Schaffhausen v FC Wil
Schaffhausen welcome FC Wil to the WeFox Arena on Friday night with both the hosts and the visitors looking to turn around disappointing form at opposite ends of the table.
Schaffhausen lost three matches in a row prior to the international break. A 5-0 home loss to Thun, another defeat on their own patch 2-1 to Lausanne followed before they were beaten 2-0 on the road against Yverdon. Prior to this sequence, FCS had gone six unbeaten. What is the difference? Well, it is actually clear to see. All but one of the games in that unbeaten run came against sides that occupy the bottom half of the table with Schaffhausen (Xamax, Bellinzona, Vaduz and Aarau). The three defeats in succession were against those teams that are in the top half of the table. Of course, it isn’t that simple in football, but FCS will probably head into this game happy to get it out of the way with Vaduz coming up next week but they will also still remain confident given the way FC Wil have also struggled recently.
FC Wil haven’t been the same team since the World Cup-break. It restarted well enough in January and February with four games unbeaten but one of those games was a draw at relegation-threatened Vaduz and the other two were dramatic last-gasp 4-3 and 3-2 wins against Stade Lausanne-Ouchy and Neuchatel Xamax. It is after those wins that the wheels have really come off with their eleven-game unbeaten run snapped and twisted into a four-game winless run that included a home defeat to promotion rivals Lausanne, draws at Yverdon and Thun and most worryingly of all, a 3-0 home loss to sixth-placed Aarau just before the break. It is uncharacteristic of the Wil side we have known this season and while they remain in an automatic promotion place in second, they have other big hitters breathing down their neck as they trail leaders Yverdon by three points.
With neither side in particularly good form and looking vulnerable lately, I think we’ll see goals at both ends here. Schaffhausen haven’t scored all that many at home this season but FC Wil are leaking goals and I suspect that will continue on Friday night. Wil have had BTTS in seven of their last eight away games and have conceded the fifth-most number of goals in the league on their travels. BTTS has happened in four of the last five meetings between the two and they played out a 4-3 thriller in Wil back in October.
Heracles Almelo v Almere City
With eight rounds to go, the Dutch second division is closing in on the final stages. The direct promotion spots seem almost divided as well, but there is probably one last chance for a bit of excitement, and that depends on this match. Almere City are 14 points behind Heracles, with a game in hand, and only a victory here might keep them in contention for direct promotion.
Almere have massively upped their game after a slow start to the season and are a very solid team, not scoring an awful lot, but they share the best defensive record in the league. It brought them to third place in the league and pretty much a sure fire bet for the promotion play-offs. Almere won’t be playing their strongest side, because central midfielder Lance Duijvestijn, second top goalscorer for Almere who barely misses a minute, picked up his fifth yellow of the season and will have to sit this one out.
This seems to be Almere’s last chance to keep an eye on direct promotion, but an away game against Heracles seems much to ask. Heracles are almost flawless on their own plastic pitch and have a side that should be good enough for top flight football. They have been scoring pretty easy lately, but that was against attacking teams. Heracles have no real incentive to make this an open game, as even a draw would edge them a lot closer to promotion. Since Almere are also mostly relying on their solid defence, this could become a game with few goals, that’s why I’d put my money on unders.
PEC Zwolle v Jong FC Utrecht
In this match between the league leaders and the bottom of the table, there is pretty much nothing that suggests the away side could get a result here. FC Utrecht are in a bit of a crisis as the first team aren’t performing well and the club owner is in trouble for getting into a fight with a player after storming into the changing room. The academy team don’t fare any better, as they are rock bottom in the second division, after only one victory from the last 11 games.
Manager Darije Kalezic is a light weight in football, but several of his players don’t really seem to have the quality either to make it to a decent standard of professional football. That doesn’t bode well against a side cruising to the title.
PEC Zwolle are far too good for this league and only need a few points to secure direct promotion back to the top flight. They have a lot of quality in the side and one of those players is Thomas van der Belt, the 21-year-old playmaker who just signed a deal to join Feyenoord next season. PEC Zwolle have no personnel issues ahead of this game and go into this game on the back of four victories, including a shock 13-0 over FC Den Bosch. With that in mind, I think the home side will have an easy evening here and get a victory with at least two goals difference.
ADO Den Haag v Telstar
This is a big game for the home side. They are desperate to make the play-offs after quite dramatically missing out on promotion last season. Their start of the season was woeful under manager Dirk Kuyt, but since Dick Advocaat has taken over, the side are slowly closing in on the play-offs. Telstar are four points ahead of ADO and a direct rival for the play-offs.
In the winter, ADO added some quality with Joey Sleegers, and Advocaat managed to improve Xavier Severina and Joel Zwarts. But it isn’t all going that well, because experienced players like Thomas Verheydt and Ricardo Kishna are still not at their full potential and Sleegers hasn’t really done that well either. That is a bit worrying for ADO, who aren’t coming up as quick as they hoped.
Telstar are doing better than expected this season, the 7-0 defeat against Heracles Almelo seems to have been an exception in a pretty solid 2023. Telstar are in the top six best performing away sides and ADO are bottom five when it comes to home games, so I suspect ADO will struggle to get the victory here.
Thun v Bellinzona
FC Thun looked like they were destined for another season of mid-table mediocrity in mid-November as they trailed third place (the promotion play-off spot) by eleven points after failing to win in five matches in a row. For a club that had ambitions to be back in the Super League long before now, it wasn’t good enough for them or for the fans. Their incredible form since then has propelled them up to fifth and just six points shy of the play-off spot. With just seven points separating them from second and automatic promotion, it isn’t inconceivable that Thun could end up in one of those spots on current form. They’ve lost just one of their last eleven and are the form team in the league. FCT headed into the international break with a statement of intent, beating Yverdon, drawing with Wil and impressively turning over Lausanne away from home. Mario Lustrinelli’s team have scored more and conceded less than anyone else in the last ten matches and they look a dangerous prospect again.
That looks like bad news for Bellinzona. The Ticino club are not bottom of the table, early-season form still has them comfortably ahead of Neuchatel Xamax, but they are the team with the worst form in the division and also for the last twenty matches. ACB have not tasted victory in twelve matches and it is very easy to understand just why a trip to the Stockhorn at this time of the season will prove to be as tough a mountain to climb as the actual Stockhorn mountain that overshadows Thun’s stadium. Bellinzona did steal a late draw via the penalty spot at this venue back in July but a lot has changed since then for both these teams.
I can’t see anything but a Thun victory here. The home side are the better team anyway, but the recent form of both really points this one in the direction of the Bernese outfit. The visitors concede almost two goals per game on average and with FCT finding their scoring touch over the last couple of months, I think this could be a long night for ACB. For those reasons I would take FC Thun to score Over 1.5 Goals in this match.
Athlone Town v Galway United
Galway United maintained their 100% record as they claimed a sixth straight win at the start of this season at home to Longford Town last Friday. The hosts made hard work of it and needed a bit of luck with substitute Darren Clarke’s deflected strike against his former club enough to claim the three points.
However, had last season’s top scorer Stephen Walsh converted a second minute penalty, it could have been a much easier night at the office for the Tribesmen. While Galway looked a little blunt in attack on the night, the result means United have now kept clean sheets in 4 of their opening 6 matches and have conceded just twice.
John Caulfield is renowned for making his teams difficult to beat but at the moment it’s hard to see Galway United losing a game at all the way they are performing.
Athlone Town claimed a third win from six matches thanks to a late winner away to Kerry FC last time out. Not only did the win snap a three match winless run but it marked Athlone’s first clean sheet of the season.
Galway won 3 of the 4 H2H’s last season and have clearly improved from last year and while the same can be said about Athlone, their form is certainly more up and down than Galway’s so we’ll side with consistency to win out the day here.
Wexford FC v Treaty United
Having invested majorly during the off-season, a return of 2 wins from 6 matches is not what many had hoped for from Wexford. Defensively James Keddy’s team look to have a lot of problems having conceded 9 goals in 6 matches and those issues will need addressing if Wexford are to live up to the sort of hype that surrounded the club in pre-season.
This is a game where the Wexford defence may get away with an off day though with visitors Treaty United finding the net just 3 times in 5 matches.
The loss of marquee signing Ryan Connolly just weeks before the start of the season due to work commitments looks to have seriously damaged the Limerick clubs ability to create chances with a huge reliance on striker Enda Curran to score goals.
At the back, Treaty also haven’t looked comfortable this season and with Wexford having far more options in attack this is a game they should be going after for three points, especially at home where both of their wins have come so far this season.
*Bet links only appear when accessing from mobile.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
18+ please gamble responsibly.
Haven’t got a Betfair account? You’re in luck…
Sign up to Betfair and get £30 in free football bet builders when you place a £10 football bet on the Betfair Sportsbook. Here are the two possible outcomes: