GW 32 – Ones to Watch

Matt: As Sam talked about in his weekly review, GW 31 was mostly dominated by one high profile result – namely Manchester Utd’s shock goalless draw with Watford at Old Trafford – and the consequences of it, which were felt pretty much throughout the table. It certainly caused me some anguish, after (foolishly) believing the home side were a near banker having watched the visitors ship 4 goals at home to Crystal Palace just a few days previously. This game does not adhere to logic like that though, as we all know! At least the teams in this section performed reasonably well, with Wrexham in particular coming good once more and bringing home 4 goals for those of you who backed them (and actually profited from their goalscoring exploits!) Let’s see what week 33 has on offer…..

  • Wigan Athletic v AFC Wimbledon. This is a key fixture at both ends of the League One standings, with promotion chasers (and title hopefuls) Wigan facing relegation candidates Wimbledon, in what could prove to be a crucial game whatever the outcome. The Latics were well beaten by Sunderland last Saturday, but responded in fine style with a comfortable 2-0 win over Fleetwood Town three days later, with a fantastic 3-1 success at Wycombe Wanderers preceding that  rare loss. This will be a third consecutive match at home and although their form on the road is actually better, Wigan are no pushovers at the DW Stadium – indeed that Sunderland defeat was their first in Greater Manchester since October. With two games in hand on leader Rotherham Utd and 7 points to make up, The Latics can ill afford to slip up if they want to remain in contention for the title, although ultimately a return to the Championship is clearly the main ambition. Visitors Wimbledon arrive in the North-West in pretty horrific form, having failed to win a game of football since the 7th of December! In 15 league matches since, The Dons have accumulated a shockingly poor 9 points and also been eliminated from the FA Cup by National League side Boreham Wood. Aside from a 0-0 draw at Gillingham, other recent trips away from the capital have seen them defeated 4-0 at Bolton Wanderers and 3-2 at Charlton Athletic – another team in horrendous form! Defeat here could see Wimbledon drop into the dreaded bottom four and on based on the current form of both teams it’s difficult to see them coming away from Wigan with a clean sheet.
  • Cove Rangers v Peterhead. Having led the Scottish League One table for much of this season, I feel like Cove have been somewhat under utilised – I’ve certainly not backed them as much as they perhaps deserve to be and I don’t recall tipping them in this section for quite a while. This is a good opportunity to do both of those things, as the league leaders take on a Peterhead side who are anxiously looking over their shoulders, with just 2 points currently separating them from the unwanted 9th place and a relegation play-off come the end of the season. Cove have drawn too many matches for their liking recently, but looking at the bigger picture they are on a fantastic run of results that has seen them go undefeated in League One since a shock loss at East Fife way back in October. They are also unbeaten in the league at their Balmoral Stadium this term and although they don’t generally run away with games, they are usually reliable enough when it comes to getting on the scoresheet, as a pair of goals against Alloa Athletic (2-2) and Falkirk (2-0) in their past two fixtures suggests. Peterhead’s first win of 2022 finally arrived last weekend, but even then they conceded three times in a thriller against Dumbarton, and keeping it tight defensively has been an ongoing issue for The Blue Toon over the past three months…..just one since November in fact! A 2-1 defeat at Queen’s Park on Tuesday evening could well be a blueprint of what’s to come, as the Aberdeenshire outfit seem to lose out by the odd goal on a fairly regular basis. Word of warning before I wrap this up; despite the 36 mile distance between the teams, this is considered to be a local derby, as Cove are also based in the Aberdeen area. If such fixtures are considered to be a ‘no no’ for you in this game, then it might be worth steering clear! Good luck to you all.