News

Owls face The Us

19/10/2021 - League One

By Jude Hall, Sheffield Wednesday writer

Darren Moore will be hoping his side can bounce back after Saturday’s late disappointment as they face 18th place Cambridge United at The Abbey Stadium.

Both teams come into Tuesday night’s game following 2-2 draws but in contrasting fashion. Whilst The Owls were frustrated by letting their two-goal lead slip at Wimbledon, it was The Us who made the comeback in their fixture, snatching a late point against promotion hopefuls Ipswich courtesy of an 88th minute Joe Ironside leveller after being 2-0 down.

In their first season in the third tier since 2002, Cambridge have already caused a couple of upsets  beating early season promotion favourites Lincoln and Portsmouth already this campaign. Last year’s League Two runners-up have made a steady start to life back at this level taking 14 points from their opening 11 fixtures, losing just three times.

Despite promotion last term, Mark Bonner’s side lost last season’s top scorer over the summer when Paul Mullin joined National League Wrexham following a 32-goal season in the fourth division. However, the Yellows have had no issues finding a replacement marksman with Joe Ironside stepping up to the plate, the Blades academy graduate netting six times since the start of the season.

Wes Hoolahan is another name with plenty of pedigree amongst the Cambridge ranks having made over 100 premier league appearances for Norwich City. Despite playing at the tender age of 39, the former Republic of Ireland midfielder is clearly still capable having directly contributed to 16 goals last season and racking up five assists since Cambridge’s return to League One.

Dennis Adeniran is expected to return to the travelling squad after he re-joined training this week following injury whilst George Byers, Sam Hutchinson, Lewis Gibson and Massimo Luongo are still thought to be out. Despite their injury list Wednesday come into this one as favourites with 10 points available for an away win. However, if the hosts end their four-game winless run there’s 30 points up for grabs. Have your say on the ‘play’ section now.

Sutton learn FA Cup fate as league attention switches to Swindon

19/10/2021 - League Two

By Finley Chung, Sutton United Writer 

In Sunday’s FA Cup First Round draw, Sutton United were drawn against the winners of the replay between Hayes and Yeading United of the Southern League South Premier Division, or Dorking Wanderers of the National League South. This is Sutton’s first time in the competition as a Football League club and will be looking forward to the encounter which takes place on the weekend of 5th-7th November.

Back to league action, the visit of Swindon Town looms on the horizon as they head to the VBS on Tuesday night. Sutton’s heroics at Crawley on Saturday saw them rise to fifth in the league and it was their fourth league win on the spin. If Sutton were to make it five wins on the spin, that could lift them into second, if other results go their way. They won’t be getting carried away however, as visitors Swindon Town haven’t tasted defeat in the league since September and will be a stern test for Matt Gray’s side.

The visitors will be looking to Jack Payne and Tyreece Simpson, who both have four goals to their name this season and both will the looking to add to their tallies on Tuesday. Tuesday’s visitors have conceded 10 goals this season and scored 16, with Sutton having scored 17 and conceded 11. Stats like this really prove how even this game will seem to be on Tuesday night, with any points for either side will be pinitol as we approach the mid-way stage of the season.

In terms of the Footrace points up for grabs from this fixture, backing a home win will see you earn 12 points to your weekly total. Adding ten to that total will leave you with 22 if you think the points will be shared and 25 points are up for grabs if you think 3 points are heading back to Swindon.

 

Wigan Athletic play hosts to MK Dons

19/10/2021 - League One

By Charlotte Atherton, Wigan Athletic writer

Wigan Athletic welcome MK Dons to the DW Stadium on Tuesday night for the latest instalment of Sky Bet League One fixtures.

Latics head into the game high off the back of their 4-0 win over their local rivals, Bolton Wanderers, at the weekend.

Despite a convincing win on Saturday, Wigan remain in third place in the table but they are hot on the tails of Wycombe Wanders and Plymouth Argyle above them.

Wigan have two games in hand on some sides in League One and they will be hoping to pick up their ninth win of the season against MK Dons.

MK Dons have been one of the surprise packages of the season so far, currently occupying the final play-off spot on the table.

The Dons opening 12 fixtures of the campaign have played out as five wins, four draws and three losses.

Yet, they travel to the North West on the back of back to back defeats, having not picked up a point in October so far.

Wigan manager Leam Richardson may be forced into changing his squad around slightly for the first time in seven games for the fixture.

Jordan Cousins was substituted off against Bolton at the weekend, with a suspected hamstring injury.

As a result, Max Power could be moved from right back to midfield as Tom Pearce will be hoping to make his return to the starting XI.

On Saturday, Wigan recorded their joint best start to a season since being elected to the Football League and they will be hoping to continue their good form with a result against MK Dons under the lights at the DW Stadium.

There are just 10 points available for a Wigan win, while there are 30 on offer if you back MK Dons to come away with an away victory on Tuesday night.

No time to dwell for Bantams as they face Hartlepool

19/10/2021 - League Two

By Fletcher Smith, Bradford City writer

The Bantams are looking to retain their impressive performance which saw them, unfortunately, conceding in the last minute which limited the hosts to only one point, here’s a recap of what happened:

The Bantams were rewarded for their outstanding performance after Charles Vernam finished a close-range effort following a rebounded save from Yann Songo’o’s effort was saved brilliantly.

Half time shortly followed from City’s deadlock breaker; it was an outstanding performance so far for the home side who could be two-three up at the break. The visitors enjoyed some attacking intent in the final stages but nothing dangerous.

Joey Barton’s half time team-talk was very effective and the visitors were back level instantly after Alfie Kilgour converted a corner into the top left corner.

Derek Adam’s side responded minutes later and regained their advantage. Vernam beat his man on the left-flank and placed the ball into the path of Andy Cook, City’s number nine converted the ball calmly into the top-left corner.

After the hosts regained the lead, the fixture became an end-to-end affair with Bristol showing some real attacking intent. Andy Cook had the ball in the net as he believed he doubled his tally; his powerful header was accused offside and the score remained the same.

After a nervy end to the clash Brett Pitman snatched a point for the traveling side, the centre forwards loping header beat O’Donnell and discredited Bradford from a great performance.

Newly promoted Hartlepool United have made an impressive start to the 21/22 campaign after claiming 17 points so far and placing themselves in 11th. Their most recent fixture concluded in a 2-0 defeat to Salford City.

This is the first league meeting between the Bantams and the Pools since 2005, which ended in Hartlepool claiming all three points in a 1-0 victory.

The player who could be the star-man for tomorrows clash is Charles Vernam. City’s in-form winger recorded another goal and assist against Bristol Rovers, boosting his goal contribution to six so far.

The Bantams injury situation is still a massive problem regarding selection options for Derek Adams, Eisa picked up another injury on Friday and has no current time-scale for his return. Angol and Canavan are not expected to feature in this clash but are very close to returning.

A home win for Bradford gives you 8 points and an away win for the Pools claims another 35 points.

Footrace Round 22 preview - Madrid Memories, Italian Job for Ole & Swedes for Blues

19/10/2021 - General

By Lewis Robinson, Chief Football Writer

Club Bruges vs Manchester City

Kicking off the Footrace round, Manchester City travel to Belgium to face Club Bruges Tuesday teatime.

Blauw-Zwart have made an impressive start to the Champions League campaign, holding PSG to a 1-1 draw in their first game and then beating RB Leipzig away from home 2-1.

Consequently, Pep Guardiola’s side can not afford complacency, especially being positioned 3rd in the group as it stands.

City may be boosted by the return of Ederson and Gabriel Jesus from international break, whilst Kevin De Bruyne seems to be coming back into form after his injury.

City should have enough quality to come through against Bruges, but with the Belgian side’s strong start to their European campaign, Philippe Clement’s men could be tough opposition for Guardiola’s City side.

Atlético Madrid vs Liverpool

After a resounding 5-0 win against Watford, Liverpool travel to Spain on Tuesday to take on Atlético Madrid.

Atletico on the other hand have not played since October 2, in an impressive 2-0 win against Barcelona.

The two week rest for Colchoneros could provide a big advantage against the Reds, with Liverpool playing Saturday and travelling to Spain for the game Tuesday.

Liverpool do have the advantage of having Mohamed Salah however, with many people in football saying the Egyptian is currently the best player in the world.

Jurgen Klopp’s men do however have bad memories against Atletico, being knocked out by the Spanish outfit in the last 16 of the Champions League in the 2019/20 season.

Liverpool are currently 2nd in the Premier League, with Atletico Madrid are 4th in La Liga. Atletico lost their league game prior to their win against Barca, whilst Liverpool haven’t lost a game all season, in all competitions.

Form certainly favours the Reds, but how many times have we seen a European masterclass by Simeone under the lights?

Manchester United vs Atalanta

Under pressure Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will face scrutiny as his Manchester United side take on Italian outfit Atalanta on Wednesday night.

United’s last win in any competition came in the Champions League, beating Villareal 2-1 back in September. Atalanta were also victorious in their last European outing, beating Young Boys 1-0.

The Red Devils’ rocky Premier League form means they currently lie in 6th, likewise to Atalanta, who are 6th in Serie A.

The Italian visitors will be no pushovers however, currently sitting top of Group F and unbeaten in this year’s competition so far. The same cannot be said for their opponents, who are 3rd in the group after a defeat to Young Boys in the last round.

Atalanta will be an untimely tricky test for Solskjaer in an important game for Manchester United’s European exploits.

Chelsea vs Malmö FF

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea look to be finding their feet once again after a shaky period not seen under the German’s stewardship.

The opposition for the Blues are Malmo, currently top of the Swedish top division. The same can be said for Chelsea, who returned to the top of the Premier League after beating Brentford 1-0.

In terms of the Champions League group, Malmo sit bottom of Group H after losing both of their games. Chelsea sit in second, winning one and losing one - their previous game in Europe, losing 1-0 to Juventus in Turin. In fact, every Champions League game the Blues have played so far has finished 1-0. Something to consider perhaps if you decide to place a prediction on this one.

You would think Chelsea would be capable of beating Malmo by a bigger margin, but like we saw with Sheriff, nothing is a given in this competition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stoke look to regain form hosting league leaders in midweek

18/10/2021 - Championship

By Lewis Williamson, Stoke City writer

After a disappointing trip to Sheffield at the weekend, Stoke City will be looking to return to winning ways, seeing their promotion attempts hampered by a 2-1 loss to Sheffield United.

They face stiff competition on Tuesday night as they host league leaders Bournemouth at the Britannia Stadium, a side that have failed to register a single loss so far in the Championship.

Despite an excellent first-half performance from Stoke at Sheffield, they will need to step up their game to maintain their good home form against an in-form Bournemouth.

The Cherries ran away 2-0 winners at Bristol City on Saturday with little room for improvement in their game to bring to Stoke. Scott Parker’s side will look to keep their scoring ways going at the Britannia.

Stoke will be unlikely to make any changes for the game. However, their recent performances have given hope for fans that any team in the Championship is fair game in a home match.

There could be one or two changes if Michael O’Neill looks to change tactics with the possibility of Jordan Thompson coming into midfield alongside either Joe Allen or Romaine Sawyers.

James Chester could be rested after starting the last game with the possibility of Leo Østigård returning in defence. Tyrese Campbell could be ready to make an appearance after training again more consistently after his long-term injury and featuring for the U23’s four times now.

Abdallah Sima will remain out of action for at least another week with his ankle injury, and Morgan Fox will still be out with his long-term hamstring injuries.

Scott Parker’s side will remain without David Brooks, Adam Smith, and Lewis Cook. Although, their selection choices will be bolstered by the return of the suspended Ben Pearson.

Stoke City will need to remain solid in defence and press on the attack to get anything from the unbeaten league leaders Bournemouth.

 

Flat performance stumps United, as they fall to another disappointing defeat against Leicester.

18/10/2021 - Premier League

By Nathan Shields, Manchester United writer

Poor defending and a lack of ideas in a confused display put an end to United’s 29 game unbeaten away run in the Premier League with a 4-2 loss to Leicester City on Saturday.

The hosts started off as by far the more dangerous side.

Foxes forward Kelechi Iheanacho left Paul Pogba and Harry Maguire to eat his dust six minutes in, and after some interchanging passes between James Maddison and Youri Tielemans, the returning reds skipper managed to recover.

However, against the run of play, an absolute screamer from Mason Greenwood put the visitors a goal to the good.

After some meandering exchanging of passes with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Bruno Fernandes out on the right flank, Greenwood made a chance out of nothing, cutting in onto his left foot and launching a rocket into the top corner - ending his goalless run at six games.

Leicester wasted no time pushing for a leveller, with Ricardo Pereira’s searching cross narrowly avoiding the far corner and whistling inches wide of the post.

In the 31st minute, their efforts were rewarded, with a huge assist coming from the reds’ shaky and unconvincing attempt to play it out from the back.

Maguire eventually succumbed to the relentless Leicester press and found himself caught in possession by Iheanacho.

Iheanacho then found Tielemans at the edge of the box, who looped a shot past a stranded De Gea to make it 1-1 at the King Power Stadium.

Victor Lindelof found himself in referee Craig Pawson’s book in the 52nd minute, but the Sweden captain in the wall blocked the following free-kick from James Maddison.

Nemanja Matic then almost bettered Greenwood’s stunner when United’s number 31 produced a sweetly struck shot on the half-volley, which dipped just over the bar.

In the 65th minute, another returning red came into the fray as Marcus Rashford replaced Sancho.

Shortly after, David De Gea made a terrific save to deny Tielemans a brace, tipping a thunderous effort onto the post and wide.

His heroics would soon mean nothing as the home side went ahead. Caglar Coyuncu tapped in following United’s failure to clear a corner.

De Gea again did his best to keep the ball out of the net, but his defenders’ inability to clear the danger resulted in a pinball that saw the ball find its way to the Leicester centre-half.

Solkjaer didn’t waste time changing things after going a goal down, with Scott McTominay and Jesse Lingard came on to replace Matic and Greenwood.

Within minutes, the score was level when Rashford raced onto the end of a fine over the top through ball from Lindelof and thumped home.

Sixteen seconds from kick-off and the home side found the net again. Ayoze Perez darted forwards, finding an unmarked Jamie Vardy who met the pass with a tidy half-volleyed strike. In the first minute of injury time came the final nail in the coffin, Maguire failed the track substitute Patson Daka, who smuggled home at the far post, following a corner.

Ole will be looking to utilise his squad for United’s next game – a home Champions League tie against Italian side Atalanta, with an eye on his side’s next Premier League fixture, a massive game against rivals Liverpool.

With everybody seemingly coming away from the King Power Stadium without picking up any injuries, Solksjaer faces no new selection conundrums.

However, he will want to freshen up ideas as well as legs to improve his side’s fortunes after a string of lacklustre performances.

Tottenham spoil Newcastle takeover party

18/10/2021 - Premier League

By Archie Burkinshaw, Tottenham Hotspur writer

I knew the atmosphere was going to be electric but it still exceeded my expectations, just watching it on the TV made it feel like I was at the stadium. Therefore, it was no surprise that the Magpies came flying out of the block from kick-off, taking the lead inside two minutes thanks to a well worked move culminating in a Callum Wilson header.

For the first 15 minutes, Newcastle played at a ridiculous intensity, which completely overwhelmed Spurs, thankfully the score was kept at only 1-0. After the initial exchanges Tottenham vitally realised Newcastle couldn’t defend, so instead of trying to play through the middle Spurs mixed it up and played the long ball to test Newcastle’s back line.

At the first time of asking it worked, Sergio Reguilón's beautiful first touch allowed the Spaniard to play the ball to Tanguy Ndombele on the edge of the area who then curled a beauty into the top corner. This derailed the Newcastle players who could feel the mood shift in the stadium. The mood was not going to improve as Tottenham were not done there and two well worked moves later Kane and Son had put Tottenham 3-1 up at half time.

The contest was done at that point, the second-half proved to be an incredibly one sided affair. Tottenham should have scored more, especially as substitute Jonjo Shelvey was sent off with ten minutes left to play. Instead Tottenham actually lost the second-half 1-0 due to a comical Eric Dier own goal two minutes from time, meaning Tottenham ran out 3-2 winners.

Tottenham handled the occasion tremendously given the circumstances and beat a poor side that showed bags of spirit. Nuno appears to have found his team following back to back victories fielding the same starting XI in a 4-2-3-1 formation, Skipp and Højbjerg give a brilliant balance to the side, allowing Ndombele, who was the best player on the pitch, to play higher up the field and create problems. Kane was back to his best, leading the line instead of playing as an attacking midfielder and he took his goal superbly, calmly lifting the ball over the onrushing Dúbravka to get his Premier League goal tally up and running.

Tottenham’s front four of Ndombele, Lucas, Son and Kane linked up beautifully, optimised by Spurs' third goal which had all of them involved, cutting Newcastle open allowing Son to score an easy tap-in. I think we will cause most teams problems going forward. It is our backline which concerns me. Conceding two goals in a game we completely dominated is a worrying sign.

Special mention needs to be given to Sergio Reguilón who pleaded with the referee to stop the game after he saw a Newcastle fan collapse in the stands, Eric Dier also responded brilliantly by running over to the bench to ensure a defibrillator was taken immediately over to stand where it was needed. Thankfully, an update was given after the game had finished stating the fan who had gone into cardiac arrest was in a stable condition in hospital.

The games keep coming thick and fast for Tottenham who travel to Holland mid-week to face SBV Vitesse in the Europa Conference League before then making the short trip to play in-form West Ham on Sunday.

COYS!

Substitutes inspire United comeback victory

18/10/2021 - Championship

By Owain Wyse, Sheffield United writer

Goals from Substitutes Lys Mousset and David McGoldrick inside the last ten minutes turned the game on its head after Jacob Brown’s 55th minute opener.

The Blades made one enforced change with Jaydon Bogle replacing the injured George Baldock at right back, opponents Stoke also made one change, West Brom loanee Romaine Sawyers replacing Jordan Thompson in the heart of the midfield.

In an exciting game both sides showed their obvious qualities, as they pushed each other every step of the way in a tight battle to gain one over fellow promotion rivals. From a United point of view there were many positives within the performance, good spells of possession football and innovative flicks and movement around the oppositions area provided good chances for a goal. Defensively they also looked solid, mainly restricting their high-flying opponents to shots from long range and set pieces for their best efforts on goal.

Despite the good United performance in the first half, they couldn’t find a way through Adam Davies, who made multiple good saves throughout the half, a header from Billy Sharp being the best of the lot. Stoke also had their chances, two falling to the goal scorer Jacob Brown. First his looping header was cleared off the line by Billy Sharp then, his powerful drive from outside the area was well beaten away by Swedish stopper Robin Olsen.

In the second half the first chance fell to Enda Stevens, but he could only fire his left footed shot wide of his far post. Shortly after Stoke opened the scoring, Brown turning away from three United defenders and shooting right footed into the near bottom corner. He earned himself a booking for his celebration in the process.

Slavisa Jokanovic then turned to his bench first Mousset, then Hourihane and finally David McGoldrick. Just three minutes after coming onto the field McGoldrick was involved, first his one two with Billy Sharp got him in behind then he showed the necessary intelligence to look across the line and find the square ball to Lys Mousset who powered his finish home into the top corner.

Just a few minutes after their first United completed the turnaround. Connor Hourihane slipped the ball into the path of the advancing Enda Stevens, who fired his first time cross low and hard into the area. David McGoldrick continued his run onto the loose ball and directed his finish into the bottom right corner.

With that win United move up to 13th 5 points behind Huddersfield, who occupy the final play off spot. Opponents Stoke drop down to 5th 2 points clear of 7th placed Reading.

 

Mendy heroics vital as Chelsea avoid Bee's sting

18/10/2021 - Premier League

By Louis Pantziarka, Chelsea writer

Chelsea held on for a well fought 1-0 victory over Brentford at the Community Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with Ben Chilwell netting the only goal of the game.

The Blues were forced to put together a makeshift defence, with Toni Rudiger, Thiago Silva and Reece James deemed not fit enough to face the Bees. Nathaniel Chalobah and Andreas Christensen were joined by Malang Sarr making his Premier League debut, while in midfield Ruben Loftus-Cheek made a second consecutive start and N’Golo Kante was back in - Mason Mount and Jorginho started on the bench.

Thomas Tuchel had warned that this would be a difficult game for Chelsea, but his side succeeded in dampening the crowd with a comfortable start to the game. Loftus-Cheek once again started in the deepest midfield role and was instrumental in the opening minutes. He looked comfortable in and out of possession – pressing Brentford’s midfield, driving forward impressively and keeping the ball with consummate ease.

Chelsea hit the back of the net about after 20 minutes – counter attacking well after Bryan Mbeumo hit the post for Brentford, only for Romelu Lukaku to be deemed offside as Timo Werner put the ball on a plate for him. Werner looked the most likely to make something happen and he nearly put the away side ahead after some more good link-up play between him and Lukaku.

Just as it was looking like the first half would peter out, Chilwell popped up with the all-important goal. Cesar Azpilicueta floated a cross into the area and as it was cleared to the edge of the box, Chilwell caught the ball flush on the half-volley. It was such a sweet hit that David Raya didn’t stand a chance and was the left back’s third goal in three games for club and country.

Chelsea started the second half in a similar vein to how they started the first – keeping the ball, but rarely looking like creating big chances. That allowed Brentford to grow into the game, as their pressing game kicked into gear and the home crowd got behind them. By the time the seventy minute mark came around, the pressure really began to tell and the Edouard Mendy show could begin.

With an inexperienced back line, Chelsea were always going to rely on Mendy at some point and boy did he deliver. The Senegalese international made four vital saves, including an acrobatic tip over the bar from an overhead kick and a point-blank stop with his face.

Chalobah was forced to clear off the line, as along with Christensen and Sarr the away side fought off wave after wave of Brentford attack. With minutes remaining the Blues managed to take the sting out of the game, interrupting the home side’s flow with injury stoppages. In the end the final whistle was a welcome relief, as Tuchel summed up speaking to the BBC after the game:

"We were very strong for 70 minutes and very lucky for 20 minutes, to sum it up. We escaped with the three points thanks to Edouard (Mendy). It was like a cup game at the end; they took risks and the atmosphere gave them a lot of courage."

This wasn’t a classic Chelsea performance by any means, but it was one of those results that champions grind out. They didn’t play badly, but they also never hit top gear. Mendy deserved his man of the match award and the Blues fought hard for the three points. They’ll now hope to build some momentum as they welcome underdogs Malmo to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

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