FC Wil v Lausanne
FC Wil will be glad of a return to home comforts at the Lidl Arena after disappointing results in their last two away games, losing to fellow promotion contenders Lausanne at the Tulliere before a more surprising 5-1 defeat at the hands of Bellinzona on Friday evening. After starting the season so well, their away form has threatened to derail their title bid as they dropped down to third. Thankfully, they have been excellent in all five of their home games, winning four and drawing 1-1 with Thun in the other.
Lausanne bounced back from their own away mishap against Stade Lausanne-Ouchy by overcoming a resurgent Neuchatel Xamax side on Friday. LS mainly were in control of the game, leading 2-0 until the 82nd minute before the concession of a penalty successfully converted by Raphael Nuzzolo allowed for fraught nerves at the end. The victory keeps LS at the top with a one-point advantage over SLO.
These are the two highest-scoring teams in the league and I expect that, much like the reverse fixture on September 30th, there can be plenty of goals here. Plus, there has been an added vulnerability around both sides in recent weeks. Wil are strong at home, but they’ve conceded nine goals in their last three games and are showing signs of the shaky defending that led to them shipping 80 goals last year. LS have found the net ten times in their last five and have also conceded in four out of five away games. Five of the last six matches at this venue between the two have also ended with both teams scoring.
Aarau v Bellinzona
An afternoon to forget for Aarau on Sunday as they became the first team to lose to Vaduz in the Challenge League this season. The 4-0 scoreline was emphatic but the visitors to the principality can take comfort in the fact that they controlled the ball for long periods and had 21 attempts on goal, their shooting boots were just very clearly off and the Lichtensteiners were clinical. There won’t be panic around Brugglifeld just yet, that loss was the first in seven games, and they remain firmly in the title picture.
Bellinzona brought an end to three bruising defeats as they outgunned FC Wil at the Comunale. They have been somewhat erratic in the last few rounds but seemed to click in gear in explosive fashion. It is worth noting that ACB did find the net five times with just seven shots on goal in what was an unusually clinical display from the Ticino club.
Despite the high-scoring victory at the weekend, Bellinzona will still struggle more often than not, and a trip to Brugglifeld will be a daunting task against a side that has already beaten them 4-0 on their own patch this season. With 12 goals conceded in just 5 games and only six goals scored, three of which came against ninth-placed Vaduz, I’m not convinced they will be able to contend with Aarau. I’m certain the home side won’t be as wasteful this time around.
Stade Lausanne-Ouchy v Vaduz
There is a lot to be commended about Stade Lausanne-Ouchy’s approach since joining the Challenge League three seasons ago. They have quietly gone about their business and in 22/23 they look like a team that can finish high up the table again, or even in the promotion battle. An impressive 2-0 victory away to FC Thun, the first that the Bern club had suffered at home since May, keeps SLO firmly in place as the form team in the league having now gone six games undefeated.
Vaduz finally shook the monkey off their back in their win over Aarau. They, alongside Zurich, were the only two in the top four leagues in Switzerland that had yet to win a league match. This is a remarkable stat considering that FCV became the first club from Liechtenstein to qualify for a major European competition back in August and that they had beaten Slovenian, Turkish and Austrian top-flight opposition in the process. It seems that the UECL adventure has been a bit of a distraction though and there will be hope that the 4-0 victory on Sunday will prove to be the catalyst for improved form going forward.
SLO have been really impressive recently and are conceding few goals. They took YB to the limit in the cup and claimed the scalp of their neighbours and title favourites Lausanne at the Pontaise in early October. I believe they have enough to win this, but with Vaduz showing a lethal touch in their last match, I’d cover myself with the draw no bet option.
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