GW 28 – Ones to Watch
Ally: First up for me this week is a visit to the West Midlands, where the seemingly free-scoring Aston Villa face the Championship’s bottom side Ipswich Town. Somewhat surprisingly Villa are winless in their last 6 outings at Villa Park, losing two and drawing four of those matches, but they have still scored 13 goals in that run, most notably with a remarkable 5-5 draw with my own Nottingham Forest. They did fail to score in oe of those games, a 3-0 defeat to Swansea in the Third Round of the FA Cup, but more encouragingly they have scored in every home league fixture this season. In contrast Ipswich are in rotten form, particularly away from Portman Road where they have lost (and failed to score in) 8 of their last 9 matches, and also they have failed to keep an away clean sheet all season. I don’t see that run improving as Dean Smith’s men will be keen to get back to winning ways.
My next tip takes me down a division to League One, where promotion chasing Barnsley welcome struggling Rochdale to Oakwell. The Tykes have been particularly strong at home this season, failing to score in just one match (when I just so happened to select them!). They have won their last 3 matches at home, including against fellow play-off contenders Peterborough and Charlton. The Dale meanwhile have generally had a rough time on the road, with just one league clean sheet away from Spotland (at lowly Bradford), and they have shipped 19 goals in their last 8 away games, and 13 in their last 4 home games, so keeping the goals out isn’t a habit they’re used to and hopefully Barnsley will capitalise on this on Saturday. Good luck!