GW 23 – Ones to Watch

Matt: Looks like it really is the season of goodwill judging by how many of you fared in the ‘Boxing Day Bonus’, as some of the more popular picks gifted plenty of points out! GW 23 is the final round of 2018, so let’s see if we can end the year on a high.

I could quite easily tip the same two teams as i did in GW 22, as once more i would be quite happy to back Tottenham and West Brom in their fixtures against Wolves and Sheffield Wednesday respectively. In the interests of mixing things up a little, i’ll go elsewhere and start by picking out a rejuvenated Manchester United in their Premier League match against Bournemouth at Old Trafford. Any Cherries fans reading this will probably be thinking i have some kind of vendetta against them, being as they were Spurs’ opponents too when i tipped them on Boxing Day, but i can assure them that’s not the case! They just happen to be facing the wrong teams at the wrong time in terms of sides that are banging in the goals. Even though they shipped 5 in that game at Wembley, i still don’t think Eddie Howe will set his team up in a defensive manner and with United having already scored 8 goals in two games under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the signs are all pointing towards another high scoring affair.

From the top English tier down to the lowest that we have in play, the National League. Aldershot Town have really lost their way this season, having not won a game since beating bottom of the league Bromley 1-0 back in early November. Their opponents on Saturday are Sutton United, with the U’s looking for a third straight victory – one that could move them back into the play off spots. On that basis, i think they’re worthy of selection, especially as Aldershot have conceded a whopping 15 goals in their previous three away games, including a remarkable 7-0 defeat at non-league Bedford Town in the FA Trophy!! Shots do seem to save their better performances for the more difficult encounters though, having recently held both Leyton Orient and Wrexham (currently the top two in the table) to 0-0 stalemates, so this isn’t necessarily a goalfest in waiting. Good luck to you all!

Ally: My first tip comes from Scottish League One, where Forfar Athletic face Brechin City. The hosts currently sit in fifth place which on the face of it probably doesn’t scream goals, but their home form of late has been good having scored at least 2 goals in each of their last five home league and cup games. The visitors meanwhile arrive at Station Park with a poor away record, with just 2 wins in all competitions this season, and more importantly are yet to keep an away clean sheet. It is this latter statistic that has drawn my attention, and coupled with Forfar’s home form I expect to see goals.

I’m staying in Scotland for my next tip too, this time dropping down to League Two and the tie between ninth placed Berwick Rangers and leaders Edinburgh City, who will be looking to put further daylight between themsleves and nearest rivals Peterhead. Edinburgh have been in good form away from home all season, having failed to score in just one game since early August and winning all but one (a 6-1 Scottish cup loss at Championship side Inverness). Berwick are struggling at Shielfield Park, winning just two league and one cup game there all season, with the other 8 matches all ending in defeat (not a single draw), most recent of which was a 5-0 defeat by Peterhead.