Stoke vs Barnsley | Wednesday 14th September 2021, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Stoke have started the season well but I have been reluctant to back them until now given the strength of the opposition they had played. They are now W4-D1-L1 with their only defeat coming to Fulham, which is no disgrace. At home they are W3-D0-L0 beating Huddersfield, Reading and Forest.
I have Stoke 4th on home xPTS and so far, they have looked impressive. The squad is now full of quality and in my view manager Michael O’Neill has finally got the Potters into a team that can challenge after several seasons trending water in the Championship
Stoke have some many options that James Chester and Danny Batth couldn’t find a place even on the bench at the weekend with key player Nick Powell and new signing Abdallah Sima still to come into the squad although Wednesday night might be too early for them both.
The midfield three should be Joe Allen, Romaine Sawyers and Mario Vrancic with options up top of Jacob Brown, Steven Fletcher and Sam Surridge all verifying for two positions.
Stokes underlying performance metrics at home are strong. They sit 3rd on shots on target in the box ration and 6th for shots on target ratio. I think they could be too strong for Barnsley who are going through a transition.
In the summer they lost manager Valerien Ismael to WBA, and he took captain Alex Mowatt with him. Connor Chaplin left for Ipswich, Michael Sollbauer left for Dynamo Dresden and loan striker, Daryl Dike went back to parent club, Orlando City.
New manager Markus Schopp is still trying to get the squad up to speed with his own ideas and style and that’s having a knock-on impact on results as they have now gone W1-D3-L2 and they are yet to win an away game.
I have them 17th in my away rankings for xPTS and bottom for xG ratio. Overall, I have the bottom six for all my main ratio metrics of xPTS, xG, shots on target and shots on target in the box. It’s been a tough start for them
Stoke to win at 13/15 with SBK looks good value to me. I think it will be a tight game but Stoke are full of confidence whilst Barnsley are trying to find their feet after a summer of movement.
Reading vs Peterborough | Tuesday 14th September 2021, 19:45 | Sky Sports
I am going to take a goals angle here with looking at both teams to get on the score sheet. The basic facts are that looking at the respective home and away games this season, these two have seen 67% of games land both teams to score and 83% over 2.5 goals. Before we look any deeper that’s a good start.
At home Reading have seen all of their games go land both teams to score and over 2.5 goals whilst Posh have seen all of their away games go over 2.5 goals.
Reading are still struggling defensively and have conceded the most goals in the EFL this season with 16 in six matches. Looking at their underlying metrics it’s hard to see why they constantly concede. I have them bottom on xPTS, no side has a higher xGA and they have conceded most shots on target and most shots on target in the box.
In my ratio rankings for xPTS, xG, shots on target, shots in the box and shots on target in the box I have them 24th, 21st, 23rd, 24th and 23rd. At the weekend QPR managed 22 shots and I think Peterborough will be able to cause them problems.
None of the new deadline signings were not deemed fitter enough for the weekend and I can’t see Scott Dann or Danny Drinkwater making a huge difference and both are unlikely to play here.
Going forward Reading have some good attacking players with George Puscas, John Swift, who got a hat trick at the weekend, Oviemuno Ejaria and have a xG of 0.94, but they have up to nine first team players out for the visit of Posh.
However, I feel that they will at least get on the score sheet here. In the last 26 home games they have scored in 23 of them and they now entertain a side that hasn’t kept a clean sheet this season and only kept seven away clean sheets last season in League One, five of which came to the sides finishing in the bottom half.
Posh have struggled on their return to the Championship and despite losing heavily at Sheffield Utd at the weekend still scored twice with a xG of 1.94. So far this season the have generated a xG of 0.91 but conceded 1.62 xGA.
I like the attacking side of the Posh team with Siriki Dembele, Jorge Grant, Sammi Szmodics, Jack Marriott and Jonson Clarke-Harris, who in my view are all good enough to score and create chances at this level.
Even at Sheff Utd they managed five shots on target and despite struggling at the start of the season the Blades are a decent defensive outfit. Posh will be able to cause Readings defensive unit issues given that they conceded an average of 5.33 shots on target in the box per game.
At the back Posh have conceded the 2nd highest xGA and sit in the bottom three for shots on target and shots in the box conceded in the league.
I am happy to take both teams to find the net at 10/13 with Mansion Bet and SBK. I think it will be an open game with neither team being able to defend. It’s a game that features two decent attacking line ups with the worst two defences in the league. Goals on the menu.
Bournemouth vs QPR | Tuesday 14th September 2021, 19:45 | Sky Sports
I am going to take this game to have goals. Both sides have regularly scored this season and between them in respective home and away games all six have gone over 2.5 goals. For me this bet is all about how open QPR will be as they hurl men forward looking to score goals.
Rangers have started the season well but have seen away results of 3-3, 3-2 and 3-0 so far with a total match goal of 3.67 per game across their six games. Away from Loftus Road they have given up a xGA of 1.74 per match, 7.33 shots in the box and 3.33 shots in the box on target. If the Cherries can’t capitalize here, then we all need to give up and stop following football.
Bournemouth at home have been good with W1-D2-L0 but draws have been to Fulham and surprisingly Blackpool, who did beat Fulham at the weekend. I think the hosts have been a little unlucky. I have the 6th on home for xPTS, 4th highest xG and then 1st for both shots on target and shots in the box on target. They have some players who I think are very good for this level with Dominic Solanke, Jamal Lowe, Junior Stanislas, David Brooks, Ryan Christie and Morgan Rodgers.
Manager Scott Parker is still adjusting to the squad whilst the players are still finding their feet to a new style and tactics which in my view is causing a few defensive issues.
I have previously written about Rangers and how much I like Mark Warburton as a manager. He has created an excellent spin to his team. Rob Dickie is probably one of the best centre backs in the league, Stefan Johansen ticks the team over in midfield and now there are options up top with Charlie Austin, Lydon Dykes and recent signing Andre Gray.
Again, at the weekend they drew 3-3 which means that they have now scored 1.5+ in five of six games this season, scoring in every game and conceding in four. They have conceded 1.5+ in 50% of their games.
Their underlying metrics screams goals. 5th worst xGA despite sitting in the play-off positions, but 2nd most shots in the box on target, which suggests they are creating good chances.
With QPR being so open and allowing so many chances to the opposition whilst still finding the net themselves I must take over 2.5 goals here and that can be backed at 4/5 with Unitbet. Remember these two sides have seen 100% of their respective home and away games over 2.5 goals.
Stoke vs Barnsley – Stoke to win (13/15 SBK)
Reading vs Peterborough – Both Teams To Score (10/13 Mansion)
Bournemouth vs QPR – Over 2.5 Goals (4/5 Unibet)