GW 39 – Ones to Watch
Matt: It’s been a challenging run of gameweeks, with high scores at premium and Club 100 doing next to no business. We need to break this pattern of 1 and 2 goal teams being the order of the day!
The early kick off in the English Championship will surely generate a lot of interest among TUG players, as top of the table Norwich City take on a managerless QPR side, having sacked Steve (or is it Schteve?) McClaren earlier this week. The Canaries are aiming for what would be a tremendous eighth win in a row to cement their place at the summit of the league table, with head coach Daniel Farke having a fully fit squad to choose from as we enter this crucial stage of the season. With a goal difference of +30, thanks in no small part to 24 goal striker Teemu Pukki, City will be heavily fancied to turn over a Rangers side whose own goal difference in some 45 goals worse (-15), and who have only a solitary league victory to their name in the whole of 2019.
In Scotland’s League Two, the fixture between Annan Athletic and Berwick Rangers also stands out as having plenty of potential. The home side have won six and drawn one of their previous seven games at Galabank, so the prospect of facing bottom of the table Berwick there should be of little concern. Rangers are without a win on the road since early November and recently slipped to the foot of the table as a result of their continued poor form combined with an upturn in results for fellow strugglers Albion. In fairness to Berwick, they don’t tend to concede too many on their travels, bar a 7-1 mauling at Queen’s Park back in January, but Annan are pretty dominant on home turf and another win here would all but seal their place in the end of season play offs. Good luck to you all.
Ally: In the Championship, play off contenders Bristol City will be looking to build on their recent good form which has seen excellent wins at rivals Sheffield United and Middlesbrough when they face struggling Wigan Athletic at Ashton Gate. They lag some way behind many of their rivals in the goalscoring stakes with just 49 in 38 matches, but have generally been pretty reliable scorers at home having only failed to score in one home league match since the start of December. The visiting Latics are just 4 points above the relegation zone, and their form on the road can only be described as deperate, as they have the fewest points (6) of any team in the league on their travels, having not won or even kept a clean sheet since August 2018, and so the Robins should see this as an ideal opportunity to strengthen their play off credentials.
For my second tip I’m going for the new EFL Trophy champions Portsmouth, who will hopefully still be on a high from last weekend’s victory against Sunderland at a sold out Wembley. They face a reality check today in the less grand surroundings of Adams Park, home of Wycombe Wanderers. Pompey’s recent away form has been impressive, scoring 13 goals in their last 6 away matches, and the second automatic promotion place is not yet out of reach as despite the 5 point gap to Barnsley they do have a game in hand. Wycombe aren’t yet assured of their place in League One next season as they are just 2 points clear of the relegation zone despite sitting in 17th place and won’t be pushovers, but if anyone can get amongst the goals it’s Portsmouth.