GW 19 – Ones to Watch
Matt: Why I continually get sucked in by any non-league or cup competitions we have in play on any given gameweek I don’t know, but it’s a habit that has cost me dearly on more than one occasion this season! Last weekend it was the turn of Ipswich Town to inflict plenty of pain on lots of us and it looks as though Paul Cook was left feeling rather miserable too, as The Tractor Boys dispensed with his services shortly after their drab 0-0 draw with Barrow AFC in the FA Cup……you see the consequences when you let so many players of TUG down?!! So not the best way to get December underway in this section, but we had been banging in the goals for a few weeks previously, so let’s climb straight back on the horse in GW 19…..
- Charlton Athletic v Cambridge Utd. On trickier weeks (which, let’s face it, we’ve had loads of this season!), players will tend to migrate towards the big names, the higher leagues, the ‘go to’ teams…..which as you know we always try to avoid tipping in this section as we prefer to try and seek out points from less obvious sources – with mixed results!! On that basis, my first tip is from League One, where steadily improving Charlton take on Cambridge in a fixture that would have seemed unimaginable as recently as 2019, when the sides were literally leagues apart. The Addicks are aiming to return to The Championship at the second attempt and, after a wretched start to the season that saw another League One manager Nigel Adkins fired, they’ve hauled themselves from the depths of the relegation zone up into mid-table and gradually closing the gap to the top six. Three wins on the bounce, across three different competitions, means the South Londoners head into the match in good spirits, with 2 goals apiece to their name in each of them; the 2-0 midweek win over Ipswich Town (yep, them again!) giving Charlton a record of just a single defeat/single goalless return since mid-October whilst in league action. Their current home form is exceptional too; five wins and a draw in the last six matches at The Valley, with 15 goals scored in that period. Cambridge head there in decent form themselves, for they too have won three games on the spin, including an amazing 5-0 demolition of Cheltenham Town on Tuesday evening. However, closer inspection of their away performances reveal that, despite some good results here and there, The U’s are susceptible to also receiving such thrashings! They’ve lost 4-1 at both Shrewsbury Town and MK Dons in the not too distant past, with Rotherham Utd also beating them 3-1 in the away match prior to that sensational scoreline at Cheltenham. I’m expecting goals in this match too!
- Wrexham v Weymouth. Moving down into the National League and one team who are consistently inconsistent – quite the opposite of what we’re looking for in this game in many ways – is Wrexham. Three wins in four, or five in seven to extend that timeframe slightly further, have seen The Red Dragons move to the front of the queue to break onto the top three. However, they seem to love nothing more than throwing in a shoddy performance to undermine their hard work; a recent home defeat to Yeovil Town being a prime example, with last week’s highly unconvincing 1-0 victory at Dover Athletic also suggesting the Welsh side aren’t as fearsome as some of their results might intimate. Such results would include back-to-back 5-2 and 6-0 successes on the road at Aldershot Town and King’s Lynn Town, with a 2-1 win at play-off placed Halifax Town followed by a 2-0 win over fellow promotion hopefuls Bromley in late-November proving to be an excellent six points on the board. My concern stems from other results though, such as the 0-0 draw at home to Wealdstone just a few weeks ago and it’s these dropped points that could prove to be so crucial come May. On Saturday afternoon they entertain Weymouth at the Racecourse Ground and with the visitors in horrendous form, this is a golden opportunity for Wrexham to secure another valuable three points. The Terras have been anything but scary in their previous four matches, losing all of them and conceding 14 goals along the way! In fact, only bottom of the league Dover Athletic have conceded more than Weymouth in the NL this season, which is one of the main reasons the Dorset club find themselves in the relegation zone at the moment…..goal difference is what’s currently keeping them there! That figure could easily get worse in North Wales on Saturday afternoon if Wrexham are in the correct frame of mind! Good luck to you all!