A warning regarding friendlies. They are by their nature experimental and not must wins so bet with that in mind. Man City losing at 1.17 odds and drawing at 1.36 odds attest to the sometime sloven attitude to these matches. They are NOT RELIABLE BETTING MEDIUMS.

Arsenal touched down in Kuala Lumpur without Robin Van Parsnips. And there’s the 2nd qualifying round of the Champions League this evening, so let’s sift through the inplay coupon at Betfair.

2.45pm – Malaysia XI v Arsenal – 1.11 away. I seem to remember an Arsenal pre season last year where they drew 1-1 with Hangzou priced 1.07 so 1.11 is ultimately layable if treated as a lost cause , in the hope that…….

Arsenal have only lost 2 friendlies though since 2009 and they were against Valencia and Benfica. Worse case today for 1.11 layers will be a draw.

Under normal circumstances, 1.11 equals a 3/4 goal minimum haul for Arsenal.

4.30pm – Ventspils v Molde – 1.63 away – Champions League 2nd qualifying round. Is there anything to justify the away side’s price?

In 6 of Ventspils last 7 matches in all competitions, one team has failed to score. Ventspils are from Latvia. Only 2 defeats in last 12 home matches in all competitions. 8 clean sheets in last 12 home matches in all competitions. That is quite impressive but of course the opposition today an unknown in comparison to domestic competition.

6 unders in the last 7 home matches in all competitions.

15 without a draw in the Champions League for ventspils. They have lost the last 4 competitions.They have conceded 2 or more in the last 4 competitions. No draw at home in CL for Ventspils.

Molde are a Norwegian team. How does their league compare with the Latvian?

Only 3 draws in 34 matches for Molde -again that lack of a draw could be a real angle in here.

Molde have lost only 1 of their last 7 away matches in all competitions.

Molde are debuting in the Champions League this evening. Could that make the 1.62 away price vulnerable?

At any rate, both sides like avoiding draws. That is perhaps an angle in what is a difficult match to decipher because these teams have never met before; they’re from 2 different leagues; one is a debutant in the Competition.

5pm – Hamburg v Barcelona – 1.82 away – now that’s a collector’s item. Barcelona backable at 1.82!! Glass Half full see this as an early Xmas present. Glass half empty remind us this is a friendly.

Let’s look at both teams’ form in friendlies.

Only 1 defeat in last 11 for Hamburg in all competitions was a 1-0.

7 out of 7 friendlies have been over 2.5 goals. Single loss in soccerway.com friendlies list came against Valencia, another Spanish side, and that was a 1-2.
Both sides have scored in all of Hamburg’s friendlies.
A difficult Barca to predict as they have a new manager, albeit he was the number 2 under Guardiola who has inexplicably become Asian brand ambassador for Castrol Edge!! These prostitutes for money!!!

Barca have a limited pre season with 5 matches booked. They have not drawn any of their last 7 friendlies. 6 of last 8 were over 2.5 goals, the remainder 2 goal matches. 3 draws and 3 wins in soccerway’s recorded Barca away friendlies since July 2009.

Consensus here over 2.5 goals with a possibility of both sides scoring. Lay the first scorer, particularly if Hamburg? As ever this is a friendly, team news is key, and a new manager may play Barca differently than under previous incumbent.

5pm – Red Bull Salzburg v F91 Dudelange – 1.09 home – another Champions League second round qualifier. Austria v Luxembourg and the bookies expect 3/4 goals + from Red Bull this evening.

11 clean sheets in last 14 matches suggest Red Bull could pull off same against infinitely poorer league opponents. Potential win to nil therefore?

7 clean sheets in last 8 at home and 6 consecutive clean sheets may back that up.

BUT both sides have scored in 5 of red Bull’s last 6 Champions League matches.

Last 4 all over 2.5 goals.

Dudelange hard to quantify against the opponents Red Bull have faced in the CL previously.

It’s actually 1-0 to Dudelange from the first leg it would seem so this makes it doubly important that Red Bull win.

That goal came in the 75th minute which might suggest a park the bus tactic from Dudelange.

Tough to judge. 1.09 is layable if we argue that Dudelange’s 1-0 home win was not a fluke. i.e. that they can defend for long periods.

If 0-0 for a concerted period, then back Red Bull at hopefully better odds in play.

Highly speculative is the 0-0 back to lay trade in the hope the Dude’s park may Luxembourg big buses.

Note Red Bull at home have not conceded in 6 consecutive matches.Dudelange may not score away.

6pm – Ekranas v Shamrock Rovers – 2.48 home – 0-0 from the first leg and all to play for for the boys in Green.

Ekranas have not been defeated in their last 22 matches in all competitions, keeping 15 clean sheets.

They are used to winning and scoring 2+ domestically in Lithuania at home.

Their last 3 champions league matches have all been under 1.5 goals with 2 1-0 wins and a 0-0.

5 draws in last 6 for Shamrock Rovers in all competitions includes 2 consecutive 0-0’s. The probability of another 0-0 diminishes with each consecutive match.

Experience in the CL limited to 5 matches for Shamrock. 4 of those 5 matches were under 1.5 goals. Away from home 0-0 and 1-0 loss in CL.

Speculators might like the 0-0 back pre match to hope for continued defensive dominance. Backing under 1.5 goals is always precarious but might have legs.

Good luck Shamrock Rovers. Advantage Ekranas for me to be honest, given their home record in all competitions.

6pm – Oviedo v Real Madrid – 1.16 away – another lucrative pre season tour begins for the whites.

Oviedo are 2nd tier.

No real record of friendlies for Oviedo makes them difficult to read.

Only 3 defeats in last 18 at home for Oviedo includes 11 clean sheets.

Real Madrid have won 13 of their last 14 friendlies. In 7 of the last 9 matches, the opponent has scored just a single goal. In away friendlies, Real have scored 5-3-2-5-0-4-3-2-3-2-7-6 so they obviously have a professional mentality towards these matches.

1.16 looks right in light of this and speculators should load on goals in the hope they rain in Spain.

6pm – Schalke v AC Milan – 2.16 – tough to call this one and I will leave it alone.

6pm – Sheriff Tiraspol v FC Ulisses – 1.31 home – 2nd round Champions League and Sheriff are 0-1 ahead from the away leg ( away goals count in 2 legs?). They are mightily short priced considering it took until the 61st minute for them to break Ulisses.

10 clean sheets in last 14 in all competitions for Sheriff.
Sheriff will struggle in this Champions League – they lost twice to Basel before their win over Ulisses.

As that famous song goes “Ulisses, Ulisses, who the f*ck are Ulisses?”

An Armenian outfit. How much do we read into the fact that, at home, they held out for an hour? This is their debut in the CL.

The key to this is that 1-0 from the first leg. Was it a sign of Ulisses being robust in defence? Was it Sheriff doing enough. 1.31 will be layable based on your reading of that first leg.

More to follow in another post.