It’s been a few weeks since I had a column for Mr Fix its tips as I have been fortunate enough to be in Rome for the Ryder Cup and then Lille for the rugby World Cup followed by the international break, but delighted to be back now and picking up from the last few columns where we were having some good success.
Rotherham vs Ipswich
I am going to start on Friday night as Ipswich travel to Rotherham for the Friday night game on Sky TV. The Tractor boys have started the season well continuing their form at the back end of last season where their season ended with promotion to the Championship. Their start has been that good that only one promoted side in the last 15 years can match their points return from the opening 11 games. Their results aren’t down to luck as they have now beaten sides in and around the top six and sit in the top three in almost every underlying metric. I have them 3rd on xPTS, 3rd on xG ratio, with no side generating a higher xG than Ipswich and 2nd for shots on target ratio. 11 games is a decent sized sample as it equates to 23% of the season so Ipswich have a real chance to finish in the top six.
Conor Chaplin was the League One leading scorer last season and has carried on in similar form with five goals in his opening 11 games. No side in the Championship has had more shots or shots on target than Ipswich this term it’s therefore not that surprising that no player has had more shots than Chaplin and he sits 2nd for shots on target with an average of 4.97 and 1.42 shots / shots on target per 90 mins.
No side has conceded more goals than The Millers with 22 conceded in 11 matches and only Blackburn have conceded more shots, and no side has faced more shots on target. I then have them bottom on xPTS, xG ratio, shots on target ratio and shots in the box ratio, this is a side that is struggling at both ends. Rotherham also have a growing injury list with centre backs Grant Hall, Cameron Humphreys and Tyler Blackett all out for the game on Friday night. Sean Morrison another centre back has trained during the international break, but he hasn’t played late August so will not be match fit.
Meanwhile Vicktor Johanssons return from international duty has been delayed as he was involved in the Belgium vs Sweden match where the tragic events unfolded meaning he won't get back into the country until Thursday.
Ipswich should continue their great start with victory over the Millers and I can see them scoring at least twice. The Tractor boys have scored 2+ in six of their 11 games this season and then we can add Chaplin to have at least two shots and one shot on target to boost the odds to 4/5 with Bet365. Chaplin has had two shots and one shot on target in 10 of 11 games this season and the one game this didn’t land he had two shots with one hitting the bar.
- Ipswich to score over 1 goal, Chaplin over 1.5 shots and over 0.5 shots on target. 4/5 with Bet365
Charlton vs Reading
Charlton have had an uptick in form since Michael Appleton joined the club as manager. Since the change of manager, the Addicks have returned W3-D3-L0 in all competitions whereas before they had started the season with W2-D0-L6 with wins over Leyton Orient on the opening weekend and a 2-1 home victory over Fleetwood. Despite the Addicks having a slow start to the season their home performances have been good. So far at the Valley they have returned W4-D1-L2 with both defeats coming with goals conceded in the 87th and 91st minute. I have Charlton top for home xPTS this season and the rest of the underlying home metrics are also strong with 2nd highest xG, 5th for shot ratio and no side has had more shots in the box at home.
The squad at Charlton is strong so it was a surprise to see them struggle early on. Alfie May, Scott Fraser, Tayo Edun, Camara Panutche (who is now returning from injury), and Charlie Kirk should have started the in much better form than they did. However, since Appleton came in results have improved and are unbeaten in their last six league matches which has seen them pick up 12 points, including wins over Fleetwood, Wycombe Wanderers and Exeter.
Alfie May is has hit the ground running since his summer move and currently has seven goals from 10 matches and will be a real threat to the Reading back line. Reading are having financial worries off the pitch and this is having an impact on results on the pitch.
At the start of the season, it was unknown if they could muster enough players to put out a side for the opening game of the season with delays with getting players registered due to sanction imposed by the league for financial matters and their squad remains s. Its now three wins for the Royals this season and they sit 22nd with just 10 points won but with four points deducted meaning they have just six points leaving just Wigan, another side with points deducted and Cheltenham who have only scored once all season beneath them. No side has collected fewer away points than the Royals and that include Cheltenham! The Royals have scored only nine goals from 11 matches this term with only three sides scoring fewer.
On their travels I have Reading 21st on xPTS and on xG ratio, with no side having a higher xGA from their away fixtures. No side concedes more shots in the box than the Royals and they have conceded two or more goals in four of their six away games without a clean sheet. It’s been 11 months since Reading last won an away fixture and I don’t see this changing now.
- Charlton win at 5/6 with Unibet.
Oxford vs Blackpool
Oxford looked overpriced here and I am happy to get on them to win this game at 10/11 with Betfair. The Us have been in excellent form seven wins from eight games and nine of their 11 games this season having beaten Stevenage, Charlton, Exeter, Barnsley and Derby. At home its now W5-D0-L1 with their only defeat coming to Port Vale. In the home defeat to Vale, they won the shot count 12 vs 8 and shot on target count 6 vs 5 plus the non-pen xG 0.87 vs 0.78 but a penalty cost them deep into stoppage time. Oxford had two players sent off including one when they equalised in the 93rd minute before conceding a penalty in the 99th minute to lose the game.
Their underlying performance at home have also been strong. Only three sides have scored more goals at home with an average of 2.0 per game and they have conceded an average of 0.60. Defensively it’s been excellent. 2nd best xGA with 0.60 and then 2nd for fewest shots conceded, touches in the box and shots in the box with no side conceding more shots on target in the box than Oxford in their home games.
Using the player rating complied by Whoscored.com we can see that they have Cameron Brannagan, Sam Long and Elliot Moore in all the best performing players in the league so far this term. Liam Manning is an excellent coach, and he took MK Dons to the League One play offs having missed out on automatic promotion by a single point and they eventually lost in the semi-final. Over that summer he lost several key players and regression was always likely, but he was sacked and came to Oxford in March 2023. Since he has joined, they have lost just five games from his 21 games at manager and at home its W6-D2-L3 with defeats coming last season to Bolton who finished 5th and Accrington on the final game of the season which was all but a dead rubber with survival confirmed.
The hosts have recruited well over the summer with the arrivals of Mark Harris, Greg Leigh, Ruben Rodrigues and Kyle Edwards, although the latter its currently injured, these players have made a big difference to the hosts.
Blackpool have gone W5-D4-L3 this season but on the road its W1-D2-L2 with their only victory at Barnsley. They have conceded two or more at Charlton, Wycombe and Lincoln and only four sides have won fewer points on the road. I have them down in 20th place for away xPTS and 15th for away xG ratio with only four sides having a higher xGA than Blackpool. Blackpool victories this season have been over Burton, Wigan, Reading, Barnsley and Stevenage. Three of these five sides sit in the bottom half and Barnsley have only twice at home all season. Its my belief that the 3-0 victory over Stevenage has influenced the odds here. Blackpool scored three goals from three shots on target which isn’t a sustainable return.
- Oxford win at 10/11 with Betfair.