Peterborough United F.C. travels to WHAM Stadium in Lancashire to face Accrington Stanley F.C. this Saturday, 12 September 2020. It will be the first match of the EFL League One season for both clubs, and the first League match for either side since March. Last season, Peterborough found themselves just on the outside of the playoff picture in 7th on a "points-per-game" tiebreaker. A situation that was made even more bitter by the team that beat them out in the tiebreaker, Wycombe Wanderers, eventually going on to win the promotion. Last season The Posh (known as The Posh because they are posh team for posh people) played a posh brand of offensive football, and lead the league in scoring with 68 goals. Accrington finished up the year 17th in table, which is probably lower than manager John Coleman would have liked to see, but ultimately any season that Accrington stays up in League One is a successful season. Accrington's 47 goals scored last season was a slightly above average number, however their 53 goals allowed put them solidly in the bottom half of teams in terms of defense. Overall, their -6 rating suggests that Coleman has turned this tiny club into a solid, lower mid-table, League One team. Essentially this game is a perfect illustration between a pair of clubs with very different goals going into the season, The Posh looking for promotion, and Accy striving for survival.
The biggest story of the offseason for The Posh is that they had perhaps the most notable loss, and the most notable acquisition in the entire league this offseason. The departure of course being Ivan Toney, who lead League One is 24 goals last season, moving on to Brentford of the Championship. Obviously losing a player with that type of scoring ability is going to be a massive loss for any side, but Peterborough did as well as they could possibly do in replacing him with Jonson Clarke-Harris, who scored 13 goals in just 26 games while playing for Bristol Rovers last season. In fact, Clarke-Harris has scored 24 goals in just 38 starts for Bristol over the past 2 seasons, and at 26-years-old is coming into the prime of his career. It will be difficult for him to match the production of Toney from last year, but don't be the least bit surprised if the man who scores the most goals in the league is wearing a Peterborough shirt for the second year in-a-row. While we went over all 8 Accrington acquisitions in depth on our "2020-21 EFL League One Preview Part 2" podcast, the man of the hour is without a doubt, Tariq Uwakwe. The 20-year-old Chelsea loanee joined the club on Monday, then on Tuesday played his first match against Leeds United Under 21's in the EFL Trophy. All he did was net a hattrick, and add an assist in his first ever appearance with the club. I have come to understand that it was not even a full strength Leeds Under 21's side that they played against, so that must be noted. However, it also must be noted the man is still under 21 himself, and I don't care who you are playing against, a hattrick plus an assist is quality.
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Accrington Stanley vs Peterborough United Vital Information
This match can be viewed on Accrington Stanley iFollow in the United States, at 7:00 AM U.S. (Arizona Time)/3:00 PM GMT.
Referee appointments have Marc Edwards as the referee, with assistants Peter Gooch and Richard Bartlett, and the fourth official Steven Copeland.
I am not aware of any suspensions for tomorrow's match outside of Accrington's Sam Finley serving the second of and 8 match ban.
This will be the 9th meeting all-time between Accrington Stanley F.C. and Peterborough. In the previous 8 meetings, The Posh have won 6, Accrington has won 2, and there has been 0 draws. The most recent 3 matches have all been won by Peterborough, including both matches last season. Accrington last beat Peterborough on 20 October 2018, and have not only lost the past 3 meetings, but have failed to register a goal in any of them.
The Lead Story
The biggest story for Accrington has to be not only that they have a lot of new players, but how many of those guys will need to play a regular role immediately. This is a team that is now unrecognizable from the one that won the League 2 title just 3 years ago. We talked about Uwakwe earlier, but two other guys who have been impressive in the early cup games have been Irish striker Ryan Cassidy and Australian center back Cameron Burgess. Burgess scored Accy's only goal against Burton in the EFL Cup, and also got on the board in Tuesday's 7-0 blowout of Leeds Under 21's. Cassidy got on the board twice in that game, and looks like he will be starting at forward alongside Dion Charles, at least until Colby Bishop returns from injury. Striker and center back are both key positions at any club, and both of these players are expected to see big minutes in those roles this year. With Burgess starting in the middle next to Ross Sykes this season, veteran Mark Hughes, who has been a mainstay at center half, slots over into the left wingback position. Coleman's other mainstay, and team captain Seamus Conneely appears to be dropping back from his traditional box midfield role to play the right wing, with Callum Johnson moving to Portsmouth.
It looks like it will be another newcomer, Matt Butcher, who comes on a permanent deal from Bournemouth will be the new number 6 for Coleman with Conneely moving back. The other biggest change for Accrington will be at the goalkeeper position with the departure of both veteran Dimitar Evtimov and Stoke loanee Josef Bursik. It will be 20-year-old Toby Savin, now in his second year with the club, with the starting job this year. He has looked good so far in the cup matches, including a clean sheet on Tuesday. The backup is academy product, 18-year-old Liam Isherwood. I expected that Accy would go after a veteran backup at some point, but Isherwood was signed to a full pro contract this week, so it seems like he is the backup for now.
I expected that Accy would go after a veteran backup at some point, but Isherwood was signed to a full pro contract this week, so it seems like he is the backup for now.
Looking At The Opposition: Peterborough United
The Posh certainly don't look to lack for scoring again this season, as in addition to signing Clarke-Harris, they return 14 goal scorer Mohammed Eisa from last season. The big news this week in Peterborough is attacking midfielder Sammy Szmodic on a permanent transfer from Bristol City. Szmodic had come over on loan last January after the departure of Marcus Maddison to Hull City. He seemed to be a worthy replacement to Maddison, scoring 4 goals and adding 3 assists in just 10 matches before the COVID-19 shutdown. Attacking midfield was to be the biggest question mark for The Posh coming into the year, so this was really a key signing for them. On defense, things remain largely unchanged. Goalkeeper Christy Pym started every game for them last season, and posted a very nice 68.4% save percentage. The 25-year-old has been extremely good, and extremely durable in his career so far, and needs just 14 more league starts to hit 200 for his career. Captain Mark Beever, who played more minutes last year than anyone but Pym, and had a team best +32 rating returns on the back line, as does Frankie Kent. Overall, The Posh remain as close to in tact as a squad from last year, as just about any club in League One.
Accrington Stanley Player Snapshots
Above I mentioned that Savin, who I may have incorrectly identified as an academy product on previous occasions, will be the starter this year. Savin signed as a professional with Accrington last season after a youth career that included Wigan, Everton, and Crewe Alexandra. He was born in England, but is listed as a Gabon international player, although there doesn't seem to be any details on international appearances that I have been able to find. He made his debut for Accrington last September in the EFL Trophy, a match that Accy won by a 2-1 score over Fleetwood Town. Last year he was also briefly loaned to non-league side Staleybridge Celtic, but soon returned to Accrington after Evtimov's injury. The fact that Accrington has not signed any veteran backup seems to suggest that Coleman has full confidence in Savin. Furthermore, Evtimov and Bursik both appeared on the show last year, and both spoke to how competitive things were in training between all three keepers. The real concern, to me, would be if Savin goes down with an injury, a truly inexperienced keeper will be thrust directly into the starting role, in Isherwood. I would expect that we will see Isherwood get his first start in Accrington's next EFL Trophy match, as I expect Coleman will be wanting to get him game experience as soon as possible.
⚽️ @Tariq_uwakwe certainly knows how to make a good first impression!— Accrington Stanley FC (@ASFCofficial) September 9, 2020
The match highlights from #asfc’s 7-0 win over @LUFC Under-21s are now available to watch on the club’s official YouTube channel.
➡️ https://t.co/dlSP9CHsYd pic.twitter.com/pWOSufcCkt
Each of the past 2 seasons, a player that wasn't with the club when the season opened, ended up being an x-factor to the point that I am not sure Stanley would have stayed up in League One without either of these players. In 2018-2019, that player was Paul Smyth, who came over in the January transfer window, and was worth at least 4 points down the stretch with key goals in a draw over Sunderland, and a goal and an assist in a 2-1 win over Doncaster in the third to the last week of that season. Last season, that player was Jerome Opoku, who came on a loan from Fulham just before the close of the fall transfer window, and played his first game for Accy in Match Week 7. He ended up starting 19 matches for Accy in the shortened season, and on his best days looked like the best player on the pitch. A versatile player who could play midfield, but usually started at left back for Accrington. He was a guy who could really get the ball forward from that position, and was athletic enough to track back on defense after a turnover. Especially notable is his providing the assist on the loan goal in a 1-0 win over Southend United in Match Week 11. Although he is technically here for the first regular season game, my pick to be that player this year is the above mentioned Uwakwe (and I am saying was not here when the season opened based on him signing after the EFL Cup game against Burton). After scoring 5 minutes into the match on Tuesday, and them completing his brace by the 22nd minute, my immediate reaction was, "WOW this guy looks too good to even be playing in League One". Now, I don't know about League One yet, but he was certainly too good to be playing against whatever youth side it was that the most massive club in all of Yorkshire ran out onto the pitch.
Accrington Stanley Vs Peterborough United 12/9/20 Gambling Analysis
As I have often said some lines tell you a lot about a game, other lines tell you not so much. If you haven't read my betting analysis before, in this section I am throwing everything out the window except for the odds themselves. The goal here as always is to beat the house, you have to be the house. If the line is telling you not much, then that is a week not to bet at all. If the line telling you significantly skewed one way or another, that is when you bet the farm. Other weeks, the line tells you a little bit, those are the weeks you don't bet the farm, but it might be worth throwing a few bushels of corn at. This is one of those weeks. The line is similar to the Burton EFL Cup line that I wrote about, and correctly predicted draw for. This scenario is a little bit different in that this time Accrington is playing a better team, but they are also at home, as opposed to on the road. That's the part that tells us not so much. However, as I mentioned in that last article, anytime you see a situation where you can bet on both sides to win, and still make money, plus the draw line is set at less than 2.5 to 1, that is an indicator that the casino is guarding against the draw. For that reason, I would say it's worth throwing a few bushels on a draw in this match.
Accrington Stanley vs Peterborough United Score Prediction
My friend and co-host Tony Robinson is famous for watching games that he has recorded, and I am famous for watching them live and ruining things for him by messaging the score. This morning, he turned the tables on me. I had mentioned I was writing my article, not realizing I hadn't made MY score prediction yet, he said, I'll go with a 2-2 draw. After accounting for everything I have mentioned above, plus my gambling analysis. That one sounds has good as any.