EFL – The Look Ahead Gameweek 9
This weekend in the EFL see’s 35 fixtures out of the possible 36 as Preston host the Latics, Wigan Athletic who look to come back after back to back defeats at home. Starting with the suprise league leaders Huddersfield Town, who have picked up 13 points from a possible 15 in their last 5 games visit a Reading side who overcame a strong Brighton side at the Amex with 10-men to face Arsenal in the league cup. The last meeting was won by the visitor’s as they triumpthed with a 3-1 win including Nahki Wells on the scoresheet. However one of the most anticipated games of the weekend, if not in the season in the championship see’s Rafael Benitez’s side travel to a poor-formed Aston Villa, who have draw their last 3 games, and not won in 6 games. As the first goal is going to be vital in this game between two of the promotion-chasers, attempting on there first try to bounce back to the top flight. The Magpies have won their last three away league games who could be top of the league come saturday afternoon if the game at the Madejski Stadium goes Reading’s way. The other games which are being played from the Championship are, Wolves facing Brentford as Walter Zenger and his team have to put thing’s right after the midweek defeat at St James Park for the second time in 4 days as they lost 2-0 to the Magpies. Fulham face Bristol City, Brighton face a in-form Barnsley who won at Molineux 4-0 last week with 4 goals in the last 20 minutes to send the travelling fans back to Oakwell with all 3 points.
The remaining fixtures in the Championship are Leeds host Ipswich, in the last meeting at Elland Road Tommy Smith’s first-half header gave Ipswich Town the victory and gave the host’s their first defeat of the season on the 7th matchday of the season. The Rams, who lost 3-0 to Liverpool in midweek play 23rd placed Blackburn who picked up their first win of the league campaign after putting 4 goals past Rotherham who came from being a goal down from scoring two goals in 7 minutes, an 15 second second half goal and Kevin Gallagher secured the game with a tap in. The Hoops injuries woes have seen them win only 2 games in the league this season, loosing their last game at Loftus Road 6-0 to Newcastle. However the Blues striker Clayton Donaldson, who scored the later equaliser before the late winner against Sheffield Wednesday, picked up an Achilles injury which may be a big blow for them, having being their top goalscorer (4 goals) could be pivital as they are currently in the play-off places chasing the top 2 spots. The Caneries face Burton Albion at Carrow Road in their first ever meeting in history. Rotherham face Cardiff City and finally the Owls host Nottingham Forest who were beaten 4-0 by the Gunners at the County Ground through Xhaka, Lucas Perez and Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Conor Hourihane (above)
In League 1, the biggest fixture of the day is top of the table Scunthorpe United face promotion favourites Sheffield United. The Blades have recently signed Reece Brown on a short-loan deal from Manchester United as they look to boost their defence and come away with all three points from Glanford. Scunthorpe manager, Graham Alexander said ‘they are only motivated about getting three points against Sheffield United’ as the pace-setters look to win their 6th game at home out of a possible 8, one of the best in the division, one key man who may help them to that is Josh Morris, who has netted 6 times , assisting 4, up against the reliable Billy Sharp who has netted 4 times and assisting 1 this season, these two will be hoping to bag another goal to their tally and take home the 3 points.
As 2nd face 3rd in Bolton Wanderers against Bradford City 3 points are important as the Bantams hope to end the 3 game run of 1-1 draws against a weakend Bolton side as they suffered their first defeat of the season away to Walsall. The game will have a large attendance as 4,300 Bantams supporters travel from West-Yorkshire hoping to get one against their former manager Phil Parkinson who missed out on their trip to Wembley as they lost to Millwall in the Play-Offs. The team to look out for in EFL League 1 so far this season are Bristol Rovers, having scored 2 goals in 2 minutes to steal the 3 points of Swindon Town at the County Ground on the midweek game on Tuesday, have now gone 5 undefeated as key players such as Matty Taylor who is at 6, being the top scorer scoring 21 goals in League 2 in the 2015-16 season. And Peter Hartley from Plymouth Argyle scoring two goals including one of two goals scored in their 3-2 defeat at Stamford Bridge.
Josh Morris (above)
Finally is League 2, as the early kick off of the game Mansfield Town v Grimsby Town at 12:15 face off for the first time in 8 years. The Mariners for the first season back in the Football League for a 6 year spell, having had Omar Bogle lead the line with numerous other strikers including League 2’s Leyton Orient Ollie Palmer last season, he was the key figure and is the division top goalscorer having found the net 7 times the season, joint highest scoring playing in the Football League campaign so far with Bristol’s City Tammy Abraham. Into the 3 oclock kick offs see’s Nathan Jone’s Luton host the top goalscorer’s Doncaster Rovers. Rovers having being relegated from League 1 have adapted to life in the 4th tier of English Football winning 5 games in a row after a horrible start to the season loosing to Crewe and Accrington Stanley. Danny Hylton who played a vital part of Oxford’s promotion push last season, see’s himself in the top scorer charts netting 5 times, including a goal in the 3-0 win at Home Park on the opening day, and will hope to end a 2 games without a goal against the visitors. Then over to the league leaders Plymouth Argyle, saw of their Devon Derby rivals Exeter City with a comfortable 2-0 win, hope to create a new peice of history winning 8 in a row, 7 in the league. Hoping to stop them, making the 770 mile round trip are Hartlepool United. Former Pilgrims Lewis Allesandra and Nathan Thomas will play against them, the last visit was a final day of the season as the Greens won by 5-0, there biggest win of the season. As the table stands the top 4 can all end top of the league if result’s go there way, however at the bottom as the Grecians and the U’s travel to Stevanage and Newport to hope and get out the relegation zone, and for Cambridge to win their first game of the league season having only picking up 3 points from a possible 24.
Bradley (left) Bulvitus (right)