GW 8 – Ones to Watch

Matt: 15 goals from our four tips last weekend, cooking on gas! Although i have to say Ally really was on fire, especially his call of Peterborough who notched 6 against Rochdale – great shout…….shame hardly anyone cashed in on them! Anyway, more of the same in GW 8 please.

This first tip could come back to bite me hard and will probably be shunned by many of you, but goals in the Premier League have been plentiful so far this season (32 in last weekend’s nine fixtures for example) and this team is renowned for being reliable scorers at home (famous last words!), so i’m backing them here. I’m taking a punt on Everton, who are up against most people’s relegation favourites Sheffield United – not that The Blades have begun the season in terrible fashion, far from it in fact. The Toffees have been their usual inconsistent selves in the opening weeks; win, loss, win, loss in their past four games a perfect indication of just that, but one thing they are good for are goals at home; the last time they failed to score at Goodison Park was against arch rivals Liverpool way back in March and since then sides they have scored past (and indeed beaten) include Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and, most recently, a 3-2 win versus Wolves. The Blades are yet to keep a clean sheet on the road since their return to the top flight, albeit they’ve only played two away games, and the absence of talisman Billy Sharp following his red card against Southampton last Saturday won’t help their cause. Everton are a different animal on home turf and Marco Silva will unquestionably be demanding a response after last weekend’s fairly heavy defeat at Bournemouth, so i’m backing them to continue their excellent record at home, at least in terms of goal scoring, in what should be a very interesting match up.

From the top league we have available in England, to the lowest one available in Scotland and again i’ll admit this tip might not be overly popular, but we do try to single out less ‘obvious’ teams in this section. Even within this league itself there are arguably better/safer options (Cove Rangers have been in blistering scoring form and Edinburgh City are banging goals in for example), but the side i’m plumping for is Annan Athletic. The Black and Golds take on a Stirling Albion side who will arrive at Galabank on something of a high after last weekend’s victory over Elgin – their first league points of the season coming at the sixth attempt and helping them move off the foot of the table. Annan themselves aren’t exactly pulling up any trees at the moment, last season’s fine form that saw them progress all the way to the League Two play-off Final, before losing out to Clyde in the battle for promotion, showing no signs of being replicated. They have, however, scored 5 goals in their three home games to date and they really should be aiming to add a few more to that tally on Saturday. This particular fixture also has a long history of goals, goals and more goals; since the start of 2017 it has produced a whopping 34 of them in fact! I’m hoping that number increases (preferably substantially!) again here. Good luck to you all.

Ally: It seems that I’ve set the bar quite high for myself after both of last week’s tips quite literally went goal crazy. It’s not often a hunch comes up with the goods so I was sure to enjoy the moment!

I’m not expecting the same level of success this week, in fact I’ll be quite content if both teams actually score! First up is a team that occurs on these pages on a fairly regular basis, but Arsenal’s attacking prowess is well known, and a home game against Aston Villa would seem an ideal opportunity to get back to winning ways in the Premier League. After a promising start winning their opening 2 games, The Gunners lost 3-1 at Liverpool and followed that up with successive 2-2 draws, firstly coming from 2-0 down at home to arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur, and then last week spurning a 2 goal head start at struggling Watford. Arsenal have at least scored in every game this season, and haven’t failed to trouble the scorers at the Emirates in 2019. The visitors have made a solid start to life back in the top flight, but have lost both away games so far. They also have a poor recent league record at Arsenal, losing 4-0 back in 2016 and 5-0 in 2015, and sandwiched in between that was a 4-0 FA Cup final defeat in 2015 too, so on that basis I fancy in-form Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and co. to propel the hosts back to winning ways.

For my other tip, I’m heading up to Scotland where League One leaders East Fife are at home to fifth placed Dumbarton. The Fifers are on a four match winning streak, similar to last week’s top tip Peterborough, and are up against an entertaining Dumbarton side that just don’t do 0-0’s! Their last four away results in league and cup in chronological order (oldest first) read 6-1 defeat, 6-0 defeat, 2-3 win and 1-2 win, so you can see clean sheets are not their speciality-  but they are getting closer to achieving one. East Fife’s previous two home matches have seen them score 4 goals in each, both against teams in the play off positions; firstly dispatching Airdrieonians 4-1 and then last week’s other tip Raith Rovers 4-2. As a result I’m expecting to see more goals at Bayview this weekend. Good luck with your selections.