GW 1 – Ones to Watch

Matt: Firstly welcome one and all as we embark on another season of fun and games in The Ultimate Goals, we’re delighted to have each and every one of you with us for what will undoubtedly be more great entertainment and, with any luck, goals, goals and more goals!

The opening few weeks of every season always (always!) provide plenty of turbulence, simply because this game by its very nature is a bit trickier when there’s little to no form to base your selections on. I’m expecting lots of ups and downs throughout August, but particularly in gameweek 1 as i have a funny feeling we’re going to see a superabundance of different x2 teams…….and the law of averages tells us that some players will fare a lot worse than others!!

Tipping teams in this section is also slightly more precarious, but let’s hope we can repeat last season’s excellent form where we got on a roll early doors and pulled out some beauties! Mind you, the fixture list hasn’t exactly thrown up a host of ‘gimmes’  has it!! My very first tip of the 2019/20 season is going to come in England’s League Two, where Exeter City take on Macclesfield Town at St James Park. The Grecians missed out on the L2 play offs by just a single point last season and ironically enough it was a 3-2 defeat away at Macclesfield in April that really hurt their push for a top 7 finish, whilst simultaneously giving Sol Campbell’s men a huge boost in their fight to avoid relegation to the National League. That result will likely have no bearing on Saturday’s encounter, but what will be in Exeter’s mind is the Silkmen’s extremely poor pre-season that has seen them thrashed on a couple of occasions – most notably 6-1 against Sandbach United! I’m not expecting a similar outcome here, but i’d like to think Exeter will find the net a time or two!

We enjoy having the Scottish leagues in play in The Ultimate Goals too and i’m wasting no time in heading in that direction! Inevitably Celtic will be heavily backed in their match against St. Johnstone, but we generally try to avoid tipping the blatantly obvious whenever possible as none of you need us to tell you that the likes of Celtic, Manchester City et al will be a good bet to score on any given weekend! I am sticking with the Premiership however, but it’s Edinburgh rather than Glasgow i’m plumping for as Hibernian face St. Mirren at Easter Road. Hibs have already played a handful of competitive matches courtesy of the League Cup and they’ve been in very good goal-scoring form both in that competition and in their friendlies. The same can’t be said for The Buddies as they’ve struggled through their League Cup fixtures, a 1-0 defeat at East Kilbride being a particular low, and i fancy they’ll be in for another tough afternoon here. If Hibs have any hope whatsoever of at least trying to give the Glasgow sides a run for their money, then they absolutely MUST win games like this! Good luck to you all, enjoy gameweek 1!

Ally: The eve of a new season always raises questions about how teams will perform due to the number of new entrants in each leagues as a result of promotion and relegation, and how various clubs’ new signings will settle in, all of which makes our task of recommending some teams to get among the goals that much harder.

For my first tip this season I’m looking to English League One, where Sunderland host Oxford United. The Black Cats narrowly missed out on promotion last season in the play-off final, having been edged out of the second automatic place by Barnsley’s late run before their play off heartache. This is a notoriously difficult league to get out of, but the hosts have huge home support which can make the Stadium of Light an intimidating place to visit, and I’m sure manager Ross Jack will have his players fired up to hit the ground running and get off to a winning start.

It’s always difficult to know how newly promoted teams will adapt to their new surroundings, but I fancy Lincoln City to get off to a winning start to life in League One against Accrington Stanley. The Imps cruised to the League Two title last season, and have highly rated young manager Danny Cowley at the helm. The club appear to have recruited well over the summer with a mixture of loan and permanent signings with experience at a higher level, and buoyed by a raucous and expectant crowd at Sincil Bank I think we should see goals here.