Championship Gameweek 12: Back Swansea to beat Ipswich

It has been a very disappointing start to the season for Ipswich Town, who sit joint-bottom of the Championship with six points from 11 games and still no victory. They have taken a meagre point from their five away league games; their last road trip ended in a draw at Birmingham and, while the 2-2 scoreline might imply attacking improvement, they did not create many chances other than the goals they scored.

Despite a spirited second half performance against Middlesbrough on Tuesday night, the 2-0 home defeat re-emphasized their difficulties fashioning openings in open play. That match saw Jon Nolan, who scored an excellent goal at St Andrews, only take three touches within 30-yards of the byline, which suggests the team are not playing forward with the incision to get the talented playmaker involved in key areas. Speedy striker Kayden Jackson could be even more isolated against Swansea, who have the flexibility to overload any area of the pitch and press shrewdly.

Graham Potter likes his players to be able to temporarily fill one or two positions other than their own and thus, they can dislodge their opponents through slick, one and two-touch interplay.

Although Oliver McBurnie has the attributes of a classic centre-forward, he is comfortable dropping deep to allow midfielders such as academy graduate George Byers to push into advanced areas. Swansea also boast the best defensive record in the division with six goals conceded in 11; they have already kept six clean sheets, more than any other side bar Middlesbrough. Joe Rodon, who only made his EFL debut while on loan at Cheltenham earlier this calender year, has swiftly become one of the best ball-playing centre-backs outside the Premier League, such is the magic of Potter’s coaching.

Swansea have won both of their home encounters with bottom half opposition without conceding, while Ipswich have lost three of their five away games without finding the net.

The Swansea win to nil at 15/8, therefore, looks excellent value.

League One Gameweek 12: Walsall to avoid defeat at the Memorial Stadium

Arguably the manager of the League One season to date is Dean Keates. The former midfielder has galvanized Walsall, whom he captained to promotion as a player and has built a fine, counter-attacking outfit.

The Saddlers have a sturdy spine: Liam Roberts is developing rapidly while centre-backs Jack Fitzwater and Jon Guthrie provide a blend of class and physicality, well-protected by veteran Isaiah Osbourne and George Dobson, with the latter proving to be among the most complete young midfielders at this level. They break quickly through wide men Zeli Ismail and Josh Ginnelly while up top, Morgan Ferrier’s mobility compliments the industry of target man Andy Cook. The Midlanders are a hardworking side, yet they also have potential match-winners, even if the finishing touch has eluded them in their previous two home games.

By contrast, Bristol Rovers’ scoring issues are deeper-rooted with just nine goals in 11 league matches – and four of them have been scored by defenders.

Since winning promotion to this level in 2016, the Gasheads have normally had at least one very productive attacking player like Matt Taylor or Billy Bodin but this year, it remains to be seen whether that type of individual exists. Darrell Clarke’s side looked slow and ponderous in Tuesday’s 0-0 draw at Rochdale, who played the second half with 10-men.

Our best bet, therefore, is the Double Chance – Draw or Walsall Win at 13/20.

Those quotes imply a probability of 62at in 9 out of their 11 league matches this season; Bristol Rovers have failed to win the same number of their encounters. The West Country outfit have won just one (20{2145621b26fc9aaf9f712205cef9de9b6b89ae8741f566ab7f58c50f0e39ac2a}) of their five home league games; Walsall are yet to lose on the road and should be backed to maintain that record at the Memorial Stadium.

League Two Gameweek 12: Grecians to edge West Country clash

Yeovil Town enjoyed a wonderful start to the season, with 4-0 and 6-0 wins at Notts County and Newport being among the highlights. Darren Way and Terry Skiverton deserve great credit for motivating their players to perform well above the pre-season expectations.


October, however, could prove a very challenging month for the Glovers, who are currently without eight senior players due to serious injuries. Forward Diallang Jiayesimi, who started in superb form, has had to return to parent club Norwich following a serious knee injury. Yeovil miss the leadership qualities of Gary Warren; with the battle-hardened veteran on the pitch, they have conceded just one league goal this season but without him, as many as 12. Fellow first-choice centre-back Omar Sowunmi has also been sidelined in a position in which stability is most important; midfielders Wes McDonald and Alefe Santos, target man Francois Zoko, stopper Stuart Nelson plus captain James Bailey are all unavailable too.

Their chances of finding tactical consistency have therefore been scuppered and, following a run of one point from their last four games, morale may have been damaged.

By contrast, West Country rivals Exeter City look more likely to sustain their impressive early-season form. Matt Taylor’s men have taken 10 points from a possible 15 away, conceding just three goals; only Oldham have shipped fewer on the road.

Unlike their hosts, the Grecians have a settled back-four with Aaron Martin forming a fine centre-back pairing with Luke Croll. Intelligent midfielder Nicky Law, a League One Play-Off Finalist with Bradford as recently as 2017, looks like one of the signings of the season while Jayden Stockley has led the line superbly, whether on his own or partnered by Jonathan Forte.

Our best bet is Exeter to win and Under 3.5 goals at 9/4. That selection would have landed in three of their five away games to date and Yeovil’s injury crisis means their fine early-season form should not be factored in too heavily, because they have become almost a different team to the one that lit up League Two a month ago.


Swansea to win to nil

Walsall Double Chance

Exeter to win and U 3.5 Goals

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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