Football – England – League One
Saturday 12th January 2013 – Kickoff: 1500hrs
There are some big matches in store for League One followers this weekend, but this fixture is arguably the biggest of them all this weekend as 7th placed Bournemouth entertain 5th placed Swindon Town at the Seward Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
After a fourteen match unbeaten run, Bournemouth are now on the brink of breaking into the play-offs thanks to this remarkable run of form instigated by manager Eddie Howe. This isn’t quite the be-all and end-all though as even if Bournemouth win today they would need to win by 19 clear goals to replace their opponents today in the top six, but nevertheless, the south coast side will want their amazing run to continue.
Bournemouth’s recent wins include wins at Scunthorpe United, and then three home wins on the trot against Colchester United 1-0, Yeovil Town 3-0 and Crawley Town 3-0 along with a useful point at 4th placed Brentford on New Years Day. Last weekend, they also held Premier League club Wigan Athletic to a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup and this gave manager Howe a welcome indication as to how far his side have come since his re-appointment.
Bournemouth’s home record in League One stands at 7-5-1 25/11 and their danger men include striker Lewis Grabban (10 goals, 2 assists) with Daniels, Pugh, Arter, Barnard and Tubbs (all with 4 goals each) while Francis and Pugh have both chipped in with 6 assists each.
Visitors Swindon Town now know they have a serious challenger to their play-off position as Bournemouth have steadily climbed the table on the back of some impressive displays. However, Swindon Town have also been impressive of late having won their last four League One matches to nil; 2-0 at Oldham Athletic was followed up with two 5-0 home wins over league leaders Tranmere Rovers and Portsmouth respectively, and last weekend they ran out easy winners over Carlisle United 4-0.
Without any offence being meant to the other teams Swindon Town have played away from home so far this season, Paulo Di Canio’s men face their toughest assignment yet when they travel to Bournemouth, and recent performances on the road haven’t been entirely convincing.
Sure, The Robins have recently won at Stevenage, Walsall and Oldham Athletic but these teams have also struggled on their own patch this season and are susceptible to the better quality teams. Swindon Town though have also lost at mid-table clubs Notts County and Crewe Alexandra in recent weeks, and I am not confident at all on putting my hard-earnt on Swindon’s backs here.
Swindon’s away record stands at a solid enough 6-2-3 16/10 and they obviously present quite a dangerous attacking unit which includes Jim Collins (10 goals), Matt Ritchie (9 goals, 9 assists), Raffaele De Vita (8 goals) and Andrew Williams (7 goals) with Simon Ferry providing 4 assists.
But Bournemouth have the upper hand here I feel as they have home advantage and with last weekend’s draw at Wigan that result would have felt like a win for Howe’s boys and I’ll back them with the round ball again today – could be a tight one, 1-1 or perhaps a 2-1 win for Bournemouth but if it’s a draw we get our stake refunded.
Pick: Bournemouth AH0 (Draw No Bet) @ 1.73 Pinnacle