EVERTON - LIVERPOOL
I think that Liverpool might get a little more space tonight, than they have in the two recent encounters at Anfield. That is normally the case at Goodison, where the visitors have won on seven of their last nine visits, as opposed to just three, over the same sequence on home soil. Hosts are likely to be unchanged, new signing Jo is cup-tied, so their striking problems still remain. Rafael Benitez might also take the very rare step of also naming an unchanged starting eleven, from the one which earned a fortunate, but morale boosting win over Chelsea, on Sunday, that meant 16 games unbeaten for the Reds. On the road, only Tottenham (twice !) have beaten them in 24 starts in all competitions this season. The win at the weekend, has left Liverpool as Manchester United's main challengers for the title and I feel they will want to build on that and keep the momentum going, against their nearest rivals.
6 points Liverpool -1/4 ball 2.02 asian line.
ASTON VILLA - DONCASTER ROVERS
You all know about my admiration for the visitors and the style of slick passing football that Rovers play. They are a very difficult team to get the ball off and are capable of keeping this close, at least early in the game, they have now not conceded a first half goal in nine games and looked extremely comfortable in the first meeting. Both they and Villa have drawn 11, or 55% of their last 20 first halves and another stalemate at the break is attractively priced at circa 3.20 in places. However, I prefer to go "under" first half goals at the "one" goal line, to lose this bet there need to be two scored and that looks very unlikely.
6 points "under" one goal first half 2.02 asian line.
AZ ALKMAAR - RODA JC
Hosts look far and away the best team in Eredivisie and I must admit to a degree of frustration, that ,after targeting them as potential winners early in the season, we did not back them to win the title, which they look to be coasting towards.
I expect them to win tonight, but this is another game where most of the action might come after the break. Only two of AZ's last 17 first halves, have produced two or more goals and in that sequence, some 765 minutes of football, they have only conceded a single goal !
Roda have toghtened up considerably since the restart after the winter break and despite playing some strong, attack minded teams, have only conceded one first half goal. They will, of course, like all teams visiting Alkmaar, set up very defensively and look to hold on to what they have got.
Second top scorer Ari is missing for AZ and they would surely be happy to ease to even a minimal win, it seems unlikely that there will be a first half goal fest .
6 points "under" 1.25 goals first half 1.80 asian line.