The only big winner yesterday was backing Spurs and laying Dortmund as Dortmund led 1-0. It was rather inevitable given their recent form. Once I didn't mention which I hope you noted....Napoli must win and 0-0 at halftime. They effectively won the second half. 1.13 shots Manchester City 0-0 until the 88th minute. Did you back them late or lay the late draw post 85th minute? Besiktas equalized v Porto. Porto scored first and scored as I expected. Besiktas got the draw they were looking for. And the piece de resistance which had me filling the swear jar to over flowing. Spartak led 1-0. In research I noted they score and concede at home but omitted to lay them late on. Cue a Maribor 1-1 equalizer!
On to today, and I would ask you to read the permutations in the link above. What would I shortlist? Chelsea would be seeking a win in their tight Group C but then so will Qarabag who must win to take Group C to the final match. I do think Qarabag will defend as per the 0-0 at home to Atl Madrid but eventually capitulate. That is my plan if 0-0 at halftime. See Man City above as a template! There are a couple of must wins in Atl Madrid and Sporting Lisbon. Intriguingly where Atl Madrid need a win, their opponents Roma need a draw. I could foresee a 0-0 as per the weekend Madrid derby and perhaps a late late goal. Or a 1-1 with the potential for a late winner, but Madrid have not scored 2 goals in any of their last 11 matches. Must win for Sporting Lisbon as rivals Juventus take on Barcelona. I will try and tweet from 19:45.
In the Championship, I would shortlist the Middlesbrough and Wolves matches. The favourites do look justified and there are reasonable angles into the match.
17:00 - CSKA Moscow v Benfica - 2.22 CSKA Moscow
- Benfica are out of contention in Group A. Man Utd have already qualified with CSKA Moscow and Basel tied on 6 points for 2nd spot.
- A must win for both sides, and d-day for Benfica.
- CSKA have lost to Basel at home and beaten Basel away for contrarian form there. CSKA beat Benfica 1-2 when they visited Benfica. Do note that CSKA have lost both of their home matches in this group.
- I must say this is a weaker version of Benfica than the Portugeuse Primera Liga has seen for a while.
- Benfica have only scored the 1 goal, that came in the home 1-2 defeat to CSKA Moscow.
- A tough match to fathom given the Must-win nature of the match.
- Strictly on form, it is still tough. CSKA have 2 out of 2 defeats at home and Benfica have conceded 7 goals without reply away.
17:00 - Qarabag Fk v Chelsea - 1.33 Chelsea
- Group C is one of the tighter groups with 2 matches remaining. It is mathematically possible for Qarabag to get 2nd spot at least but that requires 2 wins out of 2 and 2nd and 3rd in the group to lose their remaining 2 fixtures.
- Chelsea are a point behind Roma in 2nd. Atl Madrid are floundering in the group so what looked on paper to be a 3-horse race now seems to be between Chelsea and Roma. And Chelsea have the easier match this evening.
- Chelsea are through with a win.Qarabag must win.
- 2 defeats were followed by 2 draws v Atl Madrid. That tells you more about Madrid than Qarabag's capabilities.
- 1-2 v Roma and 0-0 v Atl madrid at home for Qarabag suggests they are in bus-parking mode.
- Chelsea should be head and shoulders above them, as advertised by a 6-0 home win earlier in this group.
- Apart from Qarabag, Chelsea have founf the other teams tougher. They did beat Atl Madrid but a 3-3 draw and 3-0 loss to Roma sees Chelsea 2nd.
- 6-2-3-0 goals scored tells us they should simply outscore Qarabag this evening.
- Do not be surprised with a 0-0 for a while. I would expect class to tell. 6-0 as I say is the clear advertisement for the gulf in class here.
19:45 - Anderlecht v Bayern Munich - 1.3 Bayern Munich
- Group B was always going to be between Paris St Germain and Bayern Munich. There is 3 points between them, the difference coming from the head to head PSG win.
- Anderlecht have not managed a point and follow the traditional for Belgian teams to struggle in this competition. https://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/news/newsid=2511865.html tells us that Bayern are already qualified to the last round of 16.
- A dead rubber is always a worry.Bayern and through and Anderlecht cannot get into the top 2.
- Anderlecht are yet to score and have conceded 15 goals. The minimum they conceded was 4. Talk about being out-of-your-depth!
- Bayern's only loss was v PSG.
- It is up to you whether you play a dead rubber. I cannot see any surprises unless Bayern Munich deliberately field a weakened team.
19:45 - Atletico Madrid v Roma - 1.96 Atl Madrid
- Group C sees Atl Madrid's season imploding. They already seem out of La Liga title contention and are 5 points shy of Roma and 4 points shy of Chelsea but a win today for Atl Madrid will see them in the picture come final match of the season.
- They must win... simple as that, and hope Qarabag do something v Chelsea.
- Roma are through with a draw. Will we see Roma play for a draw? The quickest way to a draw is a 0-0.
- That once reliable forward line of Atl Madrid is floundering. How they wish Diego Costa was back in the ranks and not Fernando ' best before a fecking long time ago' Torres.
- Domestically, Atl Madrid have having trouble getting that 2nd goal in a game. In the Champions League, they scored 0-1-0-1. When they scored a goal, they lost 1-2 to Chelsea and drew 1-1 with Qarabag. Qarabag would have been pencilled in as a 6-pointer and the draws with them see Madrid in this predicament.
- So, no win for Atl Madrid and at home both teams have scored and Madrid not won.
- A 0-0 with Atl Madrid last time for Roma and as I say, they could be playing for that this evening. 2-3-3 goals scored after that match with Madrid and 6 goals v Chelsea suggests a greater threat from Roma.
- Atl Madrid last scored 2 goals in a game 11 matches ago. Since then, they have drawn 7, won 2 0-1 and lost 1-2 to Chelsea.
- I cannot see Madrid winning this evening unless they can score that 2nd goal. Particularly with Roma's emphatic performances against Chelsea.
19:45 - FC Basel v Man Utd - 2.06 Man Utd
- Group A is not 100% finalised but as good as. Man Utd hold a 6 point advantage with Basel and CSKA Moscow 2nd on 6 points. If Basel win their remaining 2 matches and Man Utd lose their remaining 2 matches, then United may find themselves in trouble.
- It is a highly likely set of circumstances. Man Utd win confirms qualification today, as would a draw of course.
- Basel are through if they win and CSKA Moscow lose.
- Basel are yet to draw. They lost to Man Utd, beat Benfica, and won and lost v CSKA Moscow. The Man Utd win over them was 3-0 and as easy as they come.
- 3-4-1-2 goals scored by United. They have only conceded 1 goal.
- A draw is all United require so what chance they display their defensive capabilities and aim for a 0-0 or 0-1? It was 0-1 the last time they played away (v Benfica) and you feel that is the template for tonight.
19:45 - Juventus v Barcelona - 2.6 Barcelona
- Group D is dominated by these 2 teams, one or both of whom will drop points today. 10 points Barcelona to Juventus' 7 points. Sporting Lisbon need a win tonight to make this go to the final match, at least for Juventus.
- Barcelona are through as group winners with a draw. Juventus are through if Sporting do not win and Juventus get a win or a draw
- This is another match where tactics may play their part. Barcelona needing just a draw may set up for that eventuality. Juventus need a win really. They cannot rely upon Sporting losing and they will be set up to win. They lost their pre-Champions League match which suggests full-focus tonight at the sacrifice of 3 points at the weekend.
- Juventus lost 3-0 to Barcelona earlier in the group. They beat Olympiakos and Sporting only then to fall away at Sporting to a 1-1 draw.
- 2-0 and 2-1 at home though augurs well.
- The problem is that this year alone, Juventus have lost to both Real Madrid and Barcelona which suggests the Spanish Giants are a step too far.
- A surprisingly defensively sturdy Barcelona has only conceded one goal.
- A 0-0 draw with Olympiakos away continues the poor goalscoring away. 0-1 v Sporting Lisbon and 0-0 v Olympiakos. Juventus will hope that Barcelona are as quiet in attack tonight.
- This is a fascinating match and the 2.6 odds for the favourite tells you everything. It is devilishly difficult to predict.
19:45 - Paris St-G v Celtic - 1.12 PSG
- PSG have already qualified so I wonder if we will see peripheral players today?
- Celtic cannot finish in the top 2. They can though if Bayern lose their remaining 2 matches and the goal difference is somehow magically transformed.
- This is a dead rubber so watch out.
- 5-3-4-5 goals scored without conceding this Champions League campaign. 1.12 odds suggests 3/4 goals minimum from PSG tonight despite the nature of the match.
- Celtic have only beaten Anderlecht and should not land a blow unless PSG field the kitman upfront with the tea ladies as running wing backs.
19:45 - Sporting Lisbon v Olympiakos - 1.55 Sporting Lisbon
- With Juventus and Barcelona playing each other in Group D, this match is a must-win for Sporting Lisbon. They are still in with a shout final match if Juventus lose.
- If Sporting win today, and Juventus lose or draw, both sides will require a win in their last match.
- Sporting beat Olympiakos 2-3, lost to Barcelona, Juventus and drew again with Juventus.
- On that form, I think Sporting Lisbon look tough to score against. 0-1 conceded at home.
- 3-2-3-0 goals conceded by Olympiakos this campaign. They did keep Barcelona to 0-0 at home but have conceded 2-3 away.
- I do feel Sporting Lisbon should not lose today and that is how I enter this market.
19:45 - Ipswich v Sheffield Wednesday -2.58 Sheff Wed
- 1-1, 1-2 Ipswitch and 0-1 Sheff Wed in recent head to heads.
- Only draw this season came last match - 2-2.
- Failed to score in only 3 matches.
- No home draw.
- All wins have come v teams below them in the league at home. Wins v 11th and 13th too.
- Scored most home goals directly after halftime.
Sheff Wed (12th)
- 5 defeats this season, 3 came within the last 4 away matches but then suddenly they beat inform Aston Villa away from home. That is the Championship in a nutshell!
- Only 3 clean sheets.
- Conceded in each of their last 6 away matches.
- 7 away goals conceded last 1/2 hour of matches.
- We might get some mileage from laying the late draw. Only 1 draw for Ipswich this season.
- I would favour Ipswich today. But then what to make of Sheff Wed beating Aston Villa away?
- If 0-0 at halftime I would expect 2nd half goals.
- You may want to lay Sheff Wed if they lead coming into the last 1/2 hour of the match as they tend to consistently concede in that period.
19:45 - Middlesbrough v Birmingham City - 1.69 Boro
- Only 5 defeats, 2 of which came at home.
- All wins bar 1 have come home and away v 16th and lower.
- All 4 wins came at home, 3 of which were 1-0 only.
- Scored only 1 goal in their last 5 matches.
- Conceded in each of their last 8 away matches.
- All defeats bar 1 away.
- The odds look justified here. Boro are beating teams 16th and lower, and Birmingham are having trouble even scoring. Birmingham have also lost all bar one match this season away from home.
- I must lay Birmingham if Birmingham scored first.
19:45 - Wolves v Leeds United - 1.68 Wolves
- 0-1 Leeds and 0-1 Wolves in the last 2 head to heads. This though is a far more robust Wolves side today under better management.
- Only 3 defeats, 2 of which came away from home.
- 3 consecutive clean sheets.
- 5 wins in 6 at home.
- Failed to score only twice.
- 2 defeats came v the current top 3.
- 7 of 8 goals conceded at home came 2nd half.
- Scored first in 7/8 at home.
- All 7 defeats have come within the last 10 matches.
- 4 defeats in 5 away.
- No draw in 14 matches.
- Have beaten 5th and 7th away but clearly out of form. I don't know the league that well but I think they have a new manager?
- Leeds have hit a very poor run at precisely the wrong time and on form, Wolves should be eyeing another win today.
- Wolves tend to score first at home and if conceding, concede 2nd half. We are unlikely to see any angles if Wolves continue to score first. I would be keen to lay Leeds if Leeds led at any stage.
- Lay any late draw given Leeds are avoiding them at the moment.