Last weekend’s game of the week was an eventful one…
Chris Maguire’s red card was overturned after the Netflix crew making a documentary about Sunderland was able to provide evidence that the punishment was unnecessary. So that’s alright then.
The outcome didn’t have that much bearing on the top of the table – Charlton and Peterborough both won, but the biggest surprise was Portsmouth‘s home defeat by Blackpool. Pompey’s lead is now down to four points.
At the bottom it was more or less a case of ‘as you were’ although Wimbledon cannot escape the bottom four this weekend, partly due to Plymouth‘s unexpected win at Southend.
On to this weekend’s game of the week.
Luton v Peterborough
‘Oh not them again’ I thought when I flagged this game up, but although this is the fourth time Peterborough have been selected this season, it’s only the second time – including last week – that Luton have been chosen.
The Hatters’ home form has been impressive – they haven’t conceded a goal at Kenilworth Road since Joel Grant managed a consolation strike for Plymouth in mid November! The draw with Barnsley on New Year’s Day ended a seven game wining streak, but despite those stats there’s also a very obvious issue that could undermine their promotion bid: they’ve not won any of the games they’ve played against the teams currently in the top seven. Ten days after this game, they host Portsmouth.
Until their recent resounding win at Accrington, Peterborough hadn’t won on the road since the end of October and have played five games without keeping an away clean sheet. The Posh have only lost one of their three away games against the teams above them – so why are they ten points behind Portsmouth? The simple answer is that their home form hasn’t been up to scratch – they’ve only won three of their eight home games against teams in the bottom half of the table whereas Pompey have won five of the seven games against the same opponents at Fratton Park.
Luton haven’t beaten Peterborough at home since Boxing Day 2000: that was one of only nine games the Hatters won that season, so it won’t come as any surprise to hear they were relegated at the end of 2000/2001. The most recent meeting between the clubs in Bedfordshire was a year ago, in a goalless draw in the EFL Cup. Speaking of cups, Luton were knocked out of the FA Cup by Sheffield Wednesday earlier this week, meaning that they’ve had a day’s less rest and that factor may have a significant impact on their chances of winning this.
Honourable mentions: Wimbledon v Barnsley and Oxford v Portsmouth. Both matches are hosted by teams in the bottom six who are facing opponents with ambitions of playing in the Championship next season; in fourteen of the sixteen previous games where the teams currently in the bottom six entertained teams currently in the top six, the visitors have won. So it should be plain sailing for the Tykes and Pompey…shouldn’t it?
I’ll be back next week, when the Fourth Round of the FA Cup will be in the spotlight.