Two and a Half Goals Column: Liberty Stadium to host another low-scoring game

18May 2013



Spanish football, a Playoff Final, and the last day of the Premier League season all feature in The Inside Man's search to get on the right side of the two and a half goals dilemma this weekend...




Bradford v Northampton


In terms of importance, and even venue, the climax of the League Two season is effectively a cup final. And as was aptly demonstrated by Wigan and Manchester City just a week ago, these games often turn out to be goalscoring duds.


But perhaps a more important factor to consider, is the lack of goals that were scored in these sides' previous meetings this season. Two were league games, the most recent of which was played just last month. Both produced 1-0 defeats for Northampton. The Cobblers improved slightly to achieve a 1-1 draw in an FA Cup fixture, while the replay for that game was the only one of those four encounters to prove high-scoring, ending 2-2 after 90 minutes, prior to extra time and a Bradford win on penalties.


So don't expect Northampton to be in any way bold in this match. Aidy Boothroyd's side will be extremely wary of an opponent they've yet to defeat this season. Northampton are also, by their very nature, an extremely cautious side. A look at their last 12 league matches reveals only one that was high-scoring.


Recommended Bet: Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.74



Getafe v Valencia


I'm expecting a open, attacking match in La Liga, where Valencia are looking to salvage their season by snatching the last of the coveted Champions League positions.


Los Che, or 'the goats', had previously been nibbling away at the gap to a Euro spot. But they then drew level with 4th placed Real Sociedad , thanks to a couple of thumping back to back 4-0 wins.


It seems Erneste Valverde's team have hit their stride at just the right time. Despite struggling for goals earlier in the season, they are now finding the net with ease and have scored 18 times in just their last five games.


And that doesn't bode well for a Getafe side who've won just one of their last seven matches. What does bode well for us though, is the 4-2 win Valencia inflicted on Getafe earlier in the season. That suggests goals could again be on the cards.


And with Getafe themselves still in with a chance of qualifying for the Europa League, they too have plenty of incentive to push on for the win, which provides us with a degree of security against either side just settling for the draw.


Recommended Bet: Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.72





West Ham v Reading


There's a danger of complacency in so many of this weekend's games between two teams with nothing to play for. But for me, these particular sides look more motivated than most for Sunday's league finale.


Reading may have lost 2-0 at Man City in midweek, but they showed real attacking intent thoughout that match, attempting 12 shots on goal. Even more appealing for us though, is that they allowed 30 attempts on their own net, suggesting that Nigel Adkins managerial style is still as open and entertaining as it ever was.


A 4-2 away win at Fulham the previous week suggests the Royals are still taking their season seriously. With Adkins being a fairly recent appointment, both he and his players will likely feel they still have plenty to prove before the curtain comes down on their campaign.


Meanwhile, West Ham will no doubt want to sign off in style following a fantastic return-season for them in the top flight. The majority of the Hammers' home games have been high scoring and I make this a heavy odds-on to be another, as they look for the victory that would secure Big Sam and his side a top half finish.


Recommended Bet: Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.72



Swansea v Fulham


This fixture could be one of those that busts many a person's weekend coupon. It contains two sides who, at their best, contain plenty of goals. The problem is, neither is at their best.


Since securing their league status and enjoying their Carling Cup day-out at Wembley, the Swans have been left with little to play for in recent weeks. And it shows. Two goalless draws in their last two home games speak volumes.


And while Fulham might conjure images of a free-scoring Dimitar Berbatov, that certainly hasn't been true in Fulham's recent away matches. The Cottagers last four road games have all been low-scoring.


The key word here is motivation. Yes, both sides have the potential to turn this into a goal-fest, should they be bothered to. But I don't think they will. The Swans' defence has played a big part in their reaching the top half of the table this season. The other big reason has been the goals of Michu. And if there's even a hint of truth to speculation about his imminent departure, you can be sure the Spaniard won't be busting a gut for his current team on Sunday.


Recommended Bet: Back Under 2.5 Goals @ 2.12



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Keywords: Two and a Half Goals, Liberty Stadium, Bradford, Northampton

Source: Betfair

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