GW 9 – Ones to Watch
Matt: As horrendous weekends go, that’s as bad a result as i can remember in a long time. Those of you who followed either of my (ahem) ‘tips’, can at least take some consolation from the fact that on a gameweek where scores of 100+ were being dished out by the bucket-load, i managed a massive 6 points! Everton FC in particular are not on my Christmas card list right now!!
The one thing this game does afford is an immediate chance of redemption though, so here goes! The approach won’t change, as we do try to mix things up rather than picking the same teams week in, week out, and on that basis i’m going for two sides who haven’t made an appearance in this section for quite some time, possibly even ever before in the latter’s case! First up for me it’s a trip to East London, where Dagenham & Redbridge take on Chorley in a National League encounter. The Daggers suffered a terrible start to the season, including two home defeats out of two and without so much as scoring a goal, but have really turned a corner since mid-August, going unbeaten in their last nine fixtures. Their Chigwell Construction Stadium has fast become good hunting ground in terms of goals; 11 in their previous four games suggests that this could be a tough afternoon for Chorley’s backline. The visitors were unbeaten in three prior to their 3-1 midweek loss at home to Barrow, and a clean sheet here would be something of a surprise given their defensive woes; The Magpies have shipped 14 goals in their last five away fixtures. Veteran manager Peter Taylor will be keen to ensure that there is no upset here, as Dagenham aim to push on towards the automatic promotion places.
One team who i was seriously considering tipping last week (and in hindsight really should have done!!) is Edinburgh City, so that’s exactly what i’m going to do here! It’s a second v fourth clash in Scotland’s League Two, as The Citizens face a misfiring Queen’s Park side that lost 3-0 at home to Cowdenbeath last weekend. City certainly aren’t misfiring however, as they’ve notched 13 goals in four matches and 13 points out of a possible 15, form which has seen them keep pace with leaders Cove Rangers. The Spiders, meanwhile, are without a win for over a month and their promising start to the campaign is quickly being derailed. Last season Edinburgh won all four fixtures between these two sides, by an aggregate score of 10-0 no less, but after last week’s personal debacle i’d probably settle for just 1 goal! If recent scorelines are anything to go by though, it could be another goal fest……here’s hoping! Good luck to you all.
Ally: I took a punt a couple of weeks ago on my first selection, which proved to be very succesful for me at the time. This time I’m much more confident in predicting goals for ninth placed League One side Peterborough United, who are back on home territory with a game against second bottom AFC Wimbledon. The Posh have since been brought back down to earth with a bang since that handsome 6-0 win over Rochdale, with successive away games resulting in a 2-2 draw at Tranmere and then a 1-0 defeat at Doncaster last time out. However, the return to London Road bodes well for the hosts, as visitors Wimbledon have lost all 5 away league games so far, conceding at least 2 goals in each and are one of just two clubs yet to pick up a point on the road this season (no prizes for guessing the other team is Bolton!) and so I expect Peterborough to get back to winning ways on Saturday.
My second tip is a little more of a hunch, but after a couple of surprising but no less impressive results I fancy Oxford United who welcome Gillingham to the Kassam Stadium. The results in question were a 6-0 victory at Lincoln’s Sincil Bank last weekend, followed up with a superb 4-0 midweek win in the Carabao Cup against a strong West Ham United team. These 2 results alone should ensure that confidence is flowing through the veins of every player in the Oxford squad, but the U’s have scored in all 8 league and cup fixtures at home so far this season, losing just once in a 2-4 reverse against Burton Albion. Gillingham are winless away from home so far, and yet to keep a clean sheet but have lost just once and have only conceded 5 goals in 4 matches, and look unlikely to roll over but I still think the hosts will be too strong. Good luck!