Ali Maxwell & George Elek
Welcome to The Six Fix — this one is free for all!
It’s Black Friday. That annual event where Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, reminds us that the cut-price offers strewn about the internet are not quite as money-saving as they appear.
Flying in the face of such omniprudence, we are offering a real discount on all 12-month subscriptions between now and 25 Dec AKA Christmas. You can use it for yourself. You can use it as an EFL gift that keeps on giving all year round, and you can even schedule the subscription to start at present-opening o’clock on Christmas Day…
We’ll deal with more deals as we tick into January with a month of transfer specials. But for now, we’re dealing with a full slate. So here comes our favourite fixtures from each league, here comes some predictions, and — what’s that?! — here comes history…
But first, what of the prediction league?
Scores on the doors
When you find yourself 12-5 up in the set, the promise of victory - 21pts - is within your grasp. A perfect round of 3x correct score predictions can take you to what many pundits are referring to as “the promised land”. We think they’re over-egging it. But Ali was 12-5 up going into last weekend.
He couldn’t…could he? Here’s what happened…
Ali Prediction - Stevenage 1-0 Lincoln - 3pt
George Prediction - Stevenage 1-1 Lincoln - 0pt
Ali Prediction - Notts County 3-0 Bradford - 1pt
George Prediction - Notts County 2-1 Bradford - 1pt
Ali Prediction - Sutton 1-1 Tranmere - 3pt
George Prediction - Sutton 2-0 Tranmere - 0p
It was almost the perfect game. The scores are now 19-6 to Ali, who now needs just two points to take the set and level up at 1-1. Is that G A M E O V E R … … would’ve thought so. Two points needed in this week’s predictions.
George Elek — Leicester v Watford
The most interesting game in the Championship surely?
Foxes are sniffing around the dustbin of two defeats in a row and another might mean their early Coronation feels premature. They’ve not been sparkling in their last four. This is a big game for them.
Watford are a bit better than their league position suggests. In terms of their defensive ability, Hornets are a tricky opposition for anybody. We’re starting to see promising performances turning into cold hard results, with three clean sheets in their last four.
Leicester are heavy favourites, and that’s understandable. But this is not — I think — the ideal game for them. It’s going to be tight, I sense a low-scoring game, let’s go…
Prediction - Leicester 0-0 Watford.
Ali Maxwell — Birmingham v Sheffield Wednesday
I’m picking the DON’T LOSE DERBY in the Championship.
In the pantheon of unhappy fans, Wednesday have been the unhappiest when under the short-lived reign of Xisco Muñoz — they’re now a little happier under Danny Röhl. Birmingham fans are close to taking the mantle of being the unhappiest of the lot. Both sets of supporters have watched their sides sack-and-appoint, but it’s clear to me that the hiring process has unravelled in two very different ways.
Birmingham’s new manager — Waz is name? — has a sorry record in his opening five games of W0 D1 L4. They’ve scored a couple of goals but conceded far more, all whilst looking very muddled. And it feels pretty negative because Rooney has taken his side from good to bad in the league, whilst at least for Wednesday, there’s a perception — and a bit of evidence — that they’ve moved from very bad to slightly less bad.
Danny Röhl’s record is only ever-so-slightly better than Rooney’s, with W1 D0 L4. That win came in what is probably the easiest game for every team in the division: Rotherham at home. According to our Weekend Notes writer Tom Bourke, Wednesday have improved from a base of 0.6 xG per game under Munoz to an xG per game of 1.3ish under Danny Röhl. But another defeat to nil here, and I wonder if Wednesday fans might be wondering if he was the right man for the moment.
Not sure how this one goes. But let’s say Birmingham’s likely greater goal threat is enough to get them over the line.
Prediction - Birmingham 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday
George Elek — Cheltenham v Oxford
The Return of Des Buckingham to Oxford, and a royal welcome expected. It’s a tough task. How do you judge a new manager when the old one left you in a good place? Do you judge him against the results of Manning? Is a league finish below where Oxford are now going to be seen as a failure?
We won’t get categorical answers to those questions from this one game, but we might start to get a sense of the state of play. Especially when the fixture comes against a Cheltenham side whose horrific goalless run continues to mark them down as an “easy win”.
But it’s not the same Cheltenham. And it probably doesn’t get more awkward than playing this Cheltenham side now because perception isn’t reality — they aren’t the worst team in the division on recent performances, not by a long stretch.
And maybe, as an Oxford fan, I’m just being overly pessimistic. But this one feels much more difficult than I would like it to.
Prediction: Cheltenham 1-0 Oxford
Ali Maxwell — Northampton v Cambridge
I’m picking the DON’T LOSE DERBY in League One.
The League One relegation battle has got a little spicier over recent weeks, not least because of Cheltenham’s improving form. Those ingredients (your Readings, Cheltenhams and Carlisles) that were part of the shop-bought spice mix have now been accompanied by some additions: Exeter, Port Vale, Cambridge, Northampton, Burton, Leyton Orient. The poorer the form of those sides, the spicier things become.
And that puts three-chilli symbols next to this fixture. Not a vindaloo. Not a faal. But definitely a Madras.
Cobblers come into it off the back of a 2-0 win against Burton — taking 1 point in 5 games before that. Not good. But even worse for Cambridge, who arrive with the baggage of a 5-0 defeat at Peterborough — 1 win in eleven and only 6 goals in 13 games. They’re in horrid form after a strong start.
Personally, I think Northampton will be fine. I broadly have some faith. And it’s not that I don’t believe in Cambridge and Bonner, but they look so so so blunt up top. It’s a big concern for them, and for me…
Prediction: Northampton 2-0 Cambridge
George Elek — AFC Wimbledon v Notts County
Many are calling this “quite a big one”.
County bounced back from a duo of defeats with an impressive 4-2 win against Bradford last time out. A lot of usual suspects in amongst the goals, and that’s encouraging for them, a nerve settler.
For AFC Wimbledon, they needed a win last time out after a spell of dodgy form which looked like it might threaten their great start to the season - they got it. A 2-0 win against Donny courtest of two Al-Hamadi goals.
So two teams bouncing back. Two teams with contrasting styles: County who look to possession and Wimbledon who tend to go a bit more direct. Worth noting that County’s away form isn’t the most inspiring. But nevertheless, I think they get something from this game, but not everything….Desmond?
Prediction: AFC Wimbledon 2-2 Notts County
Ali Maxwell — Newport v Stockport.
I’m picking the DON’T LOSE DERBY in League Two… no I’m not.
Stockport have won 12 league games in a row. Stockport have won 12 league games in a row!!! Stockport. Have. Won. 12. League. Games. In. A. Row.
This could be a history-making fixture. Stockport have already equalled this millennium’s winning record, and now they have the opportunity to go one better and become the first team to win 13 league games in a row since Newcastle United in 91/92 — 32 years!
Now, I’m sorry Newport fans, that this pick is based entirely on your opposition. But when history comes calling, we have to respect that. I know you’ll understand.
And do I think Stockport will make history? Yes I do.
Prediction: Newport 0-2 Stockport.
Thanks for reading and listening, go well!