WE'RE pleased to welcome Non-League experts Kiss The Badge (@TheKissTheBadge) to our National League coverage for the 2019/20 campaign. In their first contribution, they've outlined an angle of attack for Tuesday night's tussle between Sutton and Barnet.
Sutton v Barnet | Tuesday 6th August 2019, 19:45
Both Sutton and Barnet come into this fixture on the back of an opening day win. Sutton triumphed up north, overcoming Hartlepool 3-1. Meanwhile, Barnet scrapped to a 1-0 victory over recently relegated Yeovil in North London.
The outcome of Tuesday night’s tussle ultimately comes down to which side Darren Currie will pick for the trip to Gander Green Lane.
With Ricardo Santos at the heart of a defence which earned a clean sheet, subsequently seeing him being selected in the Vanarama Team of The Day, the Portuguese centre-back is a doubt following a late knock and his potential absence will be a big blow. With fellow centre-back Dan Sweeney also out, it is likely Currie will select either Harry Taylor or Charlee Adams to accompany Callum Reynolds at the back.
Although both Taylor and Adams can fill in, both are more accustomed to a centre-midfield role so Barnet’s defence might be shaky. However, with James Dunne and then either: Andre Boucaud, Harry Taylor or Charlee Adams sitting just in front of the defence in the 4-2-3-1 formation, the Bees’ defence will be shielded.
It’s this shielding which will be crucial to nullifying Sutton. Harry Beautyman scored two beauties, pardon the pun, against Hartlepool with late runs into the box to aid striker Aaron Jarvis. However, with two screeners just in front of the back four, expect the experienced midfielder to be man-marked throughout.
Up the other end for Barnet, Sutton’s astroturf pitch means Shaquile Coulthirst and Ephron Mason-Clark will likely be selected as substitutes in a bid to avoid the pair risking further injuries on the U’s pitch. Therefore, with Barnet’s two best attacking threats likely not to start, Currie’s men will once again struggle to create chances.
Simeon Akinola, a winger by trade, was deployed as a lone striker on Saturday and the 24-year-old missed numerous chances. Although he converted from the penalty spot, Akinola isn’t cut out to play as a sole forward and potential replacement Jack Barham is still largely untested at this level.
With that in mind, and Sutton needing to break down a stubborn Barnet side who will be happy to sit back away from home, we're expecting a low-scoring affair as the Bees prioritise defensive stability over attacking prowess, making Under 2.5 Goals (3/4 BetVictor) an appealling play.
Sutton v Barnet – Under 2.5 Goals (3/4 BetVictor)