Wolves vs Bournemouth
Wolves have improved drastically under the stewardship of Lopetegui.
They’ve lifted themselves to 16th now, 5 points clear of the relegation places following back to back wins.
A 3-0 win against Liverpool was impressive but what was perhaps even more impressive was coming from 1-0 down with 10 men to win at St Mary’s last week.
Wolves have taken 14 of their 23 points at home and have won their last 2 games here without conceding a goal.
Lopetegui is making this a hard place to go for any side – but it looks a particularly daunting task for Bournemouth, who are appalling on the road.
The Cherries have won 1 away game all season and taken fewer points on the road than any other PL team.
They’ve played 11, losing 8 and drawing 2. Scoring just 9 times and conceding a whopping 32, more than anyone else by a considerable margin.
O’Neill’s men have lost 6 on the spin on their travels, failing to score in 5 of those.
Their metrics on the road make for concerning reading. They average an xG of just 0.90, whilst allowing their opposition an xG of 2.44 on average.
Bournemouth are one of just 3 sides across the top 4 divisions who have yet to keep a clean sheet away from home.
Middlesbrough vs QPR
Boro are flying. Absolutely flying. Michael Carrick has worked wonders, his 16 game stint so far is the most successful in the clubs history.
He’s won 12 of those games, drawing 1 and losing 3. That haul has now surpassed Jack Charlton’s record in 73/74.
The latest in that string of impressive results saw Boro come from a goal down to run out 3-1 winners at 2nd placed Sheffield United; a side with the 2nd best home record in the division.
Automatic promotion holes are slim, with a 7 point gap still to make up but it’s far from impossible.
Boro have won 5 on the spin at home too and managed 3 clean sheets in a row.
QPR are in dire form. The polar opposite to the hosts.
Rangers haven’t won a championship game since mid December.
They’re 9 games without a league win; 10 in total after being knocked out of the FA Cup by League One strugglers Fleetwood.
It’s been a catastrophic run of form which has cost the club dearly, after a very positive start to the campaign.
I expect the trends to continue here, Boro are set to continue their upwards trajectory whilst I can see QPR continuing to slide down the table.
Celtic vs Aberdeen
The Scottish champions are cruising at the top of the table.
It’s probably assumed that they’re in good form, but if you don’t keep tabs on the league you may be surprised at just how well they’re doing.
The Hoops have won 23/25 games. Scoring an astonishing 78 goals and conceding just 18.
That has them 9 points clear of their arch rivals having scored 20 more goals and conceded 5 fewer.
That’s even more apparent at home. Ange Postecoglou’s team have won 12/12 at Celtic Park, netting 37 times and conceding just 7.
On their own turf they average an xG of 2.88 and an xGA of only 0.57, which is obscene.
9 of the 12 visiting sides have failed to post an xG of above 0.79.
Aberdeen are in absolute disarray right now. They were eliminated from the Scottish Cup by 6th tier side Darvel.
That’s the biggest shock in Scottish football history. Darvel were as high as 80/1 to beat them and ended up walking away 1-0 winners.
After that, a response was demanded. But, what Dons fans got was a 6-0 drubbing from Hibs. Meaning they conceded 11 goals across 2 games to the 2 Edinburgh clubs after they shipped 5 at Hearts.
That saw the end of the road for manager Jim Goodwin and Aberdeen are yet to appoint a replacement.
They have since found a win, beating Motherwell 3-1 but chances look very slim for any positive result here.
Aberdeen have the 2nd worst away record in the league, taking just 7 points from a possible 36.
They’ve shipped 33 goals too, the most in the league.
They lost 6 away games on the spin, conceding 22 goals in the process.