Whilst the big European Football leagues take winter breaks, the Football Leagues does it for the fans, giving them plenty O Christmas cheer with a full book of fixtures on Boxing Day, making it a sporting day of choice for Australians. Well, if there was a decent Test Match contest. Armed with a day of cricket and pretending to care about yachting for the mandatory five minutes in a year, the reward for staying up on boxing Day is some great Football League action.
BRIGHTON’S UNBEATEN RUN ENDS
After an unbeaten run of 21 games to start the season, Brighton were well beaten by the now table topping Middlesbrough in the early game last weekend. They now sit in third but just three points behind the leaders, but the question is will the one loss lead to many as so often is the case of a team who have a long unbeaten run. Hopefully the surprise packet of the season so far remain in contention until the end, and give fans and Chris Hughton the success they deserve.
PORT VALE FANS TOLD TO SHUT UP
Interesting story about Port Vale from the BBC, a club we rarely mention here at The Gurgler but should more often. The captain of the club came out to condemn fans who have been negative towards the club. The two losses in three has brought the unhappiness but this followed a run of four straight wins, and they remain just 4 points from sixth in 13th place, and after tasting Championship football last in the late 90’sthe captain argues it’s not a bad place to be. Better than Colchester who are on a run of seven straight losses and sit in last.
YORK’S WIN LEAVES YEOVIL ON THE WORSR RUN FOR GENERATION Y
York and Yeovil were battling each other for League Two’s longest winless streak, both well into the double figures, and as a result were also battling for the last place in the Football League. York are now third last, above Yeovil and the recently managerless Dagenham & Redbridge, but will need to keep winning as they are 5 points shy of fourth last and just two in front of last. That gap will be hard to close later in the year, and even harder is getting out of Non League if a team falls back.
There’s been a few since last week, and here’s the list of changes. It’s a busy year for the compensation kings, 38 teams have changed manager across the four divisions since June 2015.
Brian McDermott returned to READING
John Still resigned from LUTON
Sean O’Driscoll was hired at WALSALL
Wayne Burnett (15th in longest serving of 4 top divs) was sacked at DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE
HULL v BURNLEY – An EPL fixture last year, these two sides are just off the pace of Derby and Middlesbrough and Burnley just turned around a 6 game winless streak last weekend with a win. A loss for either will allow the chasing pack to close up the gap from sixth.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST v LEEDS UNITED – two team on the rise towards the top of the form tables. A win for either will get them within touching distance of the Top 6.
COLCHESTER v SOUTHEND – The Essex derby and two teams going in opposite directions. Southend are unbeaten in 7 whilst Colchester have lost 7 in a row. League Two awaits if the rot doesn’t stop whilst Southend will eye a return to the Championship.
$1 for $7
DERBY to beat Fulham
BRENTFORD to beat Brighton
HULL to beat Burnley
CHAMPIONS ALL DRAWS
$1 for $30
Ipswich v QPR
Blackburn v Middlesbrough
Wolves v Reading
LEAGUE ONE WINNERS
$1 for $20
COVENTRY to beat Port Vale
SWINDON to beat Gillingham
PETERBOROUGH to beat Chesterfield
BRADFORD to beat Burton
DRAWN OUT LEAGUE ONE
$1 for $14
DRAW – Wigan v Sheffield Utd
DRAW – Blackpool v Oldham
DRAW or SOUTHEND v Colchester
LEAGUE TWO WINNERS
$1 for $23
PLYMOUTH to beat Yeovil
BRISTOL ROVERS to beat Wimbledon
WYCOMBE to beat Luton
OXFORD to beat Exeter
LEAGUE TWO XMAS MIRACLES
$1 for $26
DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE to beat Cambridge
YORK to beat Northampton
BARNET to beat Newport
– After Brighton’s loss Derby and Middlesbrough are now the longest unbeaten sides with 6, the chasing QPR and Nottingham Forest are next with 5.
– Bolton remain the division’s and Football League’s worst form club with no wins in 16. Managerless Fulham are 8 without win.
– Middlesbrough have not conceded a goal in 6 games.
– Ipswich have won just one of their last nine.
– Southend head into their derby on a seven game unbeaten streak. Next up are leader Burton with 5.
– Colchester are one more game off equalling Barnsley’s 8 straight losses. They already are 8 without win.
– Chesterfield have lost their last 6 also and are in freefall down the table after a top 6 place earlier in the season.
– Peterborough’s game have averaged 3.7 goals this season. Leader Burton’s games are just 2.22.
– Unbeaten run of 6 belongs to 3 teams – Portsmouth (4th) Accrington (6th) and Stevenage (18th)
– Portsmouth have the second best For and Against behind Championship high flyers Derby and Middlesbrough.