Preview | Grimsby Town (h)
Grimsby are the visitors to Meadow Lane on Saturday and will be looking to put behind them a disastrous run of away form that has seen them drop from the top of the table to 10th in rapid fashion having lost 6 out of the last 6 league games on the road.
Last time out they beat Wealdstone at home 2 - 1 with goals coming from defenders Waterfall and Efete in a game that saw them have 20 attempts on goal and an xG of 2.55 compared to just 2 shots from Wealdstone who somehow still managed to score despite accruing an xG of just 0.06, but more on that goal later.
Notts will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing couple of games on the road collecting just one point from fixtures at Wealdstone and Bromley.
Although nothing like the current away form being experienced by Grimsby Notts will be glad to be back at Meadow Lane where 26 points in 11 games sees them with the highest home PPG of 2.36.
A good following from Grimsby should make it a noisy affair and with the current weather forecast suggesting a wet, windy and cold afternoon it should be a swashbuckling encounter.
Last six outings for both clubs below.
Key match actions compared for the season so far.
Not much to choose from between the two teams. Notts look to be slightly better on the construction stats but Grimsby score well on PPDA and Challenge intensity. Essentially expect them to press hard to force Notts into ball losses.
The Mariners will be without influential winger Jordan Maguire-Drew who hasn't yet recovered from the injury that has kept him out of Grimsby's previous two games.
Leading scorer John McAtee will be looking forward to facing the Magpies after missing out on the home defeat to Notts back in October last year. With 7 goals and 3 assists to his name in the league so far McAtee can play in a number of forward positions and has been utilised as a No. 10 playing in the hole, a second striker and attacking wide midfielder.
Another threat up front will be experienced striker Ryan Taylor. The former Plymouth Argyle and Newport County man has 6 goals and 4 assist in 23 league games this season and we can expect his experience to be a key factor in ensuring he get's a start for this game.
Ben Fox is one to look out for in midfield and has been a regular starter in the middle for Paul Hurst this season and was also a feature of one of our @AnalystsBar podcasts pre-season. That said the former Burton Albion midfielder was left out of the starting 11 last time out in the 2-1 win over Wealdstone.
At the back Luke Waterfall has been an ever present for the Mariners in the league this season. Playing out of RCB he also has an attacking threat with 4 goals to his name, including the opener from a corner last time out which is in the highlights package below.
Strong in the air all 4 of Waterfall's goals this season have come from corners and considering how Notts fell foul of a corner at Bromley they will do well to keep a close eye on Grimsby's No. 6.
One last player I want to mention is Harry Clifton. The left sided midfielder has come through the ranks at Grimsby making his League Two debut back in 2017/18. With two Welsh U21 caps to his name the youngster is a player that Manager Paul Hurst appears keen to keep at Blundell Park and has begun negotiations on a potential contract renewal with the 23 year old. It will be interesting to see how this develops as he is a player I have been keeping an eye on myself for much of this season.
Paul Hurst has rigidly stuck with a 4.4.2/220.127.116.11 formation this season and there is no reason to believe that will be any different on Saturday as on the one occasion he went with a 3.5.2 they lost at home to Chesterfield.
Grimsby will press the Notts back line and look to capitalise on any ball losses. Equally they will try and maintain a compact mid block in defensive transitions and will be direct and quick on the counter attack.
If they go with a 18.104.22.168 then expect McAtee to sit in the hole behind the striker (likely to be Taylor) and play as a No. 10. Of course this can easily become a traditional 4.4.2 so would expect McAtee to play as a second striker or even go out wide right.
One of the key areas to watch will be down Notts' right where Clifton is likely to be for Grimsby and can cause problems if he drops inside as an inverted winger if they pick up a lost ball during a Notts transition and Richardson is unable to recover quickly enough as this will leave space in between Richardson and Brindley to exploit.
Again, as mentioned previously Notts will have to be on their mettle at set pieces as Grimsby do have an aerial threat in the likes of Waterfall and Taylor.
If there was an area that Notts can capitalise on it's picking up lost ball possession in the attacking third. As alluded to earlier this is something that Wealdstone managed to take advantage of in their last game. Close your eyes if you are reading this Max Crocombe!
Bookies make Notts the favourites with a measly 17/20 about the best you'll get for a home win.
An away win Grimsby is currently around the 12/5 mark and you're looking at 14/5 for the draw.
Based on this Notts would expect Notts to have a 54% chance of winning but historically win 50% of their games at these odds.
Grimsby would expect to have a 29% chance of a win but historically win 27% of games at these odds.
Either way it should be a belter of a game. The conditions could play a part with high winds and rain forecast so it certainly won't be a game for the feint hearted!
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