West Midlands Football Blog
9th September 2016
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Aston Villa

Another point gained for the Villa, but equally two points dropped as Roberto Di Matteo’s side drew 0-0 away to Ipswich Town, and fans and owner alike are becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of wins.

Things must change if the Villa want to be playing Premier League football next season, and it could be a season defining game this weekend as they host Newcastle United. The Magpies are familiar with the Championship after spending the 2009-10 season in the second tier. Meanwhile in other news, recently turned 21-year-old, Jack Grealish, had a party last weekend, so may be unavailable for selection. There’s mixed news on the injury front as Aaron Tshibola is declared fit, but Rudy Gestede, Ross McCormack and Nathan Baker are all doubtful. Whilst Villa are yet to lose at home, Newcastle have made easy work of many teams this season.

On Tuesday the Villa travel North to face Barnsley who have recorded impressive 4-0 wins over both Rotherham and Wolverhampton Wanderers this term - a tough game should be expected.

Thebestof Birmingham prediction: Villa 1-0 Newcastle

Thebestof Birmingham prediction: Barnsley 1-1 Villa

Birmingham City

The Blues are sitting pretty in fifth place after a Clayton Donaldson penalty and late winner from Lukas Jutkiewicz cancelled out Gary Hooper’s 76th minute opener in the match against Sheffield Wednesday last week.

This weekend City travel to West London to take on Queens Park Rangers, who are looking for their first win at home in the league since their opening day victory over Leeds United. QPR are definitely on a bit of a bad run at the moment, so the Blues should expect to go there and at least come home with a point. On Tuesday night the Blues will host Preston North End who suffered an embarrassing 5-0 defeat to Brentford in their last Championship outing, but a win on the weekend at home to Athletic could give them some unwanted confidence.

Thebestof Birmingham prediction: QPR 3-0 Blues

Thebestof Birmingham prediction: Blues 2-1 Preston

West Bromwich Albion

A 4-2 win over West Ham sees Albion sit in 10th place. Nacer Chadli opened the scoring from the spot in the eighth minute before Solomon Rondon and James McClean gave the Baggies a 3-0 lead going into the break, before Chaldi nabbed his second just before the hour mark. A brief resurgence from the Hammers produced two goals, but the Baggies held on and took all three points.

This weekend Tony Pulis will manage his 1,000th game, coincidentally against former club, Stoke City, who find themselves bottom of the league with only one point. Traditionally a tough place to go, the Bet365 Stadium may not feel as intimidating for Albion with Stoke’s recent form.

Thebestof Birmingham prediction: Stoke 0-2 Albion

Paget Rangers

Last week Paget came from behind twice to beat Smithswood Firs 4-3. The hosts opened the scoring early on but Danny Carter cancelled it out after half an hour, before Smithswood managed to get one in before the break. After half-time Firs increased their lead, before Mark Bellingham gave Paget a late win. The Bears sit in fourth place level on points with the teams above them, however third placed Alvis Sporting Club have a game which they will play this weekend. Meanwhile the Wee Gers will be in cup action against higher opposition, as they play Highgate United in the FA Vase Second Qualifying Round. The Bears will play this home match at Rushall Olympic as the pitch at the Trevor Brown Memorial Ground isn’t ready yet.

Thebestof Birmingham prediction: Paget 2-1 Highgate 

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Over the past fortnight, Walter Zenga has been quick to realise what the Championship is all about. In the last two weeks alone, Wolves have gone from taking a 4-0 thumping at home to newly promoted Barnsley, to beating Championship favourites Newcastle 2-0 away at St James’ Park. On the same Tuesday night that Wolves suffered their 4-0 thrashing, Newcastle were handing out a 6-0 thrashing of their own away to QPR, so a Wolves victory was somewhat of a surprise to the neutral.

This week Wolves line up at home against Dean Smith’s Brentford. The Bees currently sit 6th in the Championship and are undefeated in their last four with their last game a 5-0 thumping against Preston.

Zenga has no new injury worries to think about as Mike Williamson (glute), and Jordan Graham and Michal Zyro (both knee) are all long-term absentees, whilst Nouha Dicko may find this a game too soon to break back into the Wolves matchday squad.

Midweek Wolves travel to Greater Manchester to play promoted Wigan Athletic. Wolves will have a mini reunion with former players Nathan Byrne, Michael Jacobs, Craig Davies & Adam Le Fondre potentially lining up against them on Tuesday night.

Thebestof Birmingham prediction: Wolves 2-2 Brentford

Thebestof Birmingham prediction: Wigan 0-1 Wolves

Walsall

The Saddlers are still without a win since the first game of the season as Jon Whitney’s men went down 2-0 to newly promoted Northampton Town at Sixfields last Saturday, whilst scraping a 1-1 draw with yet another newly promoted team in Bristol Rovers.

This weekend the Saddlers go up against League One leaders Bolton Wanderers who are yet to be beaten this term. Bolton are flying under new manager Phil Parkinson and will look to continue their current run of form and extended their grip on the league’s top spot.

Thebestof Birmingham prediction:

Walsall 0-2 Bolton

 

One of the shock results of the weekend came at the Bank’s Stadium last Saturday, a 10 men Walsall defeated unbeaten Bolton Wanderers 1-0 to register their first win since the opening day of the season.

The Saddlers had to play 74 minutes of the game with 10 men as Joe Edwards was shown a straight red card when he was judged to have elbowed Bolton’s Chris Taylor when the pair contested a header. James McCarthy scored the only goal of the game on 25 minutes to put Walsall one up, and yet again, goalkeeper Neil Etheridge came to Walsall’s rescue by keeping out the (then) league leaders.

Walsall travel to Peterborough United this weekend who have had a mixed start to the season and are yet to gather any real form.

Midweek, Walsall again host the league leaders, this time it comes in the form of Scunthorpe United. The claret & blue outfit have only suffered one defeat in eight whilst picking up five wins on the way.

 Thebestof Birmingham prediction: Peterborough 1-0 Walsall

Thebestof Birmingham prediction: Walsall 0-2 Scunthorpe 

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