I’m looking at games from a range of competitions this week.
APOEL Nicosia 1 v 2 Ajax – Tuesday 20 August – Champions League qualifiers – Over 2.5 Goals
APOEL haven’t reached the group stage of the Champions League for a couple of seasons now. They’re in good form in qualification though, knocking out Qarabag in the last round with a comeback in the second leg. That said, the goals are starting to flow for Ajax. The Dutch champions have scored 16 goals in their last five games, winning the last three. They scraped past PAOK in the last round but they’re gaining confidence. I see an Away Win.
West Brom 2 v 1 Reading – Wednesday 21 August – Championship – Both Teams to Score
West Brom have taken seven points out of a possible nine in the Championship but, whilst they’ve won both of their away games, they could only draw at home to Millwall. Reading lost their first two games but beat Cardiff 3-0 on Sunday. This will be a much tougher task, though. They lost 4-1 here last season and have only won one of their last 20 away league games. I’m going for a Home Win with Both Teams to Score, which has happened in all three of the Baggies’ games so far.
Torino 1 v 2 Wolves – Thursday 22 August – Europa League qualifiers – Double Chance Wolves
I’m looking forward to this game. Torino have more experience in European football, although they haven’t reached the group stage since the 2014/15 season. They’re in good form with three wins in four qualifiers, but Wolves have gone one better. The English side have won all four of their qualifiers so far, scoring 14 goals, and are capable of getting results against big teams. They also have the advantage of having already played some league games, so I’ll back them here.
Koln 0 v 2 Dortmund – Friday 23 August – Bundesliga – Dortmund Win
Koln’s first game back in the Bundesliga didn’t go as they would have liked. They lost 2-1 at Wolfsburg and I expect them to have a tougher time here. Dortmund won all six of their friendlies over the summer and have started the season with three wins in all competitions. That includes their 5-1 win over Augsburg on Saturday, where they scored four goals in the second half. The visitors won both meetings with Koln in the 2017/18 campaign – I expect nothing different here.
Aston Villa 1 v 1 Everton – Friday 23 August – Premier League – Under 2.5 Goals
It’s two defeats in a row for Aston Villa so far. They’ve scored in both games, but defensive errors have cost them (particularly against Bournemouth). Everton made headlines this summer with some big signings and they’ve started the season brightly enough. They’ve kept clean sheets in both league games and I expect them to push on once Marco Silva introduces their new forwards. Having said that, the Toffees have only won three of their last ten away games in the Premier League – two of those were against teams that were relegated last season. I think Villa could get a Draw at home.