Brentford vs Rotherham | Tuesday 27th April 2021, 19:00 | Sky Sports
Brentford have been on a poor run of form of late winning just two of their last eight games and that has resulted in Watford getting away from them to clinch promotion.
However, this poor run of form is now in danger of impacting their play off campaign. They sit just one point ahead of the other three sides and failure to pick up points here could mean that they finish as low as 6th and lose the home advantage in the play off semifinals. Brentford face Watford on Saturday, so they will understand the importance of three points here.
Despite the recent wobble, Brentford are still a good side, and they sit 3rd for home xG ratio and 1st for shots in the box ratio. They dominate home games and when they want to play, for me, are still one of the very best sides in the division.
Last time out they were very impressive against a good Bournemouth side. They won the xG 2.05 vs 0.33 winning the shot count 17 vs 4 whilst restricting the visitors to just one shot on target. If Brentford play like this against Rotherham, then I can only see one outcome.
Only Norwich have had more shots at goal at home than the Bees, but with automatic promotion now gone, it does mean that they might rest players, so I am not prepared to back Brentford. Bees’ manager Thomas Frank has hinted at changes, but also wanting to finish third as it means a lot. He said “I will be going with a strong team. We want to win,” but let’s see come kick off.
Rotherham are now desperate for three points. Manager Paul Warne has said the last few games and those remaining were mini cup finals, but Rotherham haven’t played like it. Plenty of desire, but very little quality. They did play a little better at Barnsley at the weekend, generating xG of 1.5 with 6 shots on target, but the games before that they had managed 0,0,2 shots on target, not really the kind of response you need when faced with relegation.
Given an exhaustive schedule over the past month – tonight’s match is their ninth in April and ninth in the space of just 26 days – it is no wonder that there is a collective feeling at Rotherham that they are ‘fighting against the world’. The very harsh sending off of Matt Crooks in the Middlesbrough game and then the very controversial goal at Barnsley hasn’t helped this feeling, its not surprising that some of the squad believe it won’t happen for them.
The squad has been significantly affected by Covid issues more than any other EFL club with almost every player been impacted and this must have some bearing on performance and fitness.
In terms of possession Brentford sit 4th at home and Rotherham 22nd away and regardless of the side that Brentford put out the visitors will have to work hard. Given the magnitude of the match for the Millers I can see more cards coming their way.
Only Birmingham commits more fouls on the road than Rotherham and they have collected an average of 1.65 cards and have now picked up two or more in their last five games. As the pressure has mounted the discipline has left them. They have collected one or more in 18 of 20 away matches and two or more in 11.
Only Reading have seen their opposition collect more cards than Brantford’s and although the referee is James Salisbury isn’t the best for cards with 2.4 per Championship game, I am expecting a feisty game.
Rotherham 20+ booking points 8/11 with Skybet.
Peterborough vs Doncaster | Tuesday 27th April 2021, 19:45
Into League One now and Peterborough are all but up requiring just a point to confirm promotion to the Championship. The Club have been requesting fans not to come to the ground if they clinch promotion tonight and it seems that they should do so against a poor Doncaster team on an awful run of form.
Posh lost at home last time with a 1-0 defeat to Gillingham but they bounced back perfectly with a great win at play off hopefuls Charlton and now know that only Doncaster stand in their way. They couldn’t have picked a better team to play to get them over the line. The visitors from their last 19 games are W3-D3-L13, keeping just two clean sheets and failing to score in eight of these 19 games.
Over the last 19 games, no side in the division has collected as few points and only Ipswich, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers have scored fewer goals, whilst only Accrington have conceded more but only by five goals despite losing by 7-0 and 5-1 over recent weeks. Over the same 19 games, Posh sit top of the pile with 39 points, 12 wins and 38 goals scored.
On the road this season they have collected just 23 points, that’s only one more than Rochdale and less than the likes of Wimbledon, Wigan and Burton. Donny have conceded 2 or more goals in 50% of their away matches this season and I see no reason why Posh won’t add to this statistic.
The visitors are at a crossroads with over 10 players being out of contract in the summer, knowing that a new manager is likely to arrive and want to change the playing staff. The club are stuck in midtable and have nothing to play for and want the season to end so everyone can assess their situations and make decisions. Its not a nice place to be in and this probably helps to explain some of the awful form that they are stuck in.
I can’t believe that Doncaster will upset the promotion party tonight and stop Posh being promoted. However, the odds on a Posh win are far too low to tip up so I am going to take them to score at least two as well plus to have at least 3 corners.
Posh managed 13 corners when taking on Gillingham at home and then four at Charlton when defending their lead for the majority of the game. They average 4.65 corners this season and that increases to 4.95 at home. Doncaster concede 6.45 on the road and they have only stopped Wigan and Sunderland achieving three or more and in their last eight on the road they have conceded five or more in each game.
Peterborough win, Peterborough over 1 goal and Peterborough over 2 corners at 5/6 with Bet365.
Exeter vs Grimsby | Tuesday 27th April 2021, 19:00
The last game is in League Two and it impacts the play offs and relegation and its almost a case of last chance saloon for both of these sides. Grimsby travel to Exeter and defeat for the visitors would send them down given the goal difference of Barrow in contrast to Grimsby’s.
At the other end, a victory here would potentially push the hosts back into the play off spots whereas a defeat coupled with other results going against them would make it very hard for Exeter to get back into the top seven with just two games left to play.
The hosts are without a win in four games with the last three being 0-0 draws. Just when Exeter needed their form to push them on its deserted them with dropped points against the likes of Southend, Mansfield and Oldham in between impressive displays at Cambridge and at home to Salford, they can’t get any consistency to their results.
At home its W10-D6-L5 and against the bottom half its W5-D3-L2 it’s a real mix bang so despite. The hosts underlying performance metrics are strong as well – they have the 4th best home xG ratio in the league, 2nd for goals scored and shots on target. I am just not sure I can trust them to deliver three points here.
Grimsby have picked up points over the last 12 games, but only 16 as they have drawn seven games. Draws are no good now and despite an impressive win over Bolton and Oldham last time out I can’t see how they survive.
Looking at their recent results they have been slightly fortunate to pick up points. They have won the xG in just four of the last then games and record a xG less than 1.0 in seven of these. With Exeter failing to score in four of the last seven games I am not sure this will be a classic.
However, its cards that I want to look at. With some much riding on the game for both sides this could be a tight, nervous, niggly affair.
Visitors to St James Park have collected 1.65 cards on average with sides collecting at least one in 18 of 20 games and two or more in 12. Grimsby have an average of 1.5 cards per away game and collect at least one card in 19 of 20 and two or more in 8.
However, as the season has entered its final few games Grimsby have seen more fouls and cards. They have collected 2 or more cards in four of the last six games and knowing that this is make or break I think they will have to go for it, and it will be a case of defending and trying to slow the game down if winning or frustration if things don’t go their way.
David Rock is in charge and he dishes out 4.0 cards per game in League Two this season and should be happy to throw some cards around.
Grimsby 20+ booking points at 8/11 with Skybet.