WILL Walsall survive their relegation battle this season? WeLoveBetting debutant and Football League fan Rajan Hothi (@TalkStfc) takes a look at the odds for Saturday’s clash against Portsmouth.
Walsall v Portsmouth | Saturday 31st March 2018, 15:00
These two faced off at Fratton Park in August. Luke Leahy put Walsall 1-0 up two minutes after the half-time interval. However, Brett Pitman saved Portsmouth as his late penalty rescued a draw for Kenny Jackett’s side.
After Walsall’s disappointing 0-3 loss against Wigan at the Bank’s Stadium, Dean Keates will be looking to get his first win in charge against Portsmouth.
Walsall have lost their last three games, failing to score a single goal in the process. The Saddlers aren’t safe from the bottom four yet as they currently sit 18th, four points above 21st-placed Northampton, while Portsmouth are looking to keep the pressure on sixth-placed Peterborough.
If you’re backing a Walsall win, look no further than Black Type who are offering 11/5. While a draw is placed at 12/5 by BetVictor.
A win for Pompey could see them leapfrog Posh, and put themselves in the play-off places as they hunt for back-to-back promotions.
Portsmouth ran out 3-0 winners at Fratton Park against Oxford on Sunday. However, it could’ve been a lot different with Oxford looking impressive until Alex Mowatt got sent off for a slap on Nathan Thompson.
Saddlers sloppy defence
Walsall have the second worst defence in League One with only Northampton conceding more. In recent weeks, Walsall’s defence have been exposed more with the Saddlers conceding eight goals in their last three outings.
As well as this, Walsall have also failed to hit the back of the net since their 3-0 win against Southend on 3rd March.
Dean Keates will be trying to get the best out of Erhun Oztumer who has bagged himself 14 goals this season. The Turkish midfielder will be key in making sure Walsall stay up.
Portsmouth’s play-off dreams
Charlton and Bradford are both also pushing for a play-off place, and they both have a game in-hand on Portsmouth. Kenny Jackett’s side will be having to put struggling sides like Walsall to the sword in order to get a play-off spot.
One thing that lets Pompey down is their goal difference. Portsmouth have a goal difference of one, and this could be their downfall.
Brett Pitman has been a key figure for Portsmouth this season. The 30-year-old, who has played for the likes of Bournemouth and Ipswich, has notched 19 goals in all competitions this season.
Pitman is the second top goalscorer in League One, five goals behind top goalscorer Jack Marriot, and the Portsmouth fans will be hoping that he will be able to fire them into the play-offs.
Walsall v Portsmouth – Portsmoutht to win (143/100 Marathon)