Don't dismiss the League Cup. I was pleasantly surprised by the readability of some of the matches yesterday. The Premiership sides all performed and their positive performances were there in the in-play stats, enough for us to make some good 2nd half shouts. More of the same tonight please! 2nd leg Champions League is likely to be harder to read this evening. If I can, I will be online @drtclub in time for the League Cup. No promises though.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2ND LEGS
19:45 - Liverpool v Hoffenheim - 1.67 Liverpool
- 1-2 to Liverpool from the first leg. 2 away goals should see them through this evening. Hoffenheim won 1-0 in their opener in Gernany and managed a goal v Liverpool.
- A 0-0 sees Liverpool through. A 0-1 sees Liverpool through. The power of the away goal.
- Hoffenheim we know all too well. A much improved side last season. Their big loss was in defence in the transfer market. They are always a threat but Liverpool will do a containment job this evening.
- Trading angles? With the away goal in place, Liverpool do not need to bust a gut to get a goal so it is hard to see how the match will play out with, as I say, 0-0 and 0-1 suiting Liverpool.
19:45 - Slavia Prague v APOEL - 1.64 Slavia Prague
- APOEL 2-0 first leg lead sees advantage them because of the away goal rule. An APOEL opener tonight sees Slavia requiring 4 goals in order to progress. The first goal scorer will be crucial.
- Slavia were last in the Champions League in 2009.
- APOEL tends to be regulars in the competition but do not go beyond the early rounds. They have a poor away record, 1-0, 0-1, 1-0 last 3 away matches. That will actually suffice today.
- The market expects a Slavia fightback this evening. As I said, the first goal scorer is crucial. Slavia score, they are in it. APOEL score, it should signal the end to Slavia tonight.
- Do we back 0-0 pre match in anticipation of a cautious opener? I tend to trade out if still 0-0 at halftime.
19:45 - CSKA Moscow v Young Boys - 1.82 CSKA
- A 90th minute own goal and the Young Boys woz robbed in the first leg. They utterly dominated the shots on target, shots off target and corner stats in this match.
- CSKA are very lucky boys indeed. They have this away goal as a foundation. If Young boys score first, then it is all equal. If CSKA score first, Young Boys need 2 goals and with 2 away goals they will go through.
- 0-2, 1-0, 0-1 for CSKA in their last 3 Champions League matches suggests they are built from the defence up in the Champions League.
- Young Boys look out of their depth in the competition. They have lost each of their last 5 away matches in the Champions League, but did meet the likes of Monaco and Tottenham and Mgladbach.
- 1-0, 0-1, 1-2 possible speculative correct score angles this evening.
19:45 - FC Copenhagen v Qarabag Fk - 1.78 FC Copenhagen
- Denmark v Azerbaijan. A 1-0 Qarabag win in the first leg is a great start. No away goal conceded. We have the story played out again here. The first goal scorer is crucial to determining this leg.
- If Qarabag score first, FC Copenhagen require 3 goals in reply because of the away goals rule.
- If FC Copenhagen score first, they are on parity with Qarabag but still have the possibility of an away goal ruining their evening.
- The Copenhagen management in an ideal world will be targeting a 3-0 here, in order to create insurance against a Qarabag away goal.
- Copenhagen played the likes of Leicester and Porto in 2016 so have it within themselves to progress.
- Qarabag are actually unbeaten in recent Champions League matches. They went out to Plzen with a 0-0 and a 1-1 at home. Plzen going through on the away goal rule.
- No slouches therefore this Azerbaijani side.
- Another match where I am afraid I do not have an angle to work to.
19:45 - FCSB v Sporting Lisbon - 2 Sporting Lisbon
- Last year, Sporting Lisbon met the likes of Real Madrid, Dortmund, and inevitably came out of the matches with little.
- A 0-0 with FCSB sees advantage Sporting Lisbon today. An away goal will leave FCSB needing 2 goals in response.
- FCSB played the likes of Manchester City last season and lost home and away.
- I really don't know what to expect from FCSB (Better known as Steaua Bucharest).
THE LEAGUE CUP
19:45 - Cheltenham v West Ham - 1.41 West Ham
- League Two v Premiership and the fact West Ham are only 1.41 odds might betray their attitude to the League Cup.
- To be fair to the Hamsters, their recent losses in the League Cup came v Man City, Leicester and Man Utd.
- Cheltenham's sole win has come v Charlton in the League Cup.
- This is a lowering of the sights for West Ham and they should make the most of it, even with the inevitable team changes.
- Considering they have lost their last 2 Premiership matches, a confidence boosting win will help them.
19:45 - Huddersfield v Rotherham - 1.44 Huddersfield
- 2nd in the Premiership ONLY on goal difference, Huddersfield involve themselves in a local derby league cup match v League One Rotherham.
- This is another League Cup match where I, as manager, would exit stage left as quickly as possible and concentrate on the rather more lucrative Premiership.
- 4 losses and a draw for Huddersfield in their last 5 league cup matches. They scored and conceded in 5 of their last 6 home League Cup matches.
- They lost their last 2 home League Cup matches.
- Rotherham played then Premiership Swansea and Villa in 2013/2014 away and lost without scoring.
- both teams scored in their last 3 matches.
- Rotherham has not won an away League Cup match in 90 minutes since 2004 (albeit sporadic appearances in the competition).
- Slight nod towards Huddersfield only based on Rotherham's dire away record but acknowledgement that Huddersfield have bigger fish to fry.
19:45 - Newcastle v Nottm Forest - 1.5 Newcastle
- New season, Premiership survival is the key for Newcastle this season I am sure. If I was manager, that would be my focus, not the League Cup.
- 3 consecutive home wins to nil for Newcastle v Cheltenham, Wolves and Preston North End.
- Forest has not had a draw in the League Cup since 2013. Is this a ready angle? Lay any late draw?
- Forest scored and conceded in 5 of their last 6 matches, with 3 2-1 wins in their last 4 matches.
- 2 consecutive 1-2 away wins in the league cup v Doncaster and Millwall for Forest.
- It is difficult to read the mind of the Fat Spanish Waiter, Rafa Benitez. As I said earlier, Premiership survival is surely preferable to a League Cup run?
19:45 - Southampton v Wolves - 1.59 Southampton
- New managers for both sides will be keen to impress new fans?
- Southampton has the kind of record in the League Cup which suggests they, as a club, are interested in the competition. All wins recently since 2015 bar losses to Liverpool and Manchester United.
- 3 consecutive wins to nil at home in the League Cup against present or recent Premiership teams suggests struggles for Wolves.
- No recent draw for Wolves in the League Cup. 4 consecutive away losses though suggests struggles unless new manager can instil some change in fortune.
- On the face of it, a nod towards the Saints today who seem to embrace the League Cup where many other Premiership managers seek to exit at the earliest.
20:00 - Stoke v Rochdale - 1.36 Stoke
- Premiership v League One.
- Stoke's recent win was v Stevenage so relays little about their attitude to the Cup. They lost to Hull recently.
- Rochdale has not played a Premiership side yet in the League cup recently. Look out for Stoke team news. Surely the gulf in class is too great for Rochdale?
20:00 - Blackburn v Burnley - 2.14 Burnley
- A local derby of sorts between League 1 and Premiership.
- The continued conundrum regarding Premiership sides. Will Burnley field a weakened side?
- Burnley tends to favour a quick exit from this competition. 0-2, 0-1, 1-0, 0-0 last 4 matches, losses and a draw.
- Blackburn has not played a Premiership side recently in the League Cup.
- The value is in opposing Burnley if Burnley lead. They tend to not prioritise the League Cup.