  • No draw away v top 9.

Willem II other stats

  • 3 defeats in their last 4 matches.
  • 7 0-0's at halftime away.
  • Only 2 away wins v top 13 came v Ajax and Vitesse.

Conclusions

  • The season is still alive for both sides. Heerenveen are near play-off places. Willem II are too near the relegation places.
  • On form we should expect goals today, and perhaps another over 2.5 goals match. So note that if 0-0 at halftime.
  • Heerenveen are in really poor form but the fact remains that they only tend to lose to the top 7 so should remain unbeaten today.
  • Heerenveen are a very strong scoring side 2nd half so note that if 0-0 or 0-1 at halftime.
  • A relatively high 0-0 % for both teams at halftime so let's hope for that 0-0 and then for goals 2nd half.

19:30 - FC Koln v Hoffenheim - 2.26 Hoffenheim

  • 4-0 Hoffenheim earlier in the season.
  • This is 7th v 3rd in the German Bundesliga.
  • 5 matches remain this season so the Hoff can mathematically finish 2nd. 5th looks best case for FC Koln.

FC Koln 100% stats

  • No win yet v top 4 this season.

FC Koln other stats

  • Only 2 wins in 10 matches.
  • Scored and conceded in 8 of their last 10 matches, losing 3 of the last 4 matches both teams scored in.
  • Only 1 0-0 at home.

Hoffenheim 100% stats

  • Scored and conceded in 5 matches away v top 9.
  • Not lost to nil this season.
  • No 1-0 or 0-1 this season away.

Hoffenheim other stats

  • Only 3 defeats came away.
  • Scored and conceded in their last 6 aways.
  • Failed to score only twice.

Conclusions

  • A good both teams to score pattern from both sides. I would definitely be laying Koln if Koln scored first.
  • Remember the Hoff have not lost to nil this season so if any opponents score first, it will statistically end 2-0 or 1-1 next scoreline.
  • Lay any late 0-0.
  • I would expect Hoff not to lose today as Koln have not beaten a top 4 - that said they have 2 1-1 draws at home v top 4.

19:45 - Norwich v Brighton - 2.5 Norwich

  • 5-0 to Brighton when these 2 met earlier this season.
  • This is 8th v 1st in the English Championship.
  • There are 3 matches remaining this season and Norwich are 10 points shy of 7th so they will not be partaking in the Championship play-offs. If Norwich won their remaining matches, they would only have 72 points.
  • Brighton are 7 points clear of Newcastle and 13 points clear of Reading in 3rd. From what I can tell, Brighton will finish 1st or 2nd guaranteed.
  • This I suspect is the reason Norwich are favourites against a team which has beaten them 5-0 this season already!
  • This makes this match a dead rubber as far as I can tell. I will not be researching it and I would not recommend you trading in it.

19:45 - Nancy v Marseille - 2.14 Marseille

  • 3-0 Marseille in the last head to head.
  • This is 17th v 6th in French Ligue 1.
  • Nancy need a win as they are above the relegation zone on goal difference only.
  • 4th space is still within Marseilles grasp.

Nancy 100% stats

  • Not beaten a top 8 team home or away.
  • Failed to score 2 goals in a match home or away v top 8.

Nancy other stats

  • Only 1 win in 11 matches.
  • Only 1 0-0 at home.

Marseille 100% stats

  • Not beaten a top 15 side away from home.
  • Unbeaten home and away v 16th and lower.
  • Conceded away v bottom 3.
  • Not won to nil away.

Marseille other stats

  • Unbeaten in 6 matches keeping 4 clean sheets.
  • 2 consecutive away 0-0's.

Conclusions

  • Needs must for Nancy so we might see an unexpected rise in their performance.
  • On form though, Marseille should win winning in a match in which both teams might score. I would certainly lay Nancy if Nancy scored first, I would even consider backing Marseille in that case.
  • At their best Marseille could score 3 or 4 goals. Think on that if 0-0 at halftime.

20:00 - Sevilla v Granada - 1.22 Sevilla

  • 2-1 Granada in the last head to head, not quite what the market is expecting this time around.
  • This is 4th v 19th in Spanish La Liga. Sevilla can still reach the top 3.
  • Granada are 7 points shy of safety.

Sevilla 100% stats

  • Unbeaten at home v 3rd and lower.

Sevilla other stats

  • Only 1 win in 7 matches.
  • Failed to score in 3 of their last 4 matches.
  • No defeat in 9 at home.

Granada 100% stats

  • No away win.
  • All defeats away v top 11.

Granada other stats

  • 6 defeats and a 0-0 last 7 matches.
  • Only 3 clean sheets.
  • Not scored in both halves in an away match.

Conclusions

  • Granada desperately need 3 points but their away record is dire. There is nothing there to indicate a double over Sevilla this season.
  • Sevilla are in poor recent form - that may have been Champions League affected. Leicester have relieved them of that concern which may free them up here. They should be winning and maintaining that undefeated record at home in last 9 matches. Granada tend to concede 3+ goals v top 11 in defeat.
  • In the expectation for goals, I would lay the 0-0 in the halftime score market particularly if 0-0 after 20 minutes. Remember though Sevilla have failed to score in 3 of their last 4 matches.