League One Tips: Robinson's Oxford are set for goals against leaky Cheltenham

League One Tips: Robinson’s Oxford are set for goals against leaky Cheltenham

Go low with goals at the Valley

Charlton Athletic v Wycombe Wanderers
Saturday 1st January, kick-off 15:00

The Boxing Day and festive fixtures have been somewhat brutal and as usual shock results were the norm. Accrington trumping league leaders Rotherham was a surprise, but nothing quite prepared me for Sunderland’s 5-0 hammering of Sheffield Wednesday. Preparations and working around Covid-19 is clearly becoming a problem, and games have been called off left, right and centre.

Lack of game-time, lack of training, and injuries have certainly had an impact on results. Finding a winner has been tough!

Charlton’s last game was on December 18th, a match they lost 1-0 at Plymouth. Their request to call off their Boxing Day derby against Wimbledon was granted by the EFL, a decision that created a fair bit of anger from the Dons camp. The Addicks have benefited from the slight break as Akin Famewo, Conor Washington and Josh Davison all sat out the match at Home Park after testing positive for Covid-19 are likely to come back into the frame.

Defender Ryan Inniss has returned after a four-month lay-off and several others are nearing full fitness. Johnnie Jackson seems fairly happy with the situation, he said: “I hope this has allowed us to freshen up a little bit but we have had lots of lads missing big chunks of training in that period as well. You can’t just throw them straight back in to full blast training. You have to build it up and manage them.”

Wycombe’s preparations were hit for Wednesday’s 1-0 loss at Ipswich as boss Gareth Ainsworth tested positive for Covid-19 and it’s not known if he’ll be able to take his place on the sidelines for Saturday.

Charlton historically have fared well, winning all three home Football League games against Wycombe, scoring at least two goals on each occasion. However, this has the makings of an Under 2.5 Goals game. Wanderers are famed for their spoiling tactics, and six of their 12 on the road have hit the target for that bet. They’ve only conceded 13 in the same amount of games away from Adams Park, so we should look at the 1.845/6 price.

To back that up, and maybe even consider the Under 1.5 Goals, Charlton have only conceded once from their last five at Floyd Road – with all Under 2.5.

KEY OPTA STAT: Wycombe have won their last two away league games played on New Year’s Day, beating Cheltenham 2-1 in 2011 and Forest Green Rovers by the same scoreline in 2018.

Dons to heap more misery on Evans – and more passes

MK Dons v Gillingham
Saturday 1st January, kick-off 15:00

The MK Dons became another in the long list of having a game postponed on Tuesday, which was probably music to the ears of Cheltenham, as that would have been a tough fixture for the Robins.

Gillingham fans might be dreading this game too, as their form has dropped off a cliff. With six straight losses in all competitions, the Kent club are getting pulled into an unwanted relegation battle. They were pummelled by Rotherham in early December 5-1, a performance that was the best from the Millers all season. They’ve only played once since, on December 11th.

These two played each other in September, and three points went to the Buckinghamshire side in a 4-1 success, although the ever-optimistic Steve Evans insisted his team were in the game on 80 minutes. The fiery Scot, never short of a quote or two, came up with an amusing line about the defeat by saying: “They were playing 20 passes across the back and the halfway line, that pleases nobody but their chairman, he is the only one happy with it, that is not sour grapes, they ran out good winners.”

Steve Evans pre season Rother 1280 .jpg

The Dons produced a wonderful comeback to win 2-3 at Lincoln on Boxing Day with several star performances. Midfielder Josh McEachran showed his class with a perfect ball-playing performance added with some grit. Unsurprisingly Scott Twine got rave reviews with his two goals, and he could have scored inside the first minute. I’ll re-hash my Twine bet that never was for Tuesday’s cancelled fixture, as his figures are hard to ignore; the stats are very impressive with 11 goals in 24 appearances, often long-range and as The Near Post tweeted, against Lincoln he recorded an 81% passing accuracy, five from six shots on target, five crosses and one key pass.

Backing Twine to Score First on the Sportsbook is 4/1, and the Anytime To Score is 7/4. Using the latter with a home win on the Sportsbook Betbuilder pays 2/1.

Neither have had ideal build-ups, but Gillingham are in a bad trot and could be preparing to sell a couple of their big players in the January transfer window, so this ought to be a comfortable home success.

KEY OPTA STAT: Since losing two of their first three Football League home games against Gillingham (W1), MK Dons have won each of the last four, keeping a clean sheet in the last two.

Hard to see Cheltenham worrying hosts

Oxford United v Cheltenham Town
Saturday 1st January, kick-off 15:00

Oxford were big winners on Wednesday 29th December with a comprehensive thrashing of Wimbledon – a victory that moved them to fifth in the table. Manager Karl Robinson also received a perfect Christmas gift with the news that on-loan midfielder Herbie Kane will be staying at the Kassam for the rest of the season following parent club Barnsley’s decision to veto the move.

The 23-year-old makes Oxford tick, and it’s easy to see why he was a Liverpool Academy player. They wiped the floor with the Londoners with some superb passages of play, a performance that left Robinson raving. Matty Taylor also bagged his 12th of the season.

Cheltenham are conceding too many goals for my liking, with six games yielding 18 goals at the wrong end. A figure that will worry layers on the Exchange by going against the goals, as Oxford have hit 26 at home. They’ve scored three or more in a match on five occasions and one includes a 5-1 drubbing of Accrington.

Overs are pretty short, with the 2.5 at 1.774/5, so it might be worth playing the Over 3.5 @ 3.814/5, and look to Taylor to Score Anytime on the Sportsbook at 7/5. Doubling him up with an Oxford win pays 2.9215/8 using the Betbuilder.

KEY OPTA STAT: Oxford United have won seven of their last nine Football League home games played on New Year’s Day, with the exceptions being a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough (1994) and a 2-0 loss to Southend (2011).