FOOTBALL LEAGUE expert Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) reveals his favourite three selections from the weekend's EFL action.
Due to a hectic working midweek – blame the Champions/Europa League, Championship and Rugby World Cup all taking place at the same time – plus, moving house – my time is very tight heading into the weekend so unfortunately this week’s column will be slimline’d to note form (at best). Normal service will resume next weekend.
Preston v Barnsley | Saturday 5th October 2019, 15:00
- Preston have W12-D11-L5 at Deepdale since the start of last season, including W4-D1-L0 in 2019/20.
- Preston have scored at least 2 goals in all 5 home games this season and 16/28 (57%) since the beginning of last term.
- Preston have attempted the fewest shots from inside the penalty area – but Barnsley are conceding more efforts inside the box than most (by a long way).
- Barnsley feature in the bottom-four for Expected Goals (xG) from open play against and shipped at least two goals in 7 of their 10 games since promotion.
- Barnsley have W0-D1-L3 when playing away and W11-D6-L10 on their travels since the start of last season when including their promotion campaign under Daniel Stendel.
Preston to win and Over 1.5 Goals (1/1 Coral)
Newport v Carlisle | Saturday 5th October 2019, 15:00
- Michael Flynn has committed his future to Newport this week, signing a long-term deal to remain as manager for the Welsh club, a significant boost.
- Newport have W30-D19-L8 at Rodney Parade under Flynn – a 53% win ratio – a record that improves to W17-D8-L3 in regular season matches here since the start of last season (61% win ratio).
- Newport have kept 16/28 (57%) home clean sheets since the beginning of 2018/19 and boast the best defensive xG and xG figures in League Two this term.
- Newport’s home matches have seen Under 2.5 Goals land in 19/28 (68%) with 14/28 (50%) of those games also delivering for Under 1.5 Goals backers.
- Carlisle have W3-D3-L8 away under Steven Pressley with 11/14 (79%) of those fixtures featuring Under 3.5 Goals with the Cumbrians failing to score in 6/14 (43%).
- Carlisle have lost 13/28 (46%) away days since the start of last season and have W2-D0-L3 on the road this term – victories arriving against the current bottom-two in League Two.
- Carlisle are ranked in the bottom-eight for xG, xG from open play and shots in the box ratio with no League Two team conceded more shots in the box, or xG from open play.
Newport v Carlisle – Newport to win and Under 3.5 Goals (6/4 Coral)
Grimsby v Mansfield | Saturday 5th October 2019, 15:00
- Grimsby have W15-D9-L9 at Blundell Park under Michael Jolley, losing only 27% of their 33 League Two games. The Mariners have kept 15/33 (45%) clean sheets in that sample.
- Grimsby have W5-D3-L3 in their opening 11 outings, scoring 2+ goals in 6/11 games.
- Grimsby have proven a major threat from set-pieces and their muscular side has the ability to bully opponents.
- Despite finishing fourth last term, Mansfield have won just 7/28 (25%) away League Two games since the start of last season. This term the Stags have W1-D2-L2 on the road.
- Mansfield manager John Dempster is under huge pressure to turn the team’s form around but the visitors rank 18th for xG ratio and 22nd for xG open play ratio under his watch.
- Mansfield are generating the third-lowest xG from open play average and look shot of confidence, failing to score in 5 of their last 7 league games.