Blackpool v Carlisle: why wins will come

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Gary Bowyer – www.gettyimages.com

Blackpool and Carlisle have won just two games each, but early-season performances suggest results will improve for both teams.

In Experimental 361’s analysis of each League Two team’s attacking play (second graph down), Blackpool and Carlisle feature in the box labelled ‘energetically wasteful’. They both have a lot of shots but a relatively low proportion of them result in goals. Via the expected goals model, Blackpool and Carlisle have an average of 1.8 and 1.7 per game, but are both actually scoring 1.3. Essentially, the standard of the overall performance levels aren’t being reflected by the goal output.

The good news for Blackpool is that Jamille Matt, who excelled at Plymouth last season, has returned to full training along with other strikers. Armand Gnanduillet has scored two goals in his last two games, which strengthens Blackpool’s competition up top.

Their goal threat will be enhanced by the form of midfielder Brad Potts, who faces his old club. Carlisle have quality midfielders of their own, however. Mike Jones has looked solid in his natural central midfield position, alongside the composed Luke Joyce, who has answered his critics this term. The impressive Nicky Adams came close to scoring twice in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Leyton Orient, as Carlisle had an expected goals total of 3.5. That is a strong indication of their midfield creativity, given that none of their chances came from counter-attacking situations. Some fans would like to see Curle address the lack of clinical finishing by starting two strikers at home, although that may limit the freedom of Carlisle’s more attack-minded midfielders.

The problems with both teams are not structural (on the field, Mr Oyston). Both are doing most things well, but a bit more ruthlessness in the box wouldn’t go amiss.

The Football Lab’s Verdict: 1-1

Other League Two Predictions
Exeter v Plymouth Argyle to defend for a narrow derby win. 0-1
Accrington v Portsmouth Stanley struggling, Pompey look unstoppable. 0-2
Barnet v Colchester An off-day for in-form U’s, Bees physicality to triumph.
Cambridge v Morecambe Shrimps on the slide, first win for Cambridge. 2-1
Cheltenham v Notts Co Magpies booed off last week, Robins decent at home. 2-1
Crawley v Luton Devils slipping, Hatters won 10/14 away under Jones. 0-3
Doncaster v Newport Donny look strong, Coppinger in-form. 2-0
Grimsby v Crewe Mariners error-prone, Alex more solid. 1-2
Hartlepool v Mansfield Stags to impress against imbalanced Pools. 1-3
Leyton Orient v Yeovil Glovers in freefall, comfortable home win. 2-0
Wycombe v Stevenage Improving Boro to pile pressure on Ainsworth. 1-2
Last time: 4 correct results/12.