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The football competitions offered to us this week just gone have not been the most appetising at first glance…

  • Early-round Champions League
  • Early-round Europa League
  • Scottish League Cup

Hang on though. There is no need to dismiss these competitions out of hand simply because we cannot do traditional form research.

There is a solution… In-play stats.

I have mentioned this subject in the past but feel I should remind you where to access in-play stats for free – so that you are ready not only for competitions like those above, but also for the beginning of the new football season, where there is quite obviously zero form to work from.

There are two free websites I use for in-play stats…

Flash Score

Where you see the words ‘Live Centre’ next to a scoreline at this website, you’ll know that there are free in-play stats available. Click on ‘Live Centre’, then ‘Statistics’ and that will take you to the live stats.

William Hill

Yes, the old enemy provides excellent statistics. Click on the in-play match of interest.

Click on the graph icon.

You’ll see all of the stats you need.

I focus on shots on target, shots off target, and corners. Sometimes I look at dangerous attacks, but really they are hard to quantify: when does an attack become a dangerous attack?

A team with overwhelming shots and corner count is a team doing the most attacking.

So , please make sure you are au fait with in-play stats: at this early stage of the season, you must use them in lieu of any form research.