THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE group-stage concludes this midweek and on Wednesday night Manchester United travel to Valencia looking to secure top spot in their pool. Daniel McCulloch (@DMcCulloch1984) shares his betting thoughts.
Valencia v Manchester United | Wednesday 12th December 2018, 20:00 | BT Sport
These two have endured comparatively poor seasons but their statistics in doing so could not be more contrasting.
Manchester United’s 16 league games have seen 54 goals scored and just three have seen two goals or fewer. Valencia’s 15 matches have featured just 24 goals as only two have seen three goals or more.
It’s impossible to understand this United side in the context of what we have seen from Jose Mourinho over the last 15 years. However, I do believe their European matches have been a lot more in keeping of what we have come to expect from the Portuguese.
To date, the Red Devils have scored just once at home – an injury time winner against Young Boys – and have hardly been electric on the road either. The 3-0 victory away to Young Boys flattered them a little, while the 2-1 victory against Juventus in Turin was certainly a smash and grab. United scored their first goal in the 86th minute, with their first shot on-target, before scoring a rather fortuitous own goal.
Thus far, three of United’s five European games this term have seen Under 2.5 Goals backers emerge victorious. Since Mourinho joined the club, 18 of their 30 European games have ended in this manner.
Given that 18 of Valencia’s 22 games in all competitions this term have seen two goals or fewer, I really think that the 17/20 Betfair are offering on such a bet is too big.
I recognise that the performance data suggests Valencia games should have seen more goals, but the context of this game also gives me confidence that a goalfest is unlikely. Whatever the result, Valencia cannot finish anything but third in the group. United can top the table if they win and Juventus fail to but that is unlikely.
I envisage that word will get around the Mestella early second half that Juventus are winning comfortably and the two sides will see out a fairly drab encounter. Mourinho knows the magnitude of United’s game at Liverpool at the weekend and he will be demanding that his players see the game out rather than exert too much energy.
Many places are offering 9/1 on No Goalscorer but from an outright tip perspective, I shall stick withUnder 2.5 Goals, available at 17/20 with Betfair.
Valencia v Manchester United – Under 2.5 Goals (17/20 Betfair)