With an early 66% win rate through 5 games, Adrian Clarke looks to stay in the black with two more selections for the Championship this weekend!
Well-travelled Swans Are Good Enough To Tame The Canaries
Flying smoothly under the radar Steve Cooper’s Swansea City are a team to keep your eye on in this season’s soon-to-be-enthralling Championship promotion race.
The Welshmen play a decent brand of football under the astute 40-year-old, who famously guided England to glory at the Under-17’s World Cup three years ago.
Set up in a positive 3-4-1-2 formation they deploy two flying wingbacks, a roaming number 10 and a twin strike force capable of unsettling any rearguard at this level.
The Swans also happen to be one of the most sure-footed defensive units in the division too.
Conceding just six times across the opening 10 games, a run that includes five clean sheets, the Jacks rarely offer up charitable gifts.
Marc Guehi, one of Cooper’s World Cup-winning heroes from 2017 under Cooper, is enjoying a tremendous campaign at centre back on loan from Chelsea.
It’s not as if their steady rise up the table hasn’t come without setbacks either.
Wolves loanee Morgan Gibbs-White was ripping up the Championship until suffering a stress fracture in his foot that will keep him out of action until 2021, while talented defender Joe Rodon was flogged to Spurs for £15million.
Yet they’ll still rock up at Carrow Road this weekend for a 3rd v 2nd clash with Norwich City smarting from a 1-1 draw at much-fancied Brentford in midweek.
Comfortably the better side in west London, Cooper’s Swans outlined their credentials as genuine automatic promotion candidates. It was a performance that will give them belief they can make amends with a three-point haul in Norfolk.
Daniel Farke’s men start as favourites at 2.15 but that price feels way too short when you look at their patchy home form.
They have a top-class squad – and this depth should by rights ensure they finish above Swansea City after 46 games – but it’s been hard work for them on their own patch.
Norwich made heavy weather of narrow wins against Birmingham City and Wycombe Wanderers, drew with Preston North End and Millwall, and lost to a sucker punch when entertaining Derby County. Averaging just one goal per game in front of their cardboard cutout fans they are yet to find their groove.
Swansea will be less defensive in their approach than many who travel to rural East Anglia this term – and this may tactically suit the hosts – but the Welshmen are yet to taste defeat on their travels.
On and off the ball they definitely have what it takes to make this a 50-50 ‘pick-em’, so I am opting to oppose the Canaries.
At 2.08 I really like the look of Swansea to win with a +0.25 start (ie 0.0/0.5) on the Asian Handicap.
With Andre Ayew in scintillating form up top, and wide men Jake Bidwell and Connor Roberts in great shape too, I think Norwich City will need to score at least twice to prevail.
Just one Championship side has breached Swansea’s rearguard more than once this season, so that is by no means a certainty.
Cooper’s developing side can stretch their unbeaten run on the road to six.
Wednesday’s Points Boost Unlikely To Spark Thrills And Spills
What a good week it’s been for Sheffield Wednesday.
First, they pinched a 1-0 win at home to previously unbeaten Bournemouth, and then followed it up with a six-point success at the EFL panel of arbitration.
Initially deducted 12 points at the start of 2020-21 season because they “should not have included profits from the sale of Hillsborough in financial statements for the period ending July 2018” they’ve seen that punishment dramatically slashed in half.
It is a courtroom victory that has taken the Owls off the bottom of the Championship table ahead of MW11.
Millwall are their next opponents, and if anyone can play the part of party pooper it could be Gary Rowett’s Lions. The Lions held Norwich City to a goalless stalemate on Tuesday night, claiming a third away clean sheet of the campaign so far.
Always set up to be tough to break down, Millwall would take great pleasure in killing the much-improved mood at Hillsborough.
Garry Monk’s side is struggling for goals.
Finding the back of the net just six times so far this season (just three times on home turf) they are lacking confidence and creativity inside the final third at the moment. On this basis, points boost or not, it is hard to envisage them cutting loose against a side as obdurate as Millwall.
The stats point us in one direction when it comes to a gamble.
Eight of the Owls’ ten games have seen two goals or less, while there has been a 70% strike rate on Under 2.5 goals in Millwall contests too.
It might be merciful for the fans that no one is allowed in to see this one.
The 1.79 price on under 2.25 goals (ie 2.0/2.5) on the Asian Handicap is reflective of the situation but it still feels like one of the most obvious punts to take this weekend.
- Swansea +0.0/+0.5 2.04
- Sheffield Wednesday v Millwall under 2.0/2.5 at 1.79