GW 41 – Ones to Watch

Ally: After last Sunday’s shock Scottish Cup result which saw Rangers draw a blank in a TUG gameweek for the first time this season, many players will no doubt be looking to get back among the goals as the season draws nearer to a close.

First up in my quest is the Championship clash which sees in-form Bournemouth travel to struggling Wycombe Wanderers. The Cherries saw a 6 match winning streak come to an end last Saturday when 10 man Brentford beat them 1-0 at the Vitality Stadium, and while the Championship play off places are all sewn up with 2 games to spare, the four sides are all jostling for position to see who meets who in the semi finals. A trip to Adams Park will surely be just the ticket for The Cherries as they attempt to maintain their form at this crucial stage of the season, as the hosts need to win both remaining games handsomely and hope Derby County lose both of theirs by a similar margin to have any chance of avoiding the drop. The Chairboys surely cannot afford to adopt a defensive outlook like they may have done earlier in the season, which could play right into Bournemouth’s hands as they have won their last 4 matches on the road, scoring 11 goals in the process including an eye-catching 3-1 win at champions elect Norwich. By contrast Gareth Ainsworth’s men have won 4 of their last 7 at home, keeping clean sheets during 3 of those victories, but I think this will be a step too far for them and expect Bournemouth to confirm Wycombe’s swift return to League One with a comfortable victory.

I’m dropping down a division to League One next, where another form side in Oxford United will be hoping to sneak into the play-offs after a great recent run. They currently sit in 7th place, just a point behind Portsmouth who occupy the last of the cherished play off spots. The U’s have amassed an incredible 17 goals in their last 5 matches, and a trip to Shrewsbury who effectively have nothing to play for should hold no fears for Karl Robinson’s side and their brand of attractive attacking football. They have certainly hit form at the right time of the season, and will be hoping to take advantage should Portsmouth slip up in their visit to AFC Wimbledon, who themselves are in decent form of late and need a point to be mathematically certain of survival. The Shrews are awkward and somewhat unpredictable customers, as they arrested a 3 match losing streak last weekend with a surprise 1-0 win at play off hopefuls Blackpool, but do seem to struggle at home with just 1 clean sheet in 11 games at the Greenhous Meadow. The two sides met as recently as 13th April in a re-arranged game, which saw Oxford run out 4-1 winners at the Kassam Stadium, and I’m hoping for more of the same on Saturday. Good luck with your selections.