GW 6 – Ones to Watch
Matt: After a healthy dose of midweek action, including Champions League and Europa League action for some of the UK teams who I know plenty of you like to rely on as your ‘go to’ options, it’s always advisable to take stock of what happened, any injuries accrued, how much travelling was involved etc. Indeed, I know of players who simply refuse to go near any sides who have played in Europe leading into the weekend, regardless of who they are facing! That’s an interesting tactic, which I’m sure has a degree of merit, but not something I foresee the majority of players employing – especially not on a gameweek like this where the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool are surely going to be hugely popular once more. I’m going to see if I can pull a couple of teams from elsewhere out of the bag…..
- Fulham v Reading. I think this will be a fixture that attracts a fair bit of attention and with good reason too; Fulham tend to score a lot of goals and Reading tend to concede plenty of goals! That should be the perfect recipe for this game, but we all know it’s very rarely that easy! Despite a shock 1-0 loss at Blackpool last weekend, a result that caused a bit of misery for some of you guys I know, The Cottagers currently occupy top spot in the Championship after a resounding 4-1 victory away at Birmingham City in midweek immediately righted that wrong. They’re already clear out in front as the top scorers in the league with 17 goals to their name and they’ve picked up five wins and 16 points in a fairly blistering start to a season which they’ll hope concludes with promotion back to the Premier League. Things are going quite so swimmingly for visitors Reading; The Royals also have a the number 17 in their goals column, but sadly for them it’s ‘against’ rather than ‘for’! That’s the (joint) most in the league, but they did manage to pick up their second win of the season with a 3-1 win against Peterborough Utd in midweek. Their away form is a major concern though; they’ve lost all three Championship games on the road and were heavily beaten at Huddersfield Town in their last trip – that 4-0 mauling in West Yorkshire following on from 2-1 and 3-2 losses at Coventry City and Stoke City respectively. Reading haven’t managed a clean sheet in eight competitive matches this season and with Fulham’s frontline containing the likes of Mitrovic and Wilson, who ran Birmingham ragged on Wednesday evening, it’s difficult to imagine them getting one at Craven Cottage here.
- Notts County v Maidenhead Utd. The National League offers up some tasty looking fixtures this coming weekend, none more so than in my home city of Nottingham, where Notts County will be firm favourites to continue their unbeaten start to the season against a Maidenhead side who raced out of the blocks, but have since suffered three consecutive league defeats. The Magpies are targeting a return to the Football League at the third attempt and the indications of that happening have been pretty good so far; three wins and three draws, scoring 14 times in the process and just as importantly where this game is concerned, scoring in every fixture too. Back-to-back 3-2 home successes over Wealdstone and Aldershot Town are evidence that Meadow Lane has been serving up plenty of goalmouth action recently and I’m expecting more of the same in this match. Maidenhead travel North looking to arrest a trio of defeats in which they have shipped 9 goals, but this will be a tough assignment for a club who funnily enough are also nicknamed The Magpies. The Berkshire outfit will certainly have to defend more stubbornly than they did at Weymouth in their previous away match and the exact same can be said for the home loss against Torquay Utd, when they incredibly found themselves 4-0 down at half-time, before staging a spirited comeback to lose 4-3. This same fixture last season resulted in a 3-2 victory for the visitors (Notts love a 3-2 scoreline don’t they!) and the two league games between these sides produced a total of 9 goals, so all the signs point to a potential goalfest. Which Magpie will be flying highest come 5pm Saturday? Good luck to you all.