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Paper Talk: PSG Pogba swap?

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Get all the complete signings in the summer 2019 football transfer window from the Premier League, Sky Bet EFL and Europe.

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Free betting tips: Preview for the Sky Bet EFL fixtures on January 26

Our best bets for the latest Sky Bet EFL action
Our best bets for the latest Sky Bet EFL action

Despite it being FA Cup weekend, there's still plenty of action in the Sky Bet EFL. Tom Carnduff picks out three goalscorer bets.


Recommended bets

1pt James Chester to score anytime in Aston Villa v Ipswich at 15/2

1pt Jack Harrison to score anytime in Rotherham v Leeds at 4/1

1pt Evandro to score anytime in Blackburn v Hull at 19/5

For advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record


Aston Villa v Ipswich

James Chester has been a key part of the Villa defence
James Chester has been a key part of the Villa defence

There are just the six Sky Bet Championship games this weekend, but there is plenty of value left on the coupon and we'll start at Villa Park, where Aston Villa have a great chance of ending their five-game winless run when they welcome Ipswich.

The Tractor Boys are bottom of the table, seven points adrift of safety, while they also possess the second-worst away record in the division, losing their last six on the road.

Set-pieces could be crucial here when you compare the contrasting records and success rates for both sides. Villa have scored a total of 17 goals from set-piece situations, more than any other side in the league.

On the flip-side, Ipswich have conceded the most away from home with ten. They also have the third-worst record overall, joint for goals conceded in that area alongside, strangely, Aston Villa.

Town are 19th for goals scored from corners and free-kicks, meaning that Dean Smith’s side don’t have to panic that they may concede against a side such as Ipswich.

One player who could benefit from these trends is Villa centre-back James Chester. The defender has five goals on his tally already this season, highlighting his impact at both ends of the pitch.

He also netted in their 2-2 draw with Hull last time out, that's despite playing through injury. Smith has revealed that he is on a reduced training programme.

"Chezzie has been training only a couple of times a week because he had a niggle with a knee," Smith explained.

"He had an injection before the West Bromwich Albion game. That is how long it has been. He has been soldiering on for us and doing really well. It certainly does not help him that he is not training every day.

"But on Saturday certainly showed the players and us that he can keep getting on with it and do a good job. The goal was a big lift for everyone."

Even when he's not at 100%, he has had little issue in finding the net and is establishing himself as a bit of a goal-scoring centre-back. At a best price of 15/2, the value is there in backing Chester to score again against a side who have proven vulnerable to similar types.

Best bet: James Chester to score anytime at 15/2

Opta facts

  • Aston Villa have lost just two of their last 20 league encounters with Ipswich Town (W13 D5), with both defeats coming at Villa Park (0-1 in February 2017 and 0-1 in March 1994).
  • Ipswich have lost five of their last six away matches against Aston Villa in all competitions (W1).
  • Ipswich have had a player sent off in each of their last two league matches against Aston Villa, with Tayo Edun seeing red back in August.
  • Aston Villa’s 20 headed league goals so far this season is the most by a Championship side since Ipswich (20), Blackburn (23) and Nottingham Forest (23) all scored 20+ during the 2013-14 campaign.
  • Ipswich have become just the third side to have no more than 18 points after 28 league games since Championship rebranding in 2004-05, after Peterborough in 2009-10 (18) and Rotherham in 2016-17 (16) – both sides went on to finish bottom.
  • Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has faced Ipswich boss Paul lambert twice before, both in home matches in charge of Brentford, suffering defeats on each occasion – (0-1 v Blackburn in March 2016 and 1-2 v Wolves in March 2017).

Blackburn v Hull

Evandro (right) celebrates scoring against Aston Villa
Evandro (right) celebrates scoring against Aston Villa

With the likes of Leeds and Norwich grabbing the headlines for their late winners, not to mention their attractive styles of play and overall success, Hull's surge up the table has gone a little under the radar.

The Tigers are enjoying a ten-game unbeaten run in the league with seven of those being victories, a sequence which has transformed them from relegation candidates to play-off hopefuls.

They didn't look like a team that would go down prior to that run. The football they were playing had positive intentions, while the likes of Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki presented real quality in the starting XI.

More importantly, that style has started to reap the rewards and they are a side full of confidence. The club's resilience in refusing to budge on their valuation for Bowen has also lifted spirits, with their key asset seemingly staying this month.

Within the main story, other smaller storylines have started to emerge and the one that interests me is Evandro's return and the impact he has made in recent weeks.

Injury meant that he was limited to just eight league appearances prior to the Christmas period, but his involvement in their home victory over Swansea signalled that he is ready to be a part of the side moving forward.

Jackson Irvine's presence in the Australia squad at the Asian Cup means that the Tigers have been without one of their first choice midfielders for the past three games.

Irvine's impending return does give Nigel Adkins a bit of a selection headache, such is the impact that Evandro has made as his replacement in the short-term.

Both players offer something different. Irvine looks towards a quicker build-up and has an emphasis on being a bit more direct when they go forward. He is a player that likes the ball at his feet with the aim of driving at defences.

Evandro places more emphasis on that creativity. While Irvine does create opportunities, Evandro's strengths are more about the build-up play and finding opportunities for goal - both for himself and his teammates.

That's been highlighted by the two goals he has grabbed in their last three games, which includes one in the 2-2 draw against Aston Villa last time out.

It's not his recent goalscoring record that is the deciding factor in this bet, although it does help. What is key here is Blackburn's weaknesses which limit their ability to prevent opponents from creating chances and stopping players with skill.

It has been on display in recent weeks with the likes of John Fleck and Pablo Hernandez playing parts in goals scored against Rovers. Norwich's only goal in their recent encounter at Ewood Park came as a result of exposing gaps and playing around the defence, giving Teemu Pukki a tap-in from a few yards out.

Given the confidence of this Hull side at the moment and Evandro seemingly loving his involvement back in the side, further impact in front of goal for the Brazilian midfielder looks on the cards.

I'm always a little reluctant to back sides who are enjoying such a long unbeaten run. However, it's difficult to argue against a Hull victory here. They've won four of their last seven away league games, drawing the others, showing that they don't rely on home comforts for results.

With the large majority of bookmakers giving a price of above 2/1 for an away victory, Adkins' men are worthy of consideration when looking for those results-only bets.

Best bet: Evandro to score anytime at 19/5

Opta facts

  • Blackburn have lost just one of their last eight home league games against Hull (W5 D2), although that loss come last time out in February 2016 (0-2).
  • Hull have won two of their last four league matches against Blackburn (D1 L1), as many wins as they’d registered in their previous 14 combined.
  • Blackburn Rovers have conceded the joint-fewest first half goals in the Championship this season (10 – level with Middlesbrough and Sheffield United), but have also shipped the most second half goals in the division (31 – also Sheffield Wednesday).
  • Hull City last went 11 league games without defeat back in November 2015 (also 11), a season in which the Tigers went on to be promoted to the Premier League.
  • Jarrod Bowen is looking to become just the third Hull City player to score in three straight away appearances in the Championship after Abel Hernandez and Jon Parkin.
  • Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray is looking to record four successive victories in the Championship for the first time since a run of five straight wins back in November 2012 when in charge of Middlesbrough.

Rotherham v Leeds

Jack Harrison scores a late equaliser for Leeds against Millwall
Jack Harrison scores a late equaliser for Leeds against Millwall

Leeds have hit a bumpy patch of form in recent weeks but they still remain top of the standings, and could extend their advantage with Norwich coming up against Sheffield United.

This week sees them travel to a Rotherham side who are battling against relegation. They have lost just three of their 14 games at the New York Stadium though and will be hopeful they can continue their fairly decent record against Leeds in previous seasons.

While their home form is strong, Rotherham's weaknesses are Leeds' strengths and the Whites should come out with the three points as they aim to rectify what Marcelo Bielsa describes as the worst performance of the season against Stoke.

As ever, Bielsa has named his line-up in his pre-match press conference and he makes two changes to the side that lost to the Potters. Kalvin Phillips comes into defence in place of the suspended Pontus Jansson while marquee signing Kiko Casilla, who swapped Real Madrid for West Yorkshire, will get the start in goal.

The Millers have shown throughout the season that defending from attacks out wide has been a real struggle and, through Jack Harrison and Jack Clarke, Leeds are well-equipped to expose them.

I'm particularly interested in the 4/1 available with Betway for Harrison to score. The 22-year-old may only have two goals on his tally this season, but Rotherham's defensive issues look set to offer him chances to improve that tally and he's worth a bet.

Rotherham's right side of the defence is weaker than the left, something which has been evident all season. Defending balls into the box from both sides has been an issue, but particularly for Zak Vyner at right-back.

Harrison is comfortable taking players on and beating them on their outside and Vyner could be exposed.

Harrison's performances have come into question at points this season. However, with a run of first-team games under his belt, he has started to improve and there are flashes of real quality - we're starting to see why Pep Guardiola was eager for him to play in a Bielsa system on-loan from Manchester City.

What we have seen though is that eye for goal and the ability to strike. With the opportunity to cut inside from Leeds' left and get a shot on goal, Harrison has a great chance to get himself a spot on the scoresheet.

Rotherham have a selection crisis and Paul Warne pretty much only has 18 players to choose from. His squad has essentially picked itself.

Joe Newell, Jamie Proctor and Ryan Williams will all be missing while Richie Towell is among a couple suffering from an illness bout in the camp.

Semi Ajayi and Clark Robertson are also injury doubts which just adds to the Millers' current problems. It's not secret that they need reinforcements, Warne was only able to name six substitutes in their recent 7-0 hammering by Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Leeds are good for their 4/6 price on picking up three points given the circumstances, definitely a side to consider for the Saturday accumulator.

Best bet: Jack Harrison to score anytime at 4/1

Opta facts

  • Rotherham have lost their last three league matches against Leeds; they last lost four in a row back in December 1960.
  • Leeds have lost three of their last four away games in all competitions versus Rotherham, winning the other in November 2016 (1-2).
  • Leeds United are the first team in the second-tier to score in each of their opening 14 away games within a single season since Blackburn Rovers did so back during the 1984-85 campaign (15).
  • Rotherham United have won a league high 84% of their points in the Championship this season at home (21/25).
  • Only Millwall (14) have conceded more goals in the final 10 minutes of matches this season in the Championship than Rotherham United (11).
  • Leeds United’s Pablo Hernandez’s seven goals and 10 assists in the Championship this season have been worth 18 points for the league leaders, a joint-high in the division alongside Blackburn’s Bradley Dack (14 – 10 goals, 4 assists).

Odds correct at 1030 GMT (25/01/19)

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Most Read Football

Get all the football gossip from the National Papers1

Paper Talk: PSG Pogba swap?

PSG have approached Manchester United about the possibility of directly swapping Neymar for Paul Pogba according to one of Tuesday's UK newspapers.

The Europa League trophy2

Cardiff Met set for Europa adventure

Cardiff Metropolitan University players will look to pass an altogether different test when they become the first British student-only team to play in European competition.

Check out today's Paper Talk3

Paper Talk: Griez lightning

Barcelona are set to complete the £107m signing of Antoine Griezmann after his release clause kicks in on July 1 according to today's papers.

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Get all the complete signings in the summer 2019 football transfer window from the Premier League, Sky Bet EFL and Europe.

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