Addicks look poor value once again on home soil
Charlton v Cheltenham
Saturday 11th September 15:00
My first ever football match was back in 1983 at the Valley, and I got to see former European Footballer Of The Year Allan Simonsen in action for the Addicks against Cambridge, and it’s a first stop at the ground this season with a preview, and a chance to assess a low-key start for the hosts under Nigel Adkins.
Despite an opening day 0-0 against one of the title favourites Sheffield Wednesday, the Londoners failed twice on the road at MK Dons and Oxford. They were also beaten at home by Wigan by two late goals and walked into a chorus of boos as they trudged off the pitch. Adkins, ever the optimist, tried to spin it in his favour, but the Latics were the better side and thoroughly deserved the points. Their opponents had far more creativity in midfield and their star man Max Power ran the show, Charlton huffed and puffed and produced very little.
It puts an interesting slant on the hosts this weekend and their price of 2.0621/20. I suspect that is greatly influenced by their 2-0 win (their first this season at the Valley) before the international break against Crewe. But the stock of that victory is limited, as the Alex have been most disappointing this season and are still without a win.
Adkins had to change something prior to that game, and a switch to a front-two and a four-man midfield meant that forward Jayden Stockley wasn’t so isolated, but it’s difficult to put your trust in one win that has masked a poor start.
Cheltenham manager Michael Duff will celebrate his third year anniversary at the weekend and he is striving for a bit more consistency. However, they played well against the possession kings MK Dons, and defended stoutly on Sky a fortnight ago at Burton earning another 1-1 – their third of the season. If they can isolate Stockley up front for the hosts, they could be in business.
There are a couple of ways to play this as I am opposing the hosts. We can lay Charlton at around evens, or play the 2.789/5 on the Draw No Bet, or if you fancy a win for the visitors, you can utilise a cheap lay of Charlton at 1.491/2 in the DNB.
The 1-1 is an obvious port of call and backing that in the Correct Score market offers 7.06/1. A punt on this is backed up by the Opta stats as Cheltenham have drawn back-to-back league games (1-1 vs Burton & MK Dons), last drawing three on the bounce in the EFL back in January (a run of four).
KEY OPTA STAT: Despite beating Crewe 2-0 last time out, Charlton have lost three of their last four league games, as many defeats as in their previous 19 (W8 D8).
Wanderers can rock U’s again in play-off rematch
Oxford United v Wycombe Wanderers
Saturday 11th September, 15:00
I recently saw Oxford manager Karl Robinson at Milton Keynes train station, so if its’s glamour you crave, this column is very much for you.
His team are generally known as one of the more eye-catching teams in the division with their passing game, and they made a couple of good additions in the transfer window with Ben Davies from Fulham and Herbie Kane from Barnsley, although neither started in last weekend’s 3-1 defeat at AFC Wimbledon. The U’s problems with defending set-pieces continued in that game, as the Londoners exploited that particular flaw with aplomb.
Robinson switched to a diamond 4-4-2 in the second-half to get beyond the first phase to little avail, and this is an area where Wycombe potentially could have some joy for Saturday.
Not much has been spoken about revenge for this either, as Wanderers famously beat Oxford in the play-off final two seasons ago – a triumph described by rockstar manager Gareth Ainsworth as “beyond his wildest dreams”.
The team since then has undergone something of an evolution process, but they still have left-back Joe Jacobson, who has the best left-foot in the division. Expect plenty of free-kicks and corners with his dead-ball eye. He takes penalties and is always worth a second-look in the First Goalscorer market for which he is 8/1 on the Sportsbook. Using that bet and Wycombe to win in the Betbuilder pays out 17.98.
Wanderers played well against Sunderland but fluffed their chances, with a serene Ainsworth reflecting afterwards that the Black Cats were more ruthless and his team will be fine if they play the same way.
But it’s their set-piece prowess that marks them down as a danger as the bigger price of the two, and with both level on 10 points, the visitors can get a result on Saturday.
KEY OPTA STAT: Wycombe have lost just three of their last 14 league games (W8 D3), scoring in in each of the last 13.
Goals look thin on the ground
Shrewsbury Town v Crewe
Saturday 11th September, 15:00
Crewe have been one of the major disappointments of the season so far in League One and one of the brightest young managers in the game in David Artell has lost a bit of his sparkle. Artell studied biomedical sciences at the University of Chester and Sheffield Hallam and became of a fan of CSI during his student days, but even the most forensic of examinations won’t be needed here, as the problem is obvious, his team cannot score. They missed a few chances at Oxford, but it’s a slow start.
They have netted just once in the league this term – in an opening day 1-1. Since then, they have suffered three consecutive away losses at 2-0 (twice) and a 1-0, and it’s hard to back them with any confidence this Saturday at Shrewsbury. Even at a generous 3.412/5. Artell needs a goal, and the Shrews haven’t kept a clean sheet in nine games in all competitions this term.
Shrewsbury themselves are struggling for goals and wins – with just one solitary victory against Gillingham in a feisty 2-1 at home and the local press said they simply have to find a way to score. The Under 2.5 Goals is short at 1.625/8 and that’s not a surprise, so I am happy to have a go at the Under 1.5 here at 2.942/1.
The hosts are very limited and were frustrated in the transfer window, and the 0-0 could be a possibility here at 8.615/2 for a trade. Neither are known for their goals.
KEY OPTA STAT: Shrewsbury have lost 11 of their last 14 league games (W2 D1), failing to score in five of their six League One matches this term.