D3D4 Correspondent @TomLove_18 brings you his latest tips for the Tuesday night matches in League One & Two….
Oxford United vs Bradford City – Both Teams To Score – 5/6
Both these sides have had solid starts to the season with Oxford sat in 6th and visitors Bradford two points ahead in 4th.
The U’s went through a major personnel shift in the summer with Pep Clotet taking the hotseat. The Spaniard oversaw a mass overhaul with Chris Maguire, Kane Hemmings, Chey Dunkley, Liam Sercombe and captain John Lundstrum all moving onto pastures new. Recruitment has once again been carried out in a clever and canny way by Oxford. Well-versed football league players such as James Henry, Mike Williamson, John Obika and Jack Payne have been joined by some more left-field additions in the shape of Gino Van-Kessel and Ricardinho. The yellow army have strength in depth all over the park and have found a good balance throughout their team, as showcased in last weeks’ 3-0 victory over Gillingham.
Data analyst Ben Mayhew (@experimental361) highlights Oxford’s expected goals (xG) per match at 1.9, a healthy figure when wanting to side with goals at the Kassam.
Stuart McCall’s Bradford City side have also started well, scoring 13 goals in their last 4 games in all competitions. Charlie Wyke impressed in front of the cameras against Bristol Rovers last week, grabbing a hat-trick in a superb performance. Delve a little deeper into the Bantams performance data, however, and it will show how ruthlessly efficient they have been in front of goal. Despite the wealth of goals scored recently for the Bantams, their xG scored figure of 1.4 is lower than the likes of Plymouth and Gillingham, however the difference between the West Yorkshire side and those above them in the xG ratings is how decisive they have been in front of goal. This is in stark contrast to last season for McCall’s men who dominated, creating a high volume of chances but without putting the ball in the back of the net.
Both teams have a strong attacking contingent and with Oxford playing hosts they will be expected to apply the pressure. Mix that with the Bantams’ players looking confident in front of goal it looks like ‘BTTS’ is the way to go.
Shrewsbury vs Southend – Shrewsbury to win by exactly 1 goal – 3/1
Even so early into the season I doubt many would’ve backed Shrewsbury Town to be leading the way in league 1. Paul Hurst’s charges have produced some exceptional performances and the results have followed, especially at home Salop look a real force to be reckoned with. The partnership of Stefan Payne and Carlton Morris has constantly caused problems for defences and with the direct running of Shaun Whalley on the wing mixed with the energy of skipper Abu Ogogo in the heart of midfield, the Shrews have great balance to their squad. Hurst has taken the pressure off his players in his interviews and they seem to be thriving off it.
We backed Southend to lose at Charlton on Saturday and it came up trumps, this is another tricky away day for Phil Brown’s boys. They struggled to create anything clear cut at the Valley and the longer their winless run continues the more confidence falls away, the Shrimpers’ performance data is quite good compared to their league position they find themselves in, however, it should be noted that a lot of their chances created came against 10 man Rochdale a few weeks ago.
It’s intriguing to see that when Shrewsbury have recorded three points they have done so by a winning margin of a single goal every time. Southend, too, have lost their last two fixtures in all competitions by the odd goal. Shrewsbury are a more than fair 5/4 in the outright market but I’m going to boost that price by backing them to win by exactly 1 goal at a bulbous 3/1.
Colchester vs Chesterfield – Colchester to win – 5/4
Colchester look a stunning price at 5/4 to get the better of an out of sorts Chesterfield side. I have highlighted in previous columns about how good Colchester have been at home under gaffer John McGreal and they continued their strong form on their own patch with a comprehensive 3-1 win against Crawley at the weekend. Away from home ColU are a team I want to back against but at their Essex base they’re a team I want to be with.
A player I personally backed each way to be League 2 top scorer at a big price is Sammie Szmodics. Strangely enough I saw him in a youth cup game against Bradford a couple of years ago and he bagged a hat-trick and was miles ahead of anyone else ability-wise. Relatively unknown to most football league fans, Szmodics is a product of Colchester’s strong youth set-up. Tricky, direct and great at getting into dangerous positions he could well be the breakthrough star of the league this term. Szmodics is 12/5 to notch anytime this weekend and with Chesterfields defence as porous as they come it is this weeks anytime goalscorer selection.
Chesterfield were trounced at Crewe last time out, some totally inept defending will have had Gary Caldwell fuming. Recently the Spireites have conceded 11 in their last 3 away trips in the league but their poor form stems much further back than that. Just one away win in this calendar year is all they can boast, a very shoddy record.
All in all it’s a team that is fantastic at home, at odds against, versus a team that are leaking goals like it’s going out of fashion and who are simply terrible away from home. 5/4 on Colchester is the bet.
Crewe vs Cambridge – Crewe (draw no bet) – 9/10
The aforementioned demolition job Crewe handed out to Chesterfield last weekend displayed all the attacking talent that is available to coach David Artell. Chris Porter has proved to be a great capture in the transfer window, he gives the Railwaymen a focal point up top that was missing last season. Not only does he hold the ball up and bring the likes of George Cooper into play off the flank but he has great movement in the box, a clever operator at peeling away from his marker and finding space. Cooper too has impressed greatly and looks like the next in the famous Crewe academy conveyor belt, his dribbling skills and close control has mesmerised league two defence this term.
Cambridge are the visitors to Cheshire, in terms of points they have had an ok start to the season but nothing more. As previously mentioned in earlier articles Shaun Derry has come under criticism for his safety first approach and performances haven’t really convinced.
Given the defensive game plan I feel Derry will go to try take a point on Tuesday night and given the bookies have priced this game up evenly it gives us the chance to back Crewe in the ‘Draw No Bet’ market at a touch under even-money. For those who aren’t aware, backing a team ‘draw no bet’ means that if the game ends all square we get our stake returned but if your selected teams gets the win you get the pay out at the odds given, it basically gives a nice insurance blanket.