Despite the lack of Premier League football this weekend I won’t be following the big players and backing International friendlies. Instead there’s plenty of football for me in the lower leagues to get stuck into and my usual Both Teams to Score treble won’t be skipping a week just because the big boys are off to play for their countries. Here’s my best 3 picks for both teams finding the net this weekend.
Montrose v Annan Atheltic – Sat 3.00pm
I’m starting with a Saturday fixture which looks the pick of the bunch as far as both teams scoring goes this weekend. Scotland may seem like all the clubs are on each other’s doorstep but Annan face a pretty difficult 3 hour journey to North East Scotland this weekend.
Annan’s chance of a playoff spot is currently hanging in the balance after their midweek loss to Clyde so they won’t be relishing this trip to Links Park where they have had very little success in recent years.
Away from home Annan have won only twice in their last 10 in all competitions, scoring in 9 of those 10 and also conceding in 9. Their only clean sheet in that run came against bottom side East Stirling but they face a much more difficult test this weekend.
Montrose currently sit 10 points outside of the playoffs but also 10 points clear of the drop so they pretty much look destined for another season in League Two next year.
That being said, Montrose have lost only 2 of their last 10 games so they could yet put a run together to challenge, but they really need to stop drawing games if they are to pull off what would frankly be a miracle at this stage of the season.
In those 10 games Montrose have failed to keep a single clean sheet but have managed to find the net in 8, but it’s here at home where their “Both Teams to Score” record really does catch the eye. In 15 home games this season Montrose have managed only 3 clean sheets and they came in their opening 3 games in a row. Since then they’ve gone on to concede in 12 home games in a row, scoring in 11 of those 12.
And as if these stats weren’t impressive enough, what we haven’t even considered yet is the head-to-heads between the two sides, which backs up the claim even more.
The last 6 consecutive league meetings between the two sides have all resulted in both teams finding the net including 3 meetings already this season which have produced 3-3, 1-1 and 3-2 scorelines. In all honesty, this looks an absolute shoe in and has to be one of my picks of the weekend for this market.
Swindon v Wigan – Fri 3.00pm
The 4 previous meetings between these two clubs here at The County Ground in league and cup may span a 12 year period with the most recent being 4 years ago, but they have all resulted in both teams finding the net. And though these head-to-heads may be slightly dated compared to where the two sides are now, I’m banking on that happening again this weekend.
Swindon have been one helluva side to back this season for both teams scoring, especially here on home soil. The mid-table side have failed to score in only 3 home games this season and only Coventry and Gillingham have scored more home goals.
Swindon’s main problem however is that although they boast the 3rd best home attack in the league, they also have the 6th worst defence having conceded 30 goals in 18 home league games failing to keep a single clean sheet.
This weekend Wigan are the visitors and currently sitting 2nd in the league without a single loss in 16 games in a row, The Latics are on the verge of securing promotion back to The Championship. That will no doubt be confirmed if they can continue this pretty impressive run but having conceded 3 goals in a 3-3 draw in their last away game at bottom side Colchester, I’m not entirely convinced by their defensive capability.
Away from home Wigan haven’t been too shabby this season, but they have still conceded in 13 of their 18 away games. That being said they also have the 5th best away attack in the league and have scored in 14 of 18 away games.
It’s very rare that Swindon fail to score on home soil, and though Wigan are clearly the better side on paper here, I can see them conceding though I can also seem them heading back North with at least a point to add to their impressive tally.
Exeter v Barnet – Fri 3.00pm
My final selection comes from Friday’s clash between Exeter and Barnet at St James’ Park as two sides who seemingly have nothing to play for can produce a thriller for the fans.
The two sides are separated by only 1 place and 5 points in the league, currently sitting 14th and 15th respectively, but I really can’t see either of these two teams pushing for a playoff spot or being involved in a relegation battle.
The hosts, Exeter are on a decent run with no loss in 5 games in the league but I’m more interested in their record of goals than wins. Here at home they have now scored and conceded in 7 consecutive games and it’s that record which makes this look such an attractive bet. Add to that though that Exeter have conceded in their last 11 home games in a row, conceding in 10 of those, and you really can’t see past the inclusion of this fixture.
Barnet’s record for goals can hardly be sniffed at though as they have the 4th worst away defensive record in the league having shipped 34 goals in 18 away games, keeping only 3 clean sheets.
Yes, those 3 clean sheets have all been in their last 5 away games but a disappointing 1-1 draw in their last away game at York before being demolished at home against high flying Oxford in the week will no doubt ground them in my opinion.
Barnet have failed to find the net on only 5 occasions on their travels this season and I see no reason why they can’t score this Friday.
Barnet secured a 2-0 win over Exeter earlier this season but the last 2 meetings here have resulted in both teams finding the net and given Barnet’s poor away record this season (which I am aware has improved lately), I don’t see them getting out of Devon with a clean sheet intact.