Two For The Price Of One
I apologise to our regular readers as I struggled to get my usual articles out for you guys regards reviews and previews due to the timing of Christmas day and match days. It is a similar situation over the new year so I am going to present you a preview for our next 2 matches over the New Year.
At first glance, it little bit tricky
Oxford United at home on Saturday followed by a trip away to Fleetwood on Monday. 2 days separating the 2 matches. If I am honest, there are only a couple of times of the season I never do an accumulator, start of the season as tables and results take a few weeks to settle down, cup games for obvious reasons and then there is the Christmas new year period.
Over the festive period, you always get funny results as games are so crammed together, but it is the same for every single club, this is where good management comes in and utilising registered players properly. We have more than 11 players at the club, and more than 11 players that are good enough at getting onto the pitch. The case will be the same at our opponents too.
City's form has taken a bit of a knock, a 2-1 loss away at AFC Wimbledon and trounced 3-1 at home to Peterborough United, there is no other way to putting that than crap. So now we face 2 teams in the matter of 48 hours who really can hold their own against anyone at this level and the line between 0 points and a haul of 6 is so fine that you would need Mystic Meg using the James Webb Space Telescope to try and predict correctly the results.
We are talking mms not inches
First of let's take a look at the form for the 3 teams this past week, previous form really does go out of the window.
Lost 2 games, 2-1 Wimbledon away and 3-1 at home to Peterborough United
Lost 1 and drew 1. 0-7 home to Wigan Athletic and a 1-1 draw away at Gillingham
Lost 1 and won 1. 0-2 loss at home to Gillingham and won 1-2 away at Oldham.
The U's were smashed so hard that Batchelors were rumoured to hire Oxford United in place of tin martians to advertise their food. The humiliating home loss was followed up by a draw against a team who have managed just 2 wins at home from 12 games. Normally I never like the prospect of playing the Us, but they haven't had the best time this past week.
The Fleet have had a mixed result, losing to the aforementioned Gillingham at home 0-2 which was their first win on the road for over a month, but still just hovering above the relegation zone. The home loss was followed up by a win on the road, 1-2 away to Oldham Athletic but surprisingly, the 3 points puts the Lancashire club in 14th in the table.
So what should we expect?
4 points. I suspect we will grind out a win at Valley Parade against the Us and a draw on New Year's day at the Highbury Stadium. We may have had a poor Christmas, but I think we will have a better New year. With 2 games so close together for everyone, some funny results will be thrown up as players will be muddled around, form books thrown out of the window before everything settles down again the following weekend.
So I am not going to look at all the facts and figures in this preview as I normally do for City and our 2 opponents as I genuinely feel what we did a month ago has about as much relevance as Theresa May has on Brexit, the same goes for Oxford United and Fleetwood Town. I can spout on who has scored, and how many/often or kept clean sheets, but the ones that follow football will know that City, Oxford and Fleetwood will all not field the same 11 with the same benches for both upcoming matches. To me, with matches so close together, it does add an element of surprise and excitement.
If we get 3 points from the possible 6, I will be happy, but I think 4 is a realistic expectation, 2 points wouldn't be the end of the world, and 1 would be very poor considering our Xmas haul, if we lose both games, McCall would really need to take a look at himself and the squad rather than doing anything rash, see where we really need to strengthen. Let's not forget, it is the players and manager we have that have got us to 5th in the table.