GW 16 – Ones to Watch
Matt: Welcome to our first ‘Midweek Bonus Round’ of the season, long overdue even if I do say so myself! These gameweeks have been an excellent addition to the game over the past few years and the inclusion of some European teams/fixtures always adds an extra element of spice. I’m confident this will be another thoroughly entertaining midweek round, here’s a couple of sides you might want to consider…..
- Stockport County v King’s Lynn Town. This Tuesday evening National League encounter should serve up a more than ample amount of goalmouth action, given that the two teams involved have played in two matches apiece that have served up a whopping 24 goals over the past ten days. Whilst Stockport have finally found some good form after an underwhelming start to the season, including a couple of epic ties against League One Bolton Wanderers that eventually saw The Hatters prevail, the visitors are both losing matches and conceding goals at an alarming rate. The Linnets have shipped a shuddering 9 goals in the past two games alone – 6 at home to Wrexham and another 3 at Bromley on Saturday. Meanwhile County are banging them in for fun, with 16 goals scored in their past five matches – including a couple of 5 goal returns against Dover Athletic and then the aforementioned Bolton (albeit the last two of those were in extra time of an FA Cup thriller). With Town currently on a six-game losing streak and County in red-hot goalscoring form, I’m tipping more of the same in this fixture.
- Sheriff Tiraspol v Real Madrid. A midweek round wouldn’t be the same without dipping some toes into the Champions League fixtures on offer and although it’s not the most favourable set of matches across the two nights we’ve ever seen, there are some very tempting options. None more so than in Moldova, where Sheriff will look to once again shock the world by beating Real Madrid, a feat that seemed entirely unfathomable until they went to the Spanish capital and did just that in Madrid’s famous Bernabeu stadium in September. In arguably the biggest Champions League upset of all time, the Moldovan champions secured an incredible 2-1 victory, so on that basis this important game is by no means a formality for Los Blancos. Especially as Sheriff are in outstanding domestic form with eight league wins on the bounce! However, Madrid are also in decent nick themselves, most recently winning 4-1 at Granada on Sunday, and I think there will be more than a slight element of revenge on Carlo Ancelotti’s mind. With both clubs very much in the mix for qualification the the knockout stages and Inter Milan right there with them too, I can’t believe for one moment that Ancelotti will pick this game to rest any of his star players. Sheriff have both scored and conceded in their past three CL outings, so The Wasps clearly enjoy an open game and that’s exactly what the likes of Benzema and Kroos will be hoping for, as they look to right a very big wrong from the reverse fixture. Good luck to you all.