Adrian Clarke is back looking to add to his two EFL winners last time out.
After a short break, it’s good to be back with another EFL Insights column. Having picked up a pair of winners last time out here’s hoping for more of the same this weekend where a couple of goals angles stand out to me…
Ipswich vs Oxford Can Serve Up EFL Goals
Ipswich Town and Oxford United have only crossed paths on four occasions so far this century and in 360 plus minutes of football they have served up a grand total of one goal between them!
This time I am hoping, and expecting, things to be different.
Karl Robinson’s U’s arrive at Portman Road top of the form table, winning five of their last six contests, scoring 16 goals in the process.
Frontmen Matty Taylor and Mark Sykes are both in terrific form, and the team around them will approach this encounter with positivity and an attacking mindset. That’s what Oxford do under their current head coach.
Clean sheets are not so forthcoming. In fact Robinson’s men are yet to collect a League 1 away shutout all season, which is why I’d be reticent to back the away win here.
Losing defensive midfielder Alex Gorrin to an ACL injury this week is also a blow for Oxford, who do look a little light of defensive options inside the engine room.
Attack, as it so often is with them, could well be the best form of defence at Ipswich Town.
As for Paul Cook’s improving all-stars, they are slowly but surely working their way into the promotion picture.
The Blues have scored in every single game so far (important to note when you consider Oxford’s avoidance of clean sheets) but results remain a little inconsistent.
They’ve beaten three of the bottom four on Suffolk soil but that’s the lot for home victories. After thrashing Wycombe 4-1 away last weekend they will view this Saturday as a good chance to deliver a statement win in front of their own support.
I’m always a pretty glass-half-full kind of bloke but when you analyse this match-up everything does point towards an open, entertaining clash.
Ipswich matches have averaged a league-high 3.69 goals per game this season, with 14 of 16 registering over 2.5 goals.
Three or more goals have been seen in 60% of Oxford games too, so if we don’t get served up treat It will feel like we’ve been short-changed.
The Both Teams to Score market is a bit skinny so my selection here is Over 2.5 goals at 1.85 with Matchbook.
If this is another Ipswich v Oxford snooze-fest it will be a major surprise.
Clean Sheets Unlikely When The Saddlers Host Harrogate
Every time Simon Weaver’s Harrogate Town cross the white line they set out to score multiple goals, so I have a hunch their visit to fast-improving Walsall could be one of the games of the weekend.
The EFL new(ish) boys from the posh part of Yorkshire have been richly entertaining., with matches involving them averaging 3.13 goals. That’s the highest tally in League 2.
Frontmen Luke Armstrong and Jack Muldoon are goal-munching talents with 14 strikes between them
The Sulphurites have such a positive philosophy, meaning they almost always get opportunities to score.
At the back, life isn’t quite as rosy. From 15 league matches, Harrogate have picked up just two clean sheets. It’s very much their weak spot.
And that’s a stat that will provide Matt Taylor’s Walsall with optimism ahead of Saturday’s encounter at the Banks’ Stadium.
Unbeaten in six games the Saddlers have climbed into mid-table, and in the shape of loanee frontman George Miller, they have a striker bang in form.
Slotting home seven goals across his last nine appearances, the 23-year-old will be eyeing up at least one more to add to his collection on Saturday afternoon.
Taylor’s Walsall are not the type of team that collapse easily, but just like their opponents it’s also a rarity for them to celebrate a shutout.
They’ve collected just three clean sheets in 15 games. Watertight they are not.
So for me, all things considered, this fixture smells of goals and it’s the BTTS angle that appeals most.
Reassuringly it’s paid out in 10 of 15 matches for both Walsall and Harrogate Town in 2021-22, so that’s where I’m heading with my selection.
It’s not a big price but at 1.71 I am still on board for Both Teams to Score. These are two outfits that find it infinitely easier to score goals than stop them.
Recommended EFL Bets:
- Ipswich Town v Oxford United Over 2.5 goals (1.85)
- Walsall v Harrogate BTTS (1.71)
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