Brentford vs Southampton
The Bees are in tip top form right now. Thomas Frank’s side have gone unbeaten in the Premier League since it’s resumption post World Cup, stretching their overall unbeaten league run to 8 games.
They’ve scored 2+ goals in their last 3 games, knocking off Bournemouth and Liverpool and drawing 2-2 with Spurs.
They’re also at an advantage with their extra break. Saints legs may be tiring after 2 gruelling legs of Cup football against Newcastle.
Saints are rooted to the bottom of the table. They’ve lost 7/10 away matches this season.
If Brentford score first, we’re in good stead. They’ve never lost a home PL game when drawing first bloody, winning 10 and drawing 3 of those games.
With Toney and co all fit to go, I’m confident the hosts secure the 3 points.
Man United vs Crystal Palace
In the words of Rio Ferdinand ‘Man United are back’. But this time, we’re not taking the mick.
United are in to a cup final and other than that late defeat to Arsenal, things have been near perfect for Erik Ten Haag’s side.
The resurgence of Marcus Rashford, combined with the excellent form of other players such as Fernandes and Casemiro has created a perfect storm for the Red Devils.
At home this season they’ve played 9 matches, winning 7, drawing 1 and losing 1. They’ve netted 17 times and conceded just 5.
In fact, across all comps; they’re on a 12 game run of home wins. They’ve scored 2 or more goals in 11 of those.
Palace are winless in their last 4 PL games and are struggling for creativity, having only scored 1 goal across those outings.
They’ve only taken 9 points from a potential 27 on their travels this season.
They’ll keep things tight as best they can and they definitely have the ability to do that – however I can’t see them holding United off for too long.
Bolton vs Cheltenham
Ian Evatt’s side are right in the mix for promotion in League 1. Back to back wins had them sitting 5th in the table.
Cementing themselves in the play-offs is now the key as they look to build on the 9 point gap to Peterborough in 7th; whilst being war of the fact that all the teams behind them have games in hand – some have as many as 3.
Bolton’s success is built on their rock solid defence. Only Sheff Wed have conceded fewer goals (18) than Bolton (23).
At home, no side can match their mean defence. In 15 games on their own turf, Bolton have conceded just 8 goals.
Unsurprisingly, they’ve been very tough to beat as a result, losing just 2 home games. Only Plymouth have taken more home points.
Cheltenham arrive here as one of the poorest performing teams across the EFL based on recent form.
They’ve managed just 1 point from their last 5 games, conceding 11 goals in the process.
That included 2 away defeats to Morecambe and Bristol Rovers. Two sides who are comfortably worse than Bolton.
Cheltenham are at serious risk of getting dragged in to the relegation mire. They’re only 4 points above Accrington, who have 2 games in hand.
Concerning times for the visitors and I can’t see those worries being eased in this one.
Carlisle vs Harrogate
Hero’s of the Ladder Challenge, we’re backing Carlisle to continue their immaculate recent form.
The Blues have now won 4 games on the spin after romping to a 5-1 victory over rivals Barrow in midweek.
That result moved Paul Simpson’s side in to the automatic promotion places, a whole 27 points ahead of opponents Harrogate.
I watched the midweek game on iFollow, to keep up with the ladder and was seriously impressed by the football Carlisle played.
It’s no surprise they’re the league’s top scorers. Kristian Dennis made it 17 for the season in midweek, the most in the league. He came on at 4-0, with Joe Garner and Omari Patrick already on the scoresheet.
Harrogate are in miserable form. Winless in 5. Not to mention their away record – losing 8/12 this season, only Crawley have mustered up fewer away points.
Carlisle have lost just 1 home game. They should win this at a canter.
Aldershot vs Dorking
My boys Dorking are back. If you’re in need of goals, they’re the team to look to.
No side across the EFL/NL has seen more goals per game on average than Wanderers, with their matches this season seeing an average of 3.96 goals per game.
They’re serial goal scorers, but can’t defend for toffee.
A huge 71% of their games have had a BTTS pick land.
They’ve scored in 22/28 games but have managed only 2 clean sheets all season.
Aldershot (14th) are just 4 points ahead of Dorking (19th). The crazy thing is, despite being just 4 points above the relegation zone, Dorking are just 9 points off the play offs.
Aldershot may well be looking over their shoulders despite their 5 point gap to the play offs, given that they’ve played as many as 4 games more than some sides above them.
Their matches this season have seen an average of 3 goals, with just above half of those seeing BTTS land.
This is a huge chance for both sides to secure 3 points and take a positive step forward, we should see an end to end affair.