GW 28 – Ones To Watch

Ally: Gameweek 27 was certainly a tough one to navigate successfully, with the likes of Manchester United, Newport County and Tranmere Rovers all surprisingly drawing a blank, and injury time goals at Torquay and Leicester rescuing many more players much to the consternation of those already frustrated by the aforementioned three teams. The combination of cold weather and coronavirus are certainly contriving to make Matt and myself’s task of picking out some hidden gems for this piece quite difficult right now!

My first tip takes me to west London, where Brentford are now settling very nicely into their new surroundings at the Brentford Community Stadium. After a run of 5 home draws in 6 games at the back end of last year, they are firmly back to winning ways with 6 straight league wins there. Thomas Frank’s team play an enviable brand of attractive, attacking football and have won their last 4 league games, scoring a whopping 17 goals in the process, 10 of which came in the two home league fixtures against Wycombe (7) and then Bristol City (3). The Bees are far and away the division’s top scorers and possess the league’s leading marksman in Ivan Toney, who has made a seamless transition to Championship football netting 23 times in just 28 appearances following his summer move from League One hot shots Peterborough United. Opponents Barnsley are defying the odds this season to comfortably occupy mid table, after escaping relegation by the skin of their teeth last season. New head coach Valerian Ismael has successfully implemented a high pressing style which can be hard for opponents to break down, as Chelsea found out in the FA Cup on Thursday evening. However they eventually conjured an opportunity and took their chance against The Tykes, and I expect a Brentford side full of confidence to do the same as they continue their quest to reach the Premier League.

Next up is another team bang in form, this time League One side Oxford United who welcome struggling Wigan Athletic to the Kassam Stadium. The hosts are currently in ninth place, just three points off the final play-off spot, and are on a hot streak of six successive home wins in all competitions, and 10 wins out of 11 overall, the only blemish being a 3-2 loss at high flying Doncaster Rovers last Saturday. Wigan were relegated from the Championship last term and have had a torrid time with off field ownership issues, which resulted in the loss of the manager and a number of key players. The Latics are fighting for their lives, evidenced by the fact they have collected 10 points from the past 10 league matches, which puts them 17th out of 24 teams in the form guide. They picked up three valuable points and a clean sheet with a midweek win at Northampton, while they also shocked Sunderland back in December when they won 1-0 at the Stadium of Light, but these have been their only away clean sheets of the 2020/21 season so far in all competitions. I’m backing The U’s to carry on their excellent recent form and hopefully find the back of the net. Good luck with your selections!