GW 16 – Ones to Watch

Matt: December is a particularly hectic month here at TUG, with the gameweeks coming thick and fast. GW 16 offers up a full fixture list across all nine of our chosen leagues, so let’s see what we can come up with.

I’m heading into England’s League One for my opening tip, where high-flying Hull City will be targeting another victory in their home match against Shrewsbury Town. The Tigers are currently topping the table in their bid for an immediate return to The Championship and the heart of their success so far this term can definitely be traced to their results at the KCOM Stadium, which is fast becoming a fortress for them. With five league wins out of six on home turf and having scored in every game there, City will fancy their chances of retaining top spot against a Shrewsbury side who are struggling at the opposite end of the table. The Shrews recently axed manager Sam Ricketts and replaced him with the vastly experienced Steve Cotterill, but that move has seen little change in the team’s fortunes thus far. Other than a highly unconvincing Extra Time win against non-league Oxford City, Salop are winless in six and they haven’t prevailed in a league match since way back on the 17th of October! Their last five games on the road have seen them concede 12 goals, although in fairness five of them were at Peterborough Utd, and given Hull’s knack of finding the net so consistently – before the midweek penalty shootout win against Crewe Alexandra, City had scored in every single game this season – it’s hard to envisage Town returning back from Humberside with a clean sheet to their name.

We like to get around both the UK and the various leagues in play in this section and that won’t change here as I’m off to the Scottish Championship for my second selection. This fixture involves another top of the table side, as Heart of Midlothian face Queen of the South at Tynecastle. Like Hull, Hearts are also seeking an instant promotion, in their case it’s back to the Scottish Premiership, and they’re certainly going the right way about it since being relegated in rather acrimonious circumstances, following the suspension of the 2019/20 season back in March. The Jambos have won every home game this campaign, scoring 17 times in the process, including a 6-2 hammering of Dundee, who many pundits thought would be their main rivals for the title. Last weekend’s 2-0 win at Morton saw them move ahead of Dunfermline to the summit of the standings and it would be a surprise if the Jam Tarts were to relinquish the lead this weekend, as visitors QoS have taken just four league points from a possible 18 so far this season. The Doonhamers (surely one of the greatest nicknames in world football!) also appear to ‘come bearing gifts’ on their travels; they’ve not won a league match away from home since last December and they’ve not managed a clean sheet on the road since March! A 3-0 defeat against Inverness CT last weekend could well be a precursor for what’s in store in the capital on Saturday afternoon! Good luck to you all.