Ox Pops

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Dick Emery - Mandy

Dick Emery - Mandy

Two things in this humble existence of ours are certain, apparently – death and taxes. Not our words, but the words of Benjamin Franklin. Well, Benny, allow us to blow your 300-year-old mind with the news that a third thing is now all but guaranteed in life – that Boro’ will come out after half time and concede at least once, so troubled are we by the concept of the “clean sheet”.

In one of those rare and uncomfortable moments that ruffles the hair of reality, Borochat came up with an intriguing factoid this week: no team in League Two has dropped more points after the break than our beloved Stevenage, with 10 points frittered away. It’s thought that if games were only 45 minutes long, we’d be tucked up nicely in second place (and back in the pub much sooner).

Oxford, however, tend to play the game over the full 90 minutes and occupy third place – but only because their goal difference is slightly better than Northampton, last week’s victors. Is that a reason to panic? Well, above Oxford are Plymouth (we beat them), Pompey (we drew with them) and then it’s only sky. If there’s some confidence to be had going into this one, it can be found here.

That, and the fact we’ve won 10 of our last 20 home games against teams sitting above us in the table – even if that is pretty much the whole of League Two right now…

Although the Us are doing a good impression of promotion candidates at the moment and despite being unbeaten in three on the road, Michael Appleton’s men come to us with the stain of losing at home to Barnet on their shirts. Metaphorically, of course – we have no reason to doubt the Kassam Stadium is fully equipped with washing machines, if not a fourth bleeding stand.

You can dig into the stats from the season so far as much as you want – it’s not going to throw up anything surprising, so we won’t dwell on them too much. It’s our failure to keep a clean sheet in all but one of our fixtures so far this term that’s doing the damage and it’s something that needs sorting fast. Oxford know it too, and must be pretty hopeful of netting at least once this weekend.

Now, here’s a sober thought for you – Oxford are odds-on to win this game. The best price you’ll find is 19/20 or 20/21, whereas Boro’ to win are as long as 13/4 (Marathon). BetVictor are offering 17/4 on Draw/Oxford as a half time/full time punt, but we’re feeling the love for a 1-1 draw – available at 7s. Danny Hylton is 15/8 with Bet365 to take advantage of Boro’s defensive kindness.

For the first time this season, we ran this one through the FIFA 16-o-meter and the result surprised us. Jamie McCombe’s clumsy tackle gifted our visitors a pelanty with 30 minutes to go, but two moments of genius from Arnand Gnanduillet turned everything on its head in the last four minutes as Boro’ ran out 2-1 winners. Now, wouldn’t it be a turn up for the books if fiction became fact?

BoroGuide’s Oxford United club profile – because all the lady loves…

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