Adrian Clarke returns with a League 1 & League 2 selection for the weekend ahead!
It’s that time of the week where we seek out potential winners across the EFL weekend.
Hopefully, I’ve dug out two sound picks for you, starting with a David v Goliath type clash in League 1.
Tractor Boys Can Plough On With More Goals At Stanley
Ipswich Town’s all-star XI finally landed their first home win of the campaign in midweek, tearing Doncaster Rovers to shreds with an emphatic 6-0 success.
Is it going to be the catalyst for a dramatic revival under Paul Cook?
It really should be.
Town’s likeable gaffer has a squad that is arguably League One’s strongest, deepest and most richly talented. They could easily start steamrolling opponents regularly with a bit of confidence injected into that dressing room full of new faces.
Despite the team’s slow start Macauley Bonne has been a revelation up top. The striker has netted seven times on loan from Queens Park Rangers, and he will be a significant threat to Accrington Stanley this Saturday.
The Lancashire minnows are a very positive attacking outfit in their own right, but on the back of leaking 16 goals in their last four league games, John Coleman’s defence is not exactly in tip-top shape.
They now have the worst defensive record in the division.
Scratching their heads, desperately looking for answers to their current woes, the last thing Stanley need is a team that’s just smashed in six goals rocking up at the Crown Ground.
The Blues are also League 1’s second-highest scorers following that obliteration of Donny at Portman Road.
While Ipswich Town could be a decent bet at 2.42 with Matchbook, I can’t help but be drawn to a goals angle instead.
Matches involving the Suffolk side have averaged 3.78 goals this term (the highest in League 1), while Accrington fixtures are not too far behind on 3.1.
Going forward, they are both excellent, but without the ball, fragilities exist.
I’ve discussed Stanley’s issues, but at the back, Cook’s men are still in the getting-to-know-you stage. I’m confident they know each other’s names by now, but those crucial on-pitch relationships are not yet developed.
This makes them vulnerable against decent opposition, and two clean sheets in nine matches tells its own story.
A whopping 78% of Ipswich matches have gone over 2.5 goals, with the home team seeing that gamble land in 60% of their fixtures so far in 2021-22.
At an attractive price of 1.94, I think Over 2.5 goals is the best way in for this encounter.
Scoring goals and going out to win games is what Messrs Coleman and Cook are all about. It should be a cracking contest.
Backing The Grecians In The Matt Taylor Derby
When Exeter City host Walsall this weekend, I guarantee that Matt Taylor will not lose the game.
I just don’t know which one. Well, not for sure anyway.
If you weren’t aware already, both clubs are managed by a Matt Taylor, but that’s kind of where the similarities begin and end!
If we start with the hosts, every year Exeter City seem to lose their best young talents.
Still, on an annual basis, they respond by successfully regenerating the squad in a way that ensures their reputation as one of League 2’s best teams is restored.
It’s impressive work and this season is no different.
In mid-August, Matt Taylor’s promising young side lost at Leyton Orient but are unbeaten in seven games since.
In fact, across the last six, they have the second-best points return in the division.
The collection of five clean sheets has helped build a platform, with only Tranmere Rovers (3) letting in fewer goals than Exeter City (6) so far.
Going forward, they are not short of talent either, with Matt Jay (4 goals) their biggest threat.
The Grecians create plenty of opportunities and are second only to the leaders and top scorers Forest Green regarding Expected Goals in Open Play.
Exeter City’s open play xG is 11.1 (they have scored 11), which compares favourably with opponents Walsall who rank 21st with an xG of just 5.6.
The Saddlers have scored eight times in open play, suggesting their current rate is unlikely to be sustainable.
Walsall’s Matty Taylor (let’s go with that!) is a rookie head coach that’s taken over a Midlands club that’s been in a malaise for a while now. They haven’t been atrocious this season, but Walsall are winless on the road and lie in 22nd place ahead of kick-off.
The former Portsmouth left back has steered them to two wins, but those came against sides sat in 20th and 21st place ahead of MD10. He hasn’t grabbed a notable scalp yet.
Scoring more than once in just the single match from nine outings, it is hard to see Walsall causing a solid Exeter City too many problems on their own patch.
For me, it’s the hosts who are overwhelming favourites to take all three points.
There’s no such thing as a home banker, but I will be backing Exeter City on the nose at 1.8 to continue their fine run of form.
- Accrington Stanley v Ipswich Town Over 2.5 goals (1.96)
- Exeter City to beat Walsall (1.8)
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