GW 15 – Ones to Watch

Matt: ‘International Weeks’……they never get any easier! If you’ve read Sam’s GW 14 review and/or taken a look at the weekly standings, you’ll have noted that we had just one visitor to Club 100 and a big drop in the weekly average, mostly caused by one team in particular…..and typically one of my two tips for last weekend, Queen’s Park! We just cannot seem to get any consistent form going in this past month or so! A big scoring combination is long overdue in this section…..

  • Fulham v Barnsley. Two Championship sides with completely contrasting fortunes go head-to-head at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon and all the stats point towards one outcome and one outcome only! Fulham have recorded six straight league wins to go within two points of top spot in the table, scoring 21 goals in that run (7 of which came in one game as they demolished Blackburn Rovers!) and taking their season’s total to a league’s best 44. To add a bit of context, Bournemouth are the league’s second-top scorers on 31 – so The Cottagers really are goal machines! When you have an international striker in the class of Aleksandar Mitrovic banging them in for fun, then it’s no wonder the West London club are flying along – the Serbian recently scored the winner for his country to send them to the Qatar World Cup next year and he’s notched up an astonishing 20 league goals this campaign…..that’s 8 more than the whole of the Barnsley squad!! The Tykes have had a real fall from grace since last season’s play-off semi-finals, winning just two games so far and currently finding themselves as the only Championship side still winless on the road. New manager Poya Asbaghi is a real leftfield appointment and The Iranian might be relieved he doesn’t officially take charge until Monday, leaving caretaker Joseph Laumann to try and galvanise a team who have lost four away matches on the bounce and haven’t kept a clean sheet on their travels all season. He might take some heart from their surprise 3-0 victory at Fulham last season, but a repeat of that result would surely rank as one of the biggest shocks of the season given the clear gulf in class between these teams at the moment.
  • Rotherham Utd v Cambridge Utd. Dropping down a division, another side who are in excellent nick at the moment is Rotherham Utd. The Millers are on a fantastic 13 game unbeaten run in all competitions and their recent home form has been nothing short of sensational; in the three games either side of an extremely rare goalless draw against Wycombe Wanderers in October, they smashed 23 goals past their opponents, including 5 against both Manchester City’s U21s in the EFL Trophy and then fellow promotion hopefuls Sunderland four days later. Most recently they comfortably disposed of Bromley in the FA Cup, so it looks as if the competition is irrelevant, Rotherham are out to score plenty! They also boast the league’s top scorer, Michael Smith, and whilst not quite managing to match Mitrovic’s insane tally, he’s leading the way in League One with 12 goals to his name. Visitors Cambridge are reasonably high scorers themselves, which has helped secure them 22 points in their new surroundings since promotion from League Two in May. However, keeping them out at the other end has been an obvious problem and The U’s have taken a few drubbings this season, not least last weekend’s 4-1 loss at MK Dons, a scoreline that was replicated when they visited Shrewsbury Town three weeks earlier. Mark Bonner’s side did knock out League Two’s Northampton Town in an FA Cup replay in midweek, but that only adds to my belief that Rotherham will do the business here – The Millers have had a full fortnight to rest up since their own FA Cup victory, whilst The U’s have played no less than three times since that! Fatigue could well play a part in this encounter. Good luck to you all.