One week. 7 days. 168 hours. 10080 minutes. We are now only a week away from the most joyous day of the year. The football season starts proper, the preseason games against Lithuanian pub teams will be finished and fans of a flutter can put their money on matches that won’t feature 19 substitutions. Having cast my eye over the fixtures, here are 5 games that I think will see both teams finding the back of the net.
Blackburn V Cardiff
The opening weekend of the 2013/14 campaign saw just 4 of 24 Championship teams manage a clean sheet. Teams are naturally a little rusty coming into the first competitive games of the new season, and I expect Rovers and Cardiff to get goals in this Friday opening fixture. No team in the football league saw more goals than Blackburn over the last 10 games of last season. They totalled a ridiculous 43 goals in that period (26 for, 17 against), with Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestede in fine goalscoring form. Newly relegated Cardiff have lost their defensive rock as Steven Caulker has moved to QPR, yet they should have enough Premier League calibre firepower to trouble Blackburn’s shaky defence.
MK Dons V Gillingham
In the final 10 games of last season these two somehow managed to concede a whopping 37 goals between them. What’s more MK’s home form was bottom of the barrel, seeing them let in 9 goals in their final 5 matches at Stadium MK. Gillingham’s away record wasn’t much better, as they let in 11 on the road over the same period.
Fleetwood V Crewe
Crewe managed to average both a goal scored and a goal conceded per game over the last 10 matches of the last campaign. They go away to newly promoted Fleetwood for their season opener. Graham Alexander’s men managed to gain promotion last season despite having the worst defensive record amongst the top 8 teams in League 2. Expect goals in this one.
Exeter V Portsmouth
You were guaranteed goals any time you saw Pompey at the tail end of last season. No team in League 2 scored more in the final 10 games, and no team conceded more either. Going away to Exeter will be a tough task for them on August 9th, but their talented attacking talent, lead by England youngster Jed Wallace, should be able to trouble a defence that conceded a goal a game at home in the last 10 games of 2013/14.
Dagenham & Redbridge V Morecambe
The Daggers finished a very respectable 9th in League 2 last season, a huge improvement on their near-disastrous 2012/13 campaign. However their defensive record was poor throughout the year and they eventually conceded 58 goals, just 6 more than their opening day opponents Morecambe despite finishing 9 places above them in the league. 122 goals conceded between them over the course of 92 games suggests they will unlock each other’s back four repeatedly next Saturday.