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Bristol City-Chesterfield Town
Bristol started the season as one of the favourites to be promoted from League 1 and, already, they’re well on the way to achieving that goal. They’re yet to lose in the league and, while Chesterfield sit 6th, they have only won once in their last 4, so I’m expecting a pretty run of the mill HOME victory.
Colchester United-Fleetwood Town
Colchester sit 21st, Fleetwood sit 10th. A pretty simple Fleetwood win, then? Perhaps. Colchester have lost 6 of their last 10, while Fleetwood have only won once in their last 8. Neither side is impressing of late and that’ll probably continue here, so I’ll go DRAW and AWAY.
Crawley Town-Peterborough United
While Peterborough have been through a bit of a form blip in recent weeks, I still think they’re far too good for League 1. They, along with Bristol City, should really be promoted this season, but Peterborough will really need to up their game. They’ve lost their last 2 away from home but, against a Crawley side that might struggle to survive this season, I think they’ll get the 3 points. AWAY.
These two teams have, so far, been nothing more than terrible this season. Gillingham sit 18th while managerless Scunthorpe have a pitiful return of 7 points from their first 11 games. I can see this being a poor game, and I’m going to call HOME and DRAW.
This clash is unlikely to be one for the football purist, but it should be a good day for the Oldham faithful. Oldham, unbeaten in 7 league games, are gradually making their way up the leaderboard, while opponents Walsall are showing the erratic form of a true mid-table side. I’m going HOME.
Sheffield United-Leyton Orient
Sheffield United, winners in 5 of their last 8 league games, take on Leyton Orient, winners in just 1 of their last 8. Russell Slade has finally been unveiled as the Cardiff manager so at least that protracted distraction is now over, but I think Orient will continue to struggle for the next few weeks at least. HOME win.
Scotland look to be making progress under Strachan and if they’re to have a hope of qualifying for the competition proper then they’ll need to win games like this. They should have far too much for little old Georgia, so I’m calling a HOME win.
Finland have only lost 1 of their last 7, though they’ve not really faced anyone of note during that time. Greece, while managing to reach the WC’s last 16, weren’t entirely convincing at any stage of the tournament, eventually being eliminated by Costa Rica on penalties. I think the cold weather conditions could work in Finland’s favour, so for that reason alone I’m going to say this’ll end as a HOME win.
It’s the champions of the world against, well, Poland. This is only going one way. AWAY win.
17th vs 7th. Although the league table would suggest that Bradford should win this one, I’m going to take a risk and back it the other way. Barnsley have a decent squad, especially for League 1, and should really start climbing up the rankings once they get settled. HOME.
At the time of writing Austria haven’t lost in any of their last 6, a fairly impressive stat when you consider that they’ve faced Sweden, Czech Republic, Uruguay and USA in that time. Montenegro have only lost 1 of their last 5 (a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Slovakia), so this could be quite a tasty game, but I’m backing Austria to do the business. HOME.
Bosnia & Herzegovina-Belgium
Both of these teams failed to make a real impression in the World Cup. Belgium managed to reach the quarter-finals – where they were eventually knocked out by Argentina – without ever impressing, but if you can win when you’re playing badly then that’s a good sign. Bosnia have the triple threat of Ibišević, Džeko and Pjanić so will always pose a threat, and I think that on this occasion they will bag the victory. I’m going to go for HOME, but I’ll chuck in the safety net of a DRAW.
There seems to be a growing sense of belief within the Welsh camp that they have a squad capable of reaching Euro 2016 and, with players like Bale and Ramsey, it’s not too drastic a shout. Wales should comfortably see off the minnows of Cyprus – HOME win.
Scotland look a solid outfit at the minute (although I’m writing this before what will now inevitably be a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Georgia), so I think they’ll come away from Poland with a point at least. I’m going to say DRAW, but in my heart of hearts I can see them bagging a win. On this occasion, however, I’ll stick with my head.
It’s the showdown everyone wants to see: Bendtner vs. Ronaldo. One of the best players in the world against one of the top 3 strikers at Wolfsburg. Superstars don’t come any bigger than these two. All eyes will be fixed on the deadly duo but, unfortunately, I’m not expecting much from this one. Neither side is all that good and both could win it on a good day, so I’m going to remain neutral and go for a DRAW.
By Joe Phelan