It was a coupon I largely left alone. Who would have thunk it? 14 goals in total in the Champions League! The Championship is a league I ordinarily would not research on a Saturday or Sunday so I think that tells you how far down the pecking order I place what is one of the most competitive leagues in Europe. I did feel obliged to research yesterday but on a busy day would not!
We have another English Championship match today, along with second leg Europa League (and remember it is in the second legs that we can find those trading angles). Valencia v Real Madrid - these matches have been real humdingers in the past and this seasons form does point to Valencia conceding at least 2. Whether they can score their traditional 2 goals against Real Madrid is up for debate!
The Champions League yesterday and throughout the beginnings of these 2 legged affairs shows you that goals are on the plate for teams, rather than the expected home team keeping it tight and trying to avoid conceding an away goal! I still cannot get any firm angles into today's first leg matches.
17:00 - Schalke v PAOK - 1.48 Schalke
- A 0-3 Schalke scoreline from the first leg of this Europa League sees an insurmountable task for PAOK. The scoreline does flatter a little as 2 of the goals were scored 82nd and 90th minutes which suggests PAOK sloppiness last 10 mins of the match where a 0-1 80th minute was a tolerable loss over 2 legs.
- Schalke have scored 3-2-2 in their last 3 home Europa League matches but this being a 2nd leg match, they can afford to lose 0-2 and still qualify tonight. Score and they give PAOK a big problem.
- PAOK need a 0-3 just to bring this match to parity and their inability to score against Schalke with home advantage suggests problems tonight.
- Do remember that this is not a must-win for Schalke - it is a must-not-lose 0-4 match for them. PAOK need a 0-3 straight off the bat. Highly improbable.
- I cannot be confident that Schalke will not lose given that this is over 2 legs.
- A warning perhaps? PAOK have scored 3 goals away at Fiorentina latest so there may be hope. A 1-2 might be a scoreline with some trading openings, or a 1-3 which Schalke would take!
17:00 - Fenerbahce v FK Krasnador - 1.83 Fenerbahce
- It really is all to play for between these 2 in the 2nd leg of this Europa League tie. FK take a 1-0 lead into this match and that was a 4th minute goal which suggested a strong defensive bent during this match.
- Fenerbahce must score first in order to bring this match to parity and really must score 3 goals to secure qualification. Why? FK have a 1-0 lead. If they score an away goal and take an aggregate 2 goal lead, Fenerbahce must win 3-2 because FK will go through on the away goal rule.
- So correct scores to think about? 1-0, 3-0, 3-1 with a bias on the home side who are odds on favourite. But this being the Europa League, we really dont know how FK and Fenerbahce match up in terms of ability as they would never meet each other or other teams from the countries ordinarily.
- In these matches I do tend to lay the away side if they score first. If Fenerbahce had odds which showed more confidence in them, I would back 3-1 if FK scored first.
17:00 - St Etienne v Man Utd - 2.3 Man Utd
- A perfect first leg masterclass from Man Utd, saw them score 3 goals and not concede an away goal. Mourinho I am sure will be keen for United to score an away goal, just to put the tie to bed.
- 0-0-1-1-0 scored by St Etienne in this competition in recent home matches and that of course has to be changed this evening. They need a 3-0 scoreline in order to retain parity. The last time they scored 3 was at home to Basel.
- United can tolerate a 2-0 defeat and I personally think they will score today in order to put an end to this as a contest. 1-1, 2-1 appeals. I wouldn't put it past the Special One getting a 0-1.
17:45 - Valencia v Real Madrid - 1.61 Real Madrid
- In the last 6 head to heads, at least one team has scored 2 goals and both teams have scored at least 2 goals in 5 of the last 6 head to heads.
- This Spanish Primera Liga match could be a goal fest?
Valencia 100% stats
- No home 0-0.
- Conceded 2 goals at least v top 5 teams.
- At least one team has scored 2 goals in all home matches v top 14 teams!!
- 100% over 1.5 goals at home.
- No draw v top 12.
Valencia other stats
- Only 3 clean sheets and 2 in a row now.
Real Madrid 100% stats
- Scored in every match.
- Unbeaten at halftime away.
- 100% over 1.5 goals.
Real Madrid other stats
- Only 1 defeat.
- Have scored 2+ goals in 12 of the last 14 matches.
- All wins v 13th and lower with Valencia 15th.
- What chance another 2-2. It is worth a punt surely and a get out if we see an early 2-1/1-2?
- Niggles? Valencia don't do clean sheets but have had 2 consecutive clean sheets. What gives?
- I would have to lay the 0-0 in the halftime score market given the expectation for goals.
- I would have to back real Madrid if Valencia lead, better yet if Valencia lead 2-0!
19:45 - Porto v Juventus - 2.38 Juventus
- The market suggests that this first leg Champions League match is too tough to call.
- 3 consecutive clean sheets for Porto augurs well for this match where keeping a clean sheet in a first leg is a real boost to progress.
- 1-1-1-5 goals scored in their last 4 home matches and a 1-1 v Roma again augurs well for a good performance from Porto.
- As to Juventus, well they are simply irresistible in Italian Seria A and have a strong scoring trend, particularly away from home.
- 4 wins and a 1-1 v Lyon for Juventus. What caught my eye? Scoring 3 v Sevilla away from home. Sevilla are a far more robust team than Porto from the very uncompetitive Portugeuse Primera Liga.
- As I keep repeating with these first leg matches, I cannot really get a handle on the matches. There have been some real surprises to date.
- 1-1 does appeal if I was to make a call but I am a second leg trader by and large in these matches.
19:45 - Sevilla v Leicester City - 1.41 Sevilla
- Leicester are showing relegation form in the English Premiership and it is still strange to see them this deep into the Champions League. They are likely to get a rude awakening away at Sevilla who even take the Europa League seriously, much less the Champions League.
- Sevilla had winning form v Lyon, and Dinamo Zagreb twice but lost at home to Juventus and drew with Lyon.
- At home, Sevilla are yet to have a draw in the Champions League. Their last 2 defeats at home were v Juventus and Manchester City.
- A comprehensive 5-0 defeat away at Porto latest may suggest Leicester will be found out. Wins at home were 1-0 v Porto and Copenhagen, hardly sparkling form. They are yet to play the 2 legged format either so that will present a new problem for them to solve. Leicester failed to score in their last 2 away Champions League matches.
- Sorry to be so non-committal in the Champions League. Dare we take a chance here on Sevilla punishing Leicester City whose form is not the best in domestic competition and poor in the Champions League. Sevilla in the league inflicted the only defeat on Real Madrid. That is what Leicester are up against. I would be laying any Leicester lead here. Otherwise its hard to make any other trading angles.
20:00 - Bristol City v Fulham - 2.4 Fulham
Bristol City 100% stats
Bristol City other stats
- Only 2 wins in 17 matches.
- Only 1 win in 6 home matches was a 1-0 v Rotherham - poor stuff.
- Only 5 clean sheets.
- 73% of halftime scores either 0-0 or 0-1.
- All defeats at home have come v top 15 sides, with Fulham 8th.
- 17 of 20 goals scored at home came 2nd half.
Fulham 100% stats
- Unbeaten away v 18th and lower, with Bristol City 21st.
Fulham other stats
- 2 consecutive 3-2 wins, albeit at home.
- 8 0-0's at halftime away.
- 8 goals scored directly before halftime away.
- Ordinarily I would not be involved in this match but needs must in a mainly European Competition night.
- What can we take from the stats? Fulham really should not be losing today and the odds are a mystery given the league positions.
- Bristol City have a strong 2nd half scoring bias so note that if 0-0 at halftime. I would not expect a 0-0 fulltime given Fulham have 2 consecutive 3-2 matches.