GW 10 – Ones to Watch

Matt: My first tip this week is quite simply to avoid my tips! Dagenham’s poor show against Chorley last weekend kind of summed up how it’s going in this section right now…….appallingly! Playing a third of the match with only 10 men didn’t help, but simply put that was a bad result for both The Daggers and for me in this game!

Hopefully the good times will be back again this weekend and kicking me off it’s a trip up to the Scottish coast, where East Fife will be aiming to reclaim their spot at the top of the table. The Fifers take on Stranraer at their Bayview Stadium, aiming to get back to winning ways after two recent draws. This fixture has yielded 26 goals over the past three seasons and with visitors Stranraer having shipped 16 goals in their previous five games (one draw, four defeats), including a 6-1 drubbing at Clyde, then we could see more of the same here. With nearest rivals Raith and Falkirk playing one another, East Fife will be looking at this game as a great chance to take full advantage.

Bypassing England altogether, i’m moving on to the Welsh coast now and the Championship encounter between Swansea City and Stoke City. And this really is a tale of two cities and two clubs who were targeting promotion back to the Premier League, with The Swans’ strong start to the campaign in stark contrast to The Potters’ miserable opening ten games…..ten games that have delivered a measly 2 points and left manager Nathan Jones, himself a proud Welshman, very much under the cosh. Swansea haven’t been firing on all cylinders in terms of goal scoring, but Stoke have managed only one clean sheet in the league all season and with each defeat the pressure on both manager and players has steadily increased. It’s not going to get any easier for the beleaguered Potters in South Wales, especially with the home side on a high after their impressive 2-1 victory away at Charlton Athletic in midweek. Good luck to you all.

Ally: I’m pleased to report that my tips are fareing a little better than Matt’s of late, and first up to keep that run going again this week is Scottish League One outfit Clyde, who welcome bottom side Montrose down to the outskirts of Glasgow. The Cumbernauld side have been in good form of late at home, winning their last 4 matches there in all competitions and scoring an impressive 14 goals in the process, including a 6-1 demolition of Stranraer last time out. In fact they have only failed to score in 1 of their previous 20 outings at Broadwood, though a good number of those games were in Scottish League Two before Clyde’s summer promotion. The visitors are poor travellers, having lost 7 of their last 9 matches on the road and conceding 22 goals in that time. On that basis I’m backing The Bully Wee to cement their place in the play off positions, and condemn The Gable Endies to more misery.

Next up sees me on more familiar territory, as Premier League side Chelsea’s recent form has caught my eye, particularly away from home which is the case this weekend as they face a trip to the south coast where Southampton await at St. Mary’s. After a tough start which saw defeat at Manchester United, they have got back to winning ways with successive league wins at Norwich and Wolves, scoring an impressive 8 goals in so doing, as well as an accomplished 2-1 Europa League victory at Lille. Saints on the other hand are still winless at home this season, though it has to be said they’ve had difficult fixtures facing Liverpool and Manchester United, as well as fellow south coast side Bournemouth, and you need to go back to April since they last tasted victory at home. The Blues’ young side seem to be flourishing under Frank Lampard, particularly in-form Tammy Abraham, and I fancy they will ultimately prove too strong for Southampton. Good luck!