Let’s not dwell on last weekend. Three very unexpected results went against us, which sometimes happens. We go again! With the big boys on international duty, I have turned my attention solely to League 1 this Saturday with a couple of strong angles…
EXPECTING AN OPEN MK v DONNY ENCOUNTER
Two of League One’s most pleasing-on-the-eye protagonists meet on Saturday afternoon and it should be a lovely game of football.
If you haven’t seen much of MK Dons lately, give them a watch.
Under Russell Martin’s holistic style of leadership – where his long term philosophy trumps pretty much everything – they play a sophisticated passing game built around clever rotational movement.
Attempting this tactical approach with third-tier level players is brave (and sometimes things go wrong) but they really are a breath of fresh air.
The focus is on scoring goals and giving their opponents problems to solve. Nullifying the team they are up against is of secondary importance. It works in an attacking sense. Despite sitting in 13th spot only the current top two, Hull City and Peterborough United, have scored more than MK’s 54 goals.
Keeping the ball out of their own net is slightly more problematic though, and is the reason why Martin’s men are mid-table.
Since the start of this campaign, 62% of MK Dons matches have seen both teams score, a percentage that’s topped by just two other clubs – including weekend opponents Doncaster Rovers (65%).
The Yorkshire promotion chasers recently lost manager Darren Moore to Sheffield Wednesday, so veteran Andy Butler has taken over as interim boss. Last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Gillingham kind of summed up their recent form.
Early on they were extremely fragile at the back, but their wealth of attacking talent (coupled with a positive tactical style) helped them back into the contest.
Six of Doncaster’s last eight matches have featured over 2.5 goals.
So when you consider five of MK Dons’ last six have also seen three or more goals, you will no doubt realise the direction I am taking!
I really like the BTTS Yes angle in this fixture but there is another way in by backing goals at a slightly more appealing price.
Creativity is not an issue for either team (they rank 2nd and 3rd in this division for the most open play goals) so it will be a huge surprise if we don’t see a stack of chances.
Martin’s side have only failed to score in two of 18 home games, Donny have scored in 13 of 16 contests on the road.
My selection has to be Over 2.5 goals at 1.93.
THE BLACK CATS’ SHOULD ENJOY ANOTHER HAPPY AWAY DAY
The argument for a Sunderland victory at Bristol Rovers this Saturday is compellingly strong.
Lee Johnson’s on-fire side is unbeaten in nine matches, a run that includes seven wins.
They have lost just once away from the Stadium of Light all season, conceding a measly ten goals on their travels. Plus the Wearsiders have also enjoyed the luxury of a week off to rest and recuperate.
With Johnson taking notes in the stands, Joey Barton’s off-colour side was meanwhile suffering a draining 1-0 defeat to Swindon Town on Tuesday evening. Afterwards, The Gas’ gaffer was scathing about some of his players, basically admitting he couldn’t wait for some of them to leave the club this summer ahead of a rebuild.
He has also ruthlessly relieved Max Ehmer of the captain’s armband and dropped him from the matchday squad.
Will this divide the dressing room at a time when they need to pull together for a relegation battle? Possibly. It could gee some of them up of course but the mood ahead of kick of this weekend is sure to be a strange one.
Facing the division’s most in-form team in this frame of mind, is far from ideal.
Aiden McGeady. Charlie Wyke and Lynden Gooch certainly have potential to make this a really uncomfortable afternoon for the hosts.
Eyeing up automatic promotion (which is now in their hands) I sense that Sunderland will smell blood at the Memorial Stadium.
They are worthy 1.79 favourites.
- MK Dons v Doncaster Rovers Over 2.5 goals 1.93
- Sunderland to beat Bristol Rovers 1.79
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