GW 5 – Ones to Watch
Matt: Well didn’t Tottenham mug me right off there! I did not see that result coming one little bit, certainly not a Newcastle clean sheet that’s for sure. It’s also an early season reminder that in this game, there’s no such thing as a banker! Anyhow….
GW 5 looks to a tricky one to me (even more so on the back of last weekend’s calamity!), but it’s so often the case that the tough looking weeks turn out to be a scoring frenzy and the supposedly easier weeks end up being very troublesome. I think the Premier League will be a popular place to head in terms of selections this weekend, Manchester City and Liverpool have simply become ‘go to’ teams no matter who they face and as such we see little point in tipping them in this section, but i will risk back-to-back PL disasters by going with Chelsea in their match against Sheffield United. The Blues have endured mixed fortunes since the return of club legend Frank Lampard as manager, but last weekend’s exciting attacking display at Norwich proved that they do have the quality to really hurt teams. The recently promoted Blades are back in the big time and have made a solid enough start, matching their hosts with one win, one draw and a defeat from their opening three fixtures. They haven’t been shipping goals either and i’m quite sure they’ll make life difficult for the home side at Stamford Bridge. Whilst i don’t expect this to be a complete rout, i do think that if Chelsea are in the same mood as they were last weekend then the goals will continue to flow for them.
Dropping down the football pyramid into the National League, where the goals scored by these teams are every bit as valuable as those in the higher divisions of course, i’ve been very impressed with the form of Woking in the past month or so. On Saturday they face Barrow at the Kingfield Stadium with the home side aiming to make it six wins on the bounce, to continue a run which has seen them shoot to the top of the league table (and the form guide). Those victories haven’t come with an abundance of goals, save for a superb 4-1 away win at AFC Fylde, but with Barrow shipping 7 goals in their three games on the road so far this season, i’m backing The Cards to find the net a couple of times – especially if in form striker Jake Hyde has his shooting boots on. Good luck to you all as you try to end the opening month of the new season on a high!
Ally: This certainly looks a tough week in terms of fixtures, with very little in the way of bankers to go at, especially with a couple of big derby matches in the English and Scottish Premier Leagues taking place over this weekend.
My first tip comes from Scottish League Two, where newly promoted Cove Rangers have a home tie against Queen’s Park. The hosts have started well, with 3 wins and a draw from their opening 4 league games. The Aberdeen based side have won both games so far at their Balmoral home, scoring 8 goals in the process. However, the visitors arrive with an unbeaten league record and a miserly defence that has conceded just 1 goal in 4 matches, in a home draw against Stenhousemuir. This game will be a far cry from The Spider’s usual surroundings of the vast Hampden Park stadium in Glasgow, and I think Cove’s attacking prowess will see them add to their goal tally and come out on top here.
Heading back to England, I fancy League One side Ipswich Town to carry on their promising early season form against Shrewsbury Town. The Tractor Boys were relegated from the Chamionship last season, but so far are adapting well in what is a notoriously difficult league to get out of. They had a big win last weekend, putting 5 goals past hapless Bolton Wanderers but had scored in all 5 games prior to that too. Visitors Shrewsbury currently occupy 9th place, and have conceded just 3 goals in their 5 league games so far, but all of those have been away from home. It would seem this is The Shrews’ achilles heel, with just 3 clean sheets in their last 20 away matches, and for me this suggests a strong possibility of goals from the hosts. Good luck!