Two tough competitions this evening where the in-play stats are key. It is second leg in the Champions League. The League Cup also, ahem, graces us with its presence. It must be an in-play stats based competition given that so many teams, predominantly Premiership, field weakened sides. I would look to Crystal Palace to record a first win at home for new management. That is a standout match. West Brom seem to want to exit the League Cup as early as possible. Watch this match. Derby look good enough to get something away at Grimsby. Those are the 3 which stand out.
The League Cup may yet surprise us as the Europa League did last week, so it is something I will try and follow this evening on Twitter @drtclub. No promises though.
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE - we can get an angle in from the first leg, but still in-play stats are key here.
16:30 - FC Astana v Celtic - 2.68 Celtic
- It's tie over, isn't it? 5-0 Celtic first leg. No away goal conceded. Celtic can afford a 4-0 defeat, hence the odds tonight.
19:45 - Sevilla v Basaksehir - 1.45 Sevilla
- 1-2 to Sevilla from the first leg. 2 precious away goals for Sevilla.
- Basaksehir cannot be dismissed. They are the unknowns, and have broken the big 3 in Turkey.Basaksehir need 2 goals today. 1 away goal will not be enough.
- Basaksehir must win 0-2 ideally to go through. Sevilla need a 0-1 or a 0-0 bare minimum to go through.
19:45 - Rijeka v Olympiakos - 2.82 Rijeka
- 0-1 Rijeka became 2-1 Olympiakos with the winner coming after a late Rijeka red card.
- A good performance therefore from the Croats who have that away goal to work with.
- All to play for today. Rijeka must score first and if holding to a 1-0 win, they will go through on the away goal rule.
- An Olympiakos goal will be calamatous for Rijeka.
- Olympiakos played Croats Dinamo Zagreb in this competition in October 2015 but won 0-1 so there is something there to favour the Greeks who were dire last year in the Champions League but the year before played the likes of Arsenal and Bayern Munich.
19:45 - NK Maribor v Hapoel Beer Sheva - 2.66 Hapoel
- 2-1 Hapoel from the first leg. They conceded the away goal so this tie is still open. Another match where a 1-0 to the home side will see them progress under the away goal rule.
- Slovenian side NK has been solid at home but 4 1-1's plays into Hapoel's hands. 1-0, 1-1, 1-0 last 3 homes. As I said, 1-0 does NK perfectly.
- 5-2, 2-3, 3-1 Hapoel away. Goals goals goals.
- Conflcting messages. NK need to calm it down and win 1-0. Hapoel are happy with a 0-0 today and a 0-1 should kill the tie off.
19:45 - Nice v Napoli - 1.86 Napoli
- Nice's debut in the Champions League.1-1 and 2-2 v Ajax and 2-0 loss v Napoli. Napoli simply too classy at home and the advantage is theirs. An away goal sees Nice needing 4 goals in reply.
- Napoli can afford a 1-0 defeat.
ENGLISH LEAGUE CUP
This competition is tough to get a handle into. It is met with much disdain across the leagues. How will the likes of Swansea and Brighton (Premiership sides) approach this competition? Premiership sides usually field weakened teams.
19:30 - C Palace v Ipswich - 1.33 Palace
- Sometimes the League Cup can serve as a booster? Palace are having a torrid(ish) time in the Premiership. They are yet to win. A win today, for a new manager, at home, could bring back confidence levels for Palace?
- A look at Palace's home form in the League Cup and they are unbeaten since 2011. They scored 2 goals at least in all bar 1 of those matches.
- Only 2 wins in 8 matches for Ipswich.
- A focus on Palace this evening. A match maybe of context. An important first win at home under the new manager. 3 consecutive defeats would be a downer.
19:45 - Accrington v West Brom - 1.58 West Brom
- West Brom do not look like a team who wants a sustained stay in the League Cup. Only 1 win in 7 matches saw 4 matches go to penalties or extra time for the Baggies.
- They look as if they will be playing with a second string side.
- Accrington are League Two so really should not land a blow, even against a second string West Brom side.
- A match which epitomises the League Cup for me. The Premiership side should win but do not prioritise this competition.
19:45 - Grimsby v Derby - 1.62 Derby
- League Two v Championship.
- 5 defeats, a draw and a win for Grimsby - is Sacha Baren Cohen playing up front?
- Derby's 3 recent losses in the League Cup came v Chelsea, Portsmouth and Liverpool.
- There is a suggestion that Derby are motivated enough to cope with the League Two outfit with poor League Cup form.
19:45 - Leeds v Newport County - 1.38 Leeds
- Championship v League Two.
- Leeds only recent loss in the League cup was v Liverpool so there is a feeling they take the competition seriously enough.
- 4 consecutive defeats and a win v Southend for Newport County.
- I think Leeds look like they can be trusted this evening so look to be with them if Newport strikes the first blow.
19:45 - MK Dons v Swansea - 2.04 Swansea
- Swansea's 3 defeats since 2014 in the League Cup came v Premiership sides. As ever with a premiership side themselves, we have to think there will be team changes. There inevitably are.
- Only 1 loss in 6 matches and 3 extra times for MK Dons suggests that they could offer some resistance this evening.
- No strong angles from me. Let the in-play stats guide you with a natural bias towards the Premiership side.
19:45 - Aston Villa v Wigan - 1.79 Aston Villa
- Only 2 wins in 7 for Aston Villa suggests they do not prioritise this competition.
- 4 defeats and a win v Blackpool suggests similar from Wigan.
- Not a match which interests.
19:45 - Brighton v Barnet - 1.4 Brighton
- If I was new to the Premiership with 2 defeats out of 2, I would not be concerning myself with this Mickey Mouse Cup.
- Brighton look competitive in this competition. I am guessing there will be team changes.
- League Two Barnet should ordinarily be too weak for this Brighton side. Their only recent win was v Peterborough.
- Team news important for Brighton. The gaps in the leagues should be enough for a second string Brighton but we have the question of attitude now a Premiership place is attained.
19:45 - Birmingham v Bournemouth - 2.2 Bournemouth
- Birmingham recent losses v Sunderland and Arsenal in the League Cup.
- Bournemouth, Premiership side, are likely to make team changes.
- That said, only Liverpool has beaten Bournemouth in the League cup since 2014.
19:45 - Cardiff v Burton - 1.57 Cardiff
- 3 consecutive extra times in the League Cup for Cardiff suggests the draw.
- Only Bournemouth has beaten Cardiff in the League Cup since 2011.
- Burton are amazingly unbeaten in their last 8 League Cup matches going back to 2010.
- Do you sniff an upset? I would look for a value lay if Cardiff lead. Purely speculatively based only really on Burton's away record in the League Cup.
19:45 - Carlisle v Sunderland - 1.9 Sunderland
- League Two v Championship. Newly relegated Sunderland you feel has bigger fish to fry.
- Sunderland's 4 League Cup losses since 2014 were exclusively v Premiership sides. Does this suggest even a second string could cope with a League Two outfit?
- 3 extra times in 4 matches for Carlisle includes a match v Liverpool so you feel they are up for the cup here today.
- An interesting match and Sunderland's changed circumstances might see them wanting an early exit from this distraction?
19:45 - Doncaster v Hull - 2.12 Doncaster
- Doncaster has scored and conceded in their last 6 League Cup matches.
- They are League One and play newly relegated Championship side Hull.
- Hull's only recent losses in the League Cup came v the 2 big Manchester Clubs. as with Sunderland though, do you think that Hull's negative change in circumstances might signal a change in priorities?
19:45 - QPR v Brentford - 2.66 Brentford
- The odds are immediately off-putting.
- Only 1 win in 9 League Cup matches for Brentford suggests their mind may not be on the job.
- These are 2 Championship sides. I am going the way of the market here and shrugging my shoulders.
19:45 - Watford v Bristol City - 1.65 Watford
- Premier League Watford. Will we see team changes? Only 1 win in 5 suggests they are not taken by the League Cup.
- 1 loss in 5 for Bristol City came v Hull.
- 1.65 looks a tad short for me for Watford. Can Bristol surprise?
19:45 - Fulham v Bristol Rovers - 1.52 Fulham
- 2 losses in 7 in the League Cup v Stoke and Bristol City for Fulham.
- Bristol Rovers only recent win was last match v Cambridge United.
- Fulham look as if they have a marginal interest in a League Cup run.
20:00 - Reading v Millwall - 2.2 Reading
- Reading in the League Cup has only been stopped by Everton and Arsenal lately. It does suggest they give this competition a go.
- Millwall are new to the Championship, and struggling. You feel their season's focus is elsewhere. I would look to a good performance from Reading this evening.
20:00 - Bolton v Sheff Wed - 2.28 Sheff Wed
- Only 1 win in 90 minutes for Bolton in this competition since 2014.
- Only 1 loss for Sheff Wed since 2015.
- Yes, we are unsure of the quality of opponents as compared to today's but on this very basic look at the form, Bolton are favoured.