Yverdon-Sport v Schaffhausen
After a promising start to the season for Yverdon-Sport, the wheels have come off a little in recent weeks as their winless run stretched to a fourth straight game after their 4-0 thrashing away at FC Wil. YS have lost three of those four games and conceded ten goals in the process, dropping them from the lofty heights of third position to seventh place, neck-and-neck with their visitors on Friday evening. Of course, this is still much-improved form from a team that struggled to adapt to the league last season, and they’ll be more than content with their ruthlessness in front of goal having scored four more than at this stage in 21/22.
Schaffhausen can tell a similar tale as they too started in unexpectedly good form, losing only to Lausanne and Wil, before falling into an inconsistent run of form that has brought just one win in their last five games. A 2-2 draw at home to principality club Vaduz laid bare their problems as they led 2-0 until the final thirteen minutes before throwing away the lead and failing to keep a clean sheet for a fifth successive match. Twenty goals scored and conceded in their last six matches is evidence of the reckless abandon that has been on display recently for last season’s promotion play-off runners-up.
I expect this to be an entertaining contest. Yverdon haven’t kept a home clean sheet since February, failing to score themselves only three times in a run of twelve games. Schaffhausen have scored in their last nine away matches and have kept only two clean sheets. Koro Kone (7 goals) and Raul Bobadilla (4 goals), strikers on opposite sides at the Municipal, are two of the best in the league and this is exactly the sort of fixture in which they can shine again.
Lausanne v Neuchâtel Xamax
Lausanne-Sport and Neuchatel Xamax couldn’t have been any further at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of results heading into last weekend. Title favourites LS had tasted only one defeat in their previous eight Challenge League games while Xamax had avoided defeat only once in their last nine. At the end of play, it was a reversal of fortunes indeed as LS lost out late to Lausanne-Ouchy and Xamax stormed to their first victory in a 4-0 demolition of Bellinzona.
Despite that late loss, LS are still riding high and remain level on points at the top, dropping into second only as a result of the extra goal that FC Wil have scored this season. Ludovic Magnin’s men will relish an opportunity to bounce back at their Tulliere fortress, a venue where they are unbeaten after five games, winning four and scoring fifteen.
Xamax will be buoyed by their performance last weekend. They had no problems finding the net, but their inability to keep the ball out of their own one was a clear problem. It was a huge confidence boost for the Xamaxians to earn that first win and clean sheet against promoted side Bellinzona. LS represent a much tougher task and it seems unlikely that Jeff Saibene’s side will be able to stop their five-game losing streak away from the Maladiere.
LS are the strong favourites here and should bounce back at home against weaker opposition. They have scored two or more goals in five of their six home games in all competitions while Xamax have conceded at least two goals on their travels stretching back to last May. With LS much fancied to win, I think there is more value in the amount of goals the home side can score against a paper-thin visiting defence.
Bellinzona v FC Wil
Bellinzona’s first few months back in Switzerland’s second-tier have been entertaining, to say the least. The club from Ticino started well but have found consistency hard to come by recently. ACB seem to have run out of steam, suffering three league defeats on the bounce where they have now conceded twelve goals and scored just once. An away defeat to table-toppers FC Wil and a home loss to sixth-placed Schaffhausen were disappointing and a 4-0 demolition at the hands of previously winless Neuchatel Xamax was very worrying indeed.
FC Wil put their heavy loss away to Lausanne behind them with an emphatic victory of their own at home to Yverdon-Sport that puts them back at the top of the table. They are prolific and have shown over the first few months of the season that they have the staying power to mount a serious promotion charge. Even at this early stage, with two automatic promotion places and a play-off spot up for grabs this season, it would be surprising to see Wil fail to make one of these their own. The concerning prospect for everyone else in this league is that a team that scored sixty-eight goals last season is already six goals better off and defensively much stronger too.
They can keep that journey heading in the right direction in Bellinzona on Saturday. With their firepower and the leaky Bellinzona defence, Wil should have enough here, but I would take the draw no bet option for cover.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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