THE boss Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) has trawled through his big book of stats to unearth the best value Anytime Goalscorer from Tuesday's football.
Hoffenheim v Shakhtar Donetsk | Tuesday 27th November 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport
Tuesday night’s tie between Hoffenheim and Shakhtar Donetsk could be one of the most watchable matches, not just from this week’s Champions League card, but from the entire group-stage. If the matchday one encounter from Ukraine is anything to go by, another exciting and entertaining encounter awaits.
As it now well documented in this parish, Hoffenheim have been a dream for goals-based backers since baby-faced 31-year-old Julian Nagelsmann arrived in the hot-seat. The Sinsheim club only know one way to play, and that’s with the handbrake off and all guns blazing in the attacking third.
TSG are now averaging 1.89 goals per-game across their 94 Bundesliga matches since Nagelsmann took charge, failing to score in only 7/94 (7%). Hoffe have notched at least twice in exactly half, even scoring three times or more on 13/47 (28%) occasions. In the Champions League they’ve scored eight in four fixtures.
On Saturday, Die Kraichgauer chucked away a two-goal advantage to draw 3-3 at Hertha Berlin with Andrej Kramaric getting on the scoresheet but also guilty of a few missed opportunities that could have put the game to bed. Despite his wayward finishing, the Croatian still appeals at 31/20 (Marathon) to score here.
The World Cup finalist has netted in three of his last four Bundesliga or Champions League appearances for Hoffenheim, grabbing seven goals in 13 appearances across both competitions in 2018/19. Take his on-field time into account and Kramaric is averaging 0.63 goals per-game this season.
Playing just off the front man, the versatile left-sided forward is confident in front of goal, firing in at least four attempts in eight of his 13 appearances whilst averaging 3.85 strikes per-90 minutes, of which 44% are on-target. Even though are large proportion are long-rangers, those shots are still generating an average xG per-game of 0.58.
Shakhtar have shipped two or more goals in all four of their Champions League outings this season and only silenced Malmo in their last 19 matches at this level when excluding qualifiers. The Ukrainian giants were second-best in the reverse meeting, conceding six on-target attempts and may be overrun in Germany.
Leeds v Reading | Tuesday 27th November 2018, 19:45
Leeds were forced to field two debutants on Saturday as youngster Will Huffer started between the sticks following injuries to goalkeepers al Blackman and Bailey Peacock-Farrell. Meanwhile, Finnish defender Aapo Halme featured at centre-half with Pontus Jansson, Luke Ayling and Gaetano Berardi crocked.
Manager Marcelo Bielsa refused to rule Peacock-Farrell and Jansson out of contention for Tuesday night’s fixture with Reading but the likelihood of both returning to the fold looks unlikely at the time of writing. That should encourage a Royals side that failed to fire in a goalless draw with Wigan at the weekend.
The Berkshire boys didn’t register a shot on-target at the DW Stadium until the hour mark when Yakou Meite saw an effort blocked by the Latics keeper. The Ivorian also hit the outside of the post in one of Reading’s rare forays into the final-third, but Paul Clement will surely expect more this midweek against a Leeds’ makeshift defence.
Bristol City certainly didn’t take advantage of United’s backline selection woes, landing a sole on-target effort and managing just seven attempts across the whole contest. However, the game was in the balance until Josh Brownhill’s 55th minute red card and Reading should be encouraged to get at the Whites here.
Leeds have been marked up at miniscule odds due to their overwhelmingly excellent performance data that overshadows the Royals’ numbers. But I’m unwilling to trust the West Yorkshire outfit despite the realisation that they could and probably should run out victorious at Elland Road.
Instead, I’m taking a chance on Reading forward Meite getting on the scoresheet at bulbous 17/4 (Betway) odds. The Royals have found the back of the net in 13/18 (72%) of their Championship outings, including 6/9 (67%) road trips. The visitors have also notched in four of their six trips to top-half teams this term.
Meite – surplus to requirements in the summer – has been Clement’s most reliable attacking threat this season, averaging over three shots per-game, half of which have found the target. The 22-year-old has generated 0.48 xG per-game and scored six in six since the October international break.
His 17/4 odds imply just a 19% chance of scoring, which appeals considering more recently he’s attempted 32 shots at goal over his last eight league appearances, 16 of which were on-target with an xG of 0.64.
Exeter v Macclesfield | Tuesday 27th November 2018, 19:45
Exeter are rated just a 7/10 chance to see off rock-bottom Macclesfield at home on Tuesday night. Since the start of last season, the Grecians have claimed top honours in 20/32 (63%) of their St James’ Park outings in League Two and they’ll undoubtedly have plenty of support this midweek.
Why is the 7/10 significant? Well the price suggest Exeter win this contest 59% of the time, but their standout leading goalscorer Jayden Stockley can be backed to score at anytime at 7/5 (Betway), odds that imply a 42% chance of getting on the scoresheet. That’s a reasonable difference.
The 25-year-old has actually scored in 9/19 (47%) League Two appearances (18 starts) this term, notching 11 times in total without one arriving from the penalty spot. Include 2017/18 and 6ft 3in striker has netted 31 goals in 63 league outings for the Grecians since arriving from Aberdeen – some strike rate, eh?
Matt Taylor’s men are winless in six (W0-D2-L4) but have been hit by key injuries and suspensions since early October that’s slowed an early promotion push. Even so, the Devon club remain just a point off the top-three and will be keen to enhance a record of W5-D1-L1 at home to teams outside the top-six.
Stockley is posting an xG average of 0.62 per-game, from 2.80 attempts per-match, failing to land an on-target effort in only three of his league encounters. As well as his 11-goal tally, he's hit the woodwork on five further occasions.
Rock-bottom Macclesfield overcame a Yeovil side missing key offensive personnel at the weekend and remain rooted inside the relegation zone. In nine away days they’ve shipped 19 goals and Saturday’s shutout was their first since winning promotion back to the Football League.