European football midweek preview5th Feb 2018 |
Tottenham Hotspur v Newport County (FA Cup)
Tottenham failed to beat Newport at the first time of asking in this FA Cup fourth round tie, so they have been forced to add another fixture to their schedule in the form of an unwanted replay at Wembley. Since that original match at Rodney Parade, Mauricio Pochettino’s men have taken four points from Premier League meetings with Manchester United and Liverpool, so Spurs will be full of confidence heading into Wednesday night’s clash. Newport, in truth, will simply be looking to keep the scores at 0-0 for as long as possible, but odds of 7/2 on the first goal being netted between the 21st and 30th minutes looks like good value.
Swansea v Notts County (FA Cup)
Swansea’s revival under Carlos Carvalhal continued at the weekend, with Leicester City held to a 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium. The Welsh outfit rode their luck at times, but they have done tremendously well to haul themselves out of the bottom three in recent weeks, with victories over Liverpool and Arsenal highlighting the improvements they have made since the former Sheffield Wednesday boss assumed control. Notts County did well to deny Swansea victory in the first game between these two sides, but I fully expect the Premier League outfit to advance to the fifth round of the FA Cup – if you agree, consider backing a home win to nil at 7/5.
Paderborn v Bayern Munich (DFB Pokal)
Bayern Munich are once again German champions in the making, but they are also gunning for success in the Champions League and DFB Pokal. Jupp Heynckes’ charges overcame Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the last round, with third-tier side Paderborn unlikely to cause the Bavarians too many problems here. While Bayern must avoid complacency at the Benteler Arena, the 9/10 price on the visitors winning both halves looks a sure-fire bet.
Schalke v Wolfsburg (DFB Pokal)
Another of the DFB Pokal quarter-finals pits two Bundesliga outfits against one another, as Wolfsburg travel to the Veltins-Arena to lock horns with Schalke. The latter are enjoying a fine season and will hope to secure a top-four finish in the coming months, while the Wolves have underwhelmed a little but should be safe from the threat of relegation. These teams played out a 1-1 draw in the league earlier this season, and there could be fewer than 2.5 goals scored this week too.
Roda JC v Ajax (Eredivisie)
The 2017/18 campaign has not exactly gone to plan for Ajax so far: not only were they were knocked out of European competition before the group stage for the first time in 25 years, the Amsterdam outfit now find themselves seven points off table-toppers PSV in the Eredivisie. Their title chances are therefore hanging by a thread, and manager Erik ten Hag will know his side cannot afford to slip up at Roda JC on Wednesday. The Miners have only won one of their last seven league outings, so I’m tipping Ajax to emerge victorious in a match where both teams score – that’s available at odds of 13/10.
Birmingham City v Huddersfield Town (FA Cup)
Birmingham held Huddersfield to a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup fourth round last month, and they will now be looking to finish the job on Tuesday evening. The West Midlanders may be struggling in the Championship – despite two victories on the bounce, they are still just four points clear of the drop zone – but they could take advantage of a Huddersfield side who are fully focused on retaining their Premier League status. Town have lost five top-flight games in a row and scored in only one of them, so the 33/20 available on a Birmingham triumph looks tempting.