Sports Mole previews Saturday’s League Two clash between Sutton United and Tranmere Rovers, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sutton United will be aiming to move off the foot of League Two’s table by beating Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.
The visitors head into the weekend siting outside of the relegation zone on goal difference only, with two points separating these sides....Click Here To Continue Reading>>
Having comfortably survived in their first two seasons competing in the Football League, it is slightly surprising to see Sutton marooned to the bottom of League Two’s table after 17 matches.
However, it should not be forgotten that Matt Gray guided the Yellows to the Football League for the first time in the club’s history when winning the National League in 2021, with the 42-year-old backing this achievement up by taking Sutton to within one position and one point of the play-offs in their first season in League Two.
They appear to have a very different fight on their hands this time around, though, after losing 12 of their opening 15 league games. Beating Bradford City and claiming a point away to Colchester United has relieved some pressure, but their home fixture against Tranmere this weekend could scarcely be more important given the complexion of the bottom of the table.
Gray, whose credit in the bank means that his job should be safe for now, will be hoping that Omar Sowunmi’s 95th-minute equaliser in Essex last time out could be a season-changing moment for his team, as they look to leapfrog Tranmere at Gander Green Lane on Saturday.
However, Tranmere have strong muscle memory themselves in terms of potential relegation clashes, having dismantled Forest Green Rovers 3-0 at Prenton Park last weekend.
Nigel Adkins’s side had lost four successive league games to fall into the bottom two positions, but Tyrese Omotoye’s own goal and Kristian Dennis’ strike either side of half-time set them up for an impressive victory in Merseyside. Dom Bernard’s 52nd-minute dismissal left the visitors with little chance of mounting a comeback, before Rob Apter settled the encounter to help his side move outside of the relegation zone on goal difference.
Bringing Adkins to the club in early September was a major coup for Tranmere, not least as he was born in Birkenhead, given his experience at bigger clubs such as Southampton, Sheffield United and Charlton Athletic within the last decade. That said, it has been some time since the 58-year-old has managed at this level, and it has perhaps taken a settling down period for his messages to come through to his players.
Whether their important win last time out proves to be a turning point in their campaign remains to be seen, but another victory in South London would be a major step towards avoiding another disastrous fall outside of the Football League for Rovers.
Sutton United League Two form:
Sutton United form (all competitions):
Tranmere Rovers League Two form:
Tranmere Rovers form (all competitions):
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Sutton are unlikely to make any changes to their starting XI after claiming a decent point away to Colchester last weekend, with central defender Sowunmi set to provide a threat from set-pieces once again.
The likes of Omari Patrick, Dion Pereira and Lee Angol will have to remain patient from the bench once again, with Gray likely to turn to them should his side be in need of a goal.
Likewise, it would be somewhat surprising if Adkins opted to make any changes having finally found a winning formula against Forest Green. As such, Luke Norris should continue to support Dennis in attack.
Harvey Read Saunders lost his starting place and appears to have a fight on his hands to win it back, with the likes of Dan Pike, Sam Taylor and Kieron Morris also providing important options from the visitors’ substitutes bench.
Sutton United possible starting lineup:Bouzanis; Jackson, Sowunmi, John, Kizzi; Coley, N’Guessan, Gape, Beautyman; O’Brien, Smith
Tranmere Rovers possible starting lineup:McGee; Lee, Davies, Turnbull, Wood; Apter, Walker, Hendry, Jennings; Norris, Dennis
We say: Sutton United 1-1 Tranmere Rovers
With so much at stake at the bottom of the table, this could be a scrappy encounter, although both teams have at least claimed positive results heading into the clash.
Sutton showed excellent spirit to come from behind to claim a point against Colchester last time out, and we can envisage them sharing the spoils once again versus Adkins’ Tranmere side.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data
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Sir Jim Ratcliffe ‘hoping Manchester United deal will be completed by Christmas’
Sir Jim Ratcliffe hopes that his 25% purchase of Manchester United will be completed by Christmas, according to a report.
British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly hopeful that his 25% purchase of Manchester United will be completed by Christmas.
An announcement on the 71-year-old’s arrival as a minority shareholder was expected to be made during the November international break, but there was a delay due to the complex nature of the deal.
According to The Mirror, the process is now reaching its final stages, and Ratcliffe is hopeful that he will be able to take over football operations at Old Trafford before Christmas....Click Here To Continue Reading>>
The report claims that INEOS performance director Sir Dave Brailsford is set to make the move to the club, and he will play a leading role in the changes that will be made to the sporting department.
Richard Arnold’s departure as CEO has already been confirmed, with Jean-Claude Blanc widely expected to arrive in that position once Ratcliffe’s deal has been announced.
Blanc worked for the French Tennis Federation as a chief executive before switching to football, and he has previously been the Juventus CEO and marketing executive of Paris Saint-Germain.
The 60-year-old is currently the chief executive of INEOS Sport, and it is believed that he will be Arnold’s permanent replacement in the senior position.
John Murtough could remain as football director for now, but it is understood that a change will also be made in that position, with Crystal Palace’s Dougie Freedman regarded by many to be the frontrunner.
The role of director of football operations David Harrison is also in severe doubt, with Ratcliffe seemingly preparing to make a number of changes to what he views to be a failing department.
Ratcliffe is said to be taking advice from Man United’s legendary former manager Sir Alex Ferguson when it comes to his overhaul of the football side of the business.
At one stage, it appeared that Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani would be completing a 100% takeover of Man United from the Glazer family.
However, the Qatari banker recently withdrew his offer due to his frustrations in dealing with the Glazers, who signalled last November that they were open to discussing a potential sale of the club.
Ratcliffe is coming in at initial 25%, but it is understood that the Brit wants to complete a staggered takeover in the coming years.
Man United will be back in Premier League action on Saturday evening following their 3-3 draw with Galatasaray in the Champions League, facing a trip to St James’ Park to take on Newcastle United.
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Marcus Rashford’s record vs. Newcastle United
Sports Mole looks at Marcus Rashford’s record against Newcastle United ahead of Manchester United’s trip to St James’ Park in the Premier League.
Marcus Rashford will be bidding to score in back-to-back Premier League matches for the first time this season when Manchester United face Newcastle United on Saturday night.
The 26-year-old registered a penalty in his side’s 3-0 win over Everton in the league last weekend, but he missed out on Wednesday’s 3-3 draw with Galatasaray due to a Champions League suspension.
Rashford is back in the squad for Man United’s return to league action, and he is expected to feature in the starting side, as Erik ten Hag’s side look to make it five wins from their last six league matches....Click Here To Continue Reading>>
With that in mind, Sports Mole looks at how the forward has performed against Newcastle during his professional career.
Rashford has faced the Magpies on 12 occasions at first-team level, boasting a record of seven wins, two draws and three defeats against them, scoring four goals and registering five assists in the process.
As expected, the bulk of those matches (10) have taken place in the Premier League, with Rashford winning six, drawing two and losing two of his previous league encounters with Newcastle.
Rashford has also tackled the Magpies twice in the EFL Cup, scoring once, with his goal coming in the final earlier this year, but he was also a part of the side that suffered a 3-0 defeat to Eddie Howe’s side in this season’s tournament, coming off the bench in the second period.
The attacker has managed four goals and five assists against Newcastle in the Premier League, and he has previous when it comes to impressing at St James’ Park.
Indeed, he scored and provided an assist in a 2-0 Man United victory at the famous stadium during the second half of the 2018-19 campaign.
Arguably Rashford’s best performance against Newcastle also came at St James’ Park, with the Englishman scoring once and providing two assists in a 4-1 success for the Red Devils in the early stages of the 2020-21 campaign.
The forward has not managed to score in his last three Premier League games with the Magpies, though, which includes a 2-0 loss at St James’ Park last term.
Rashford’s penalty against Everton last weekend could potentially have kickstarted his campaign from a goal point of view, and he will now be bidding to help Man United move closer to the top four in the Premier League table.
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Team News: Wolverhampton Wanderers make four changes for Arsenal clash
Gary O’Neil makes four changes to his Wolverhampton Wanderers XI for the Premier League fixture against Arsenal on Saturday afternoon.
Gary O’Neil has made four changes to his Wolverhampton Wanderers XI for Saturday’s Premier League fixture at Arsenal.
For the first time this season, O’Neil has started to encounter injury and suspension issues, the one benefit from the defeat at Fulham earlier this week being Craig Dawson able to return from a one-match ban for the game at the Emirates Stadium.
However, Mario Lemina and Joao Gomes both picked up their fifth yellow cards of the campaign at Craven Cottage, while Rayan Ait-Nouri sustained an ankle injury....Click Here To Continue Reading>>
Dawson has taken the place of Santiago Bueno in the back three, while Hugo Bueno has been brought in to deputise for Ait-Nouri at left wing-back.
Tommy Doyle and Boubacar Traore are given the nod in the centre of midfield, with Jean-Ricner Bellegarde potentially being given licence to roam between that pair and a front two of Matheus Cunha and Hwang Hee-chan.
Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta has made just the one alteration to the Arsenal side that breezed past Lens in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
Kai Havertz has dropped down to the substitutes’ bench with Leandro Trossard being preferred in his place, the Belgian seemingly being deployed in a central role.
Gabriel Jesus starts in attack for the third game in succession after recovering from a hamstring injury during the international break.
Arsenal: Raya; Tomiyasu, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Trossard, Rice, Odegaard; Saka, Jesus, MartinelliSubs: Ramsdale, White, Cedric, Kiwior, Jorginho, Elneny, Nelson, Havertz, Nketiah
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Sa; Semedo, Kilman, Dawson, Toti, H.Bueno; Doyle, Traore; Bellegarde, Cunha, HwangSubs: Bentley, Doherty, S.Bueno, Silva, Kalajdzic, Sarabia, Chirewa, Whittingham, Hubner
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