Wednesday, September 19, 2012



Brentford ( half) and Porto both won yesterday and the week has begun well (4/4). The Champions League started with a bang and some terrific action, apart from once again at the San Siro, where the hosts are going to have to change their name to Milan 0 . Three home starts, no goals and the locals are not happy !



The Crew will have two of their most valuable players available to start tonight, Federico Higuain's toe contusion has healed and keeper Andy Gruenebaum is also available after colliding with the woodwork in New York. The Argentine striker ( 7 appearances-3 goals -5 assists), big brother of Gonzalo, really hit the ground running ar Crew, which is a rarity in the MLS, where the game is played at high tempo, but he has not contributed in his last two outings and maybe the pace is catching up with him. Gruenebaum is considered key and their MVP through the opening half of the campaign when Crew were struggling for goals, but he has conceded 13 in his last seven starts and the increased productivity at one end of the pitch, as come at a cost. This match is huge for them, after consecutive losses, three points would take them back into the playoff spots, ahead of a very tough looking trip to Chicago at the weekend. BTW the top five in each Conference automatically make the playoffs now in the MLS, a much better rule, with everything far more clear cut. Also out for Crew are midfielder Bernardo Anor (11-1-0 not played for two months) and central defender Carlos Mendes (11-0-0 only lost twice when he played).



I  discussed York City ahead of their second match of the season, a 2-2 draw at Morecambe .... City are ambitious and after taking eight years to reclaim their league status, they have no intention of fighting a relegation battle this season. They added a lot of league experience to their squad in the summer and they should be in for a solid season. They opened with a 3-1 home loss to Wycombe Wanderers, afterwards boss Gary Mills said “Certain things could have been done better by ourselves on Saturday but we can put them right. I certainly didn’t think Wycombe were any better than us as a team." His side have tended to start slowly at home in each of the last couple of seasons ( losing 2 of 3 last season, but still promoted), whilst playing with more freedom on the road, where they only lost three times all season. Two of the goals conceded came from possession lost in midfield, they looked far more secure in this area after the introduction of Jon Challinor, Matty Blair and John McReady in the second half, all of whom will be pressing for starting places, defender Lanre Oyebanjo ( 9 clean sheets in his last 15 starts) and striker Jamie Reed      ( 26 goals last season for York and Bangor) both sat out at the weekend, but are expected to play some part tonight.

Quite pleased with that write up, City are unbeaten in six since then, including four on the road in which they scored seven goals, they have clearly come to terms with life in League 2 and are even playing with a bit of a swagger, they can go sixth with a win tonight and that is a big incentive. The board is supporting the team and allowed them to travel down very early to Devon for the match with Exeter on Saturday, even training there on Friday, the Grecians were second going into that game and the vistors really should have taken all three points, leading for half an hour and then almost resnatching the lead at the death. Home boss Gary Mills has almost an entirely full squad to choose from with Chris Doig, Scott Kerr, Oli Johnson and Dave McGurk all back in training. Kerr is still a couple of weeks away from getting back to 100% ,but the only other doubt is over Jamie Reed who is still recovering from injury and sat out training on Monday.

Hosts have been scoring freely at times, putting four past Oxford United here at the weekend and six in the AFC Wimbledon net, sandwiched inbetween was a 1-0 loss at home to Fleetwood Town
, the Dons are defensively a shambles and the match against United was a strange one, Albion scored four wonder goals and you really have to see them to understand what I mean LINK and they were not a real reflection on the game as a whole.
Albion boss Gary Rowett , to give him his due, was a little embarassed after the match, at least at the margin of victory, anyhow, United and Wimbledon are in freefall and very low on confidence, City most definitely are not and will provide a much sterner challenge for the hosts tonight. For Burton, striker Billy Kee (4-1-0) will be a doubt after suffering from a sickness bug ( these things also have a habit of spreading quickly) and left sided midfielder Chris Palmer (3-0-0)  has joined John McGrath and Jimmy Phillips on the sidelines with an ankle injury, which leaves them increasingly short of midfield options. 1.25 units York City level ball 2.07 asian line.
Good Luck.

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