Blogs & Opinion


Peter Beagrie:

Most Popular Posts:

Recent Comments:

Gary Bennett on Reading crashers

"Leeds have thrown away too many games this season with our dodgy defence conceding too many soft goals.Scoring goals has not been a problem and i think the play offs are still there to ... " View all comments

League One: Peter Beagrie picks the division's most impressive teams

Peter Beagrie - Peter Beagrie Posted 4th December 2013 view comments

Much of the focus in League One this campaign has been on the struggles of pre-season favourites Sheffield United and Bristol City.

Both of these clubs should be at the top of the food chain in this division but have failed to fire and been left in the slipstream of about 12 clubs who will fancy a play-off place at the very least.

Perfect pairing: Orient's Mooney (L) and Lisbie have rifled in a combined 23 League One goals

Perfect pairing: Orient's Mooney (L) and Lisbie have rifled in a combined 23 League One goals

Top marks so far must go to a Leyton Orient side who have blazed a trail with an attacking flair that is easy on the eye, and an experienced strike-force in Kevin Lisbie and David Mooney.

Lisbie and Mooney are profiting from two widemen - Dean Cox and Moses Odubajo - who provide great service and a goal threat in their own right, with the four players plundering 41 goals in all competitions and not looking like slowing down.

Peterborough are finding it difficult at home with the pitch not helping them play a high-tempo, passing game.

Peter Beagrie
Quotes of the week

League One Top Six

1st: Leyton Orient - 43 points
2nd: Wolves - 43 points
3rd: Preston - 37 points
4th: Brentford - 37 points
5th: P'borough - 35 points
6th: Rotherham - 31 points

Hot on the O's heels are Kenny Jackett's Wolves, who are second only on goal difference after matching their less-illustrious rivals' tally of 43 points from 19 games.

Having shown enough ambition to hang on to the brilliant Bakary Sako and agreeing to Jackett's plea to recruit James Henry on loan from his previous club Millwall, Wanderers have given themselves a greater chance of an immediate Championship return.

Wolves, who have recorded 10 clean sheets, prey on the weak.

In 11 games against bottom-half sides they remain unbeaten, winning 10 and drawing once, but having suffered just their second loss of the season, which ended an 11-game run without defeat, Kenny will be looking for an immediate response.

Sako's craft and creativity will be key but the Molineux men can't afford to lose 12-goal top scorer Leigh Griffiths to injury or suspension.

Experience

Trying to close the six-point gap on these two leaders are form sides Preston and Brentford.

Preston are on an eight-game unbeaten run, including an impressive win over Orient, and seem to raise their game for the better opposition, so that big-game mentality and experience should serve them well at the business end of the season.

Too many draws and a shortage of goals (28, the joint-least with Peterborough in the top six) will have to be addressed.

But in Simon Grayson, North End possess the golden ticket, with their manager having three League One promotions already on his CV.

Brentford, along with Preston, were my favourites for automatic promotion this season as Uwe Rosler has recruited a very strong and competitive squad down at Griffin Park.

Alan McCormack, Will Grigg and George Savile are just three of the summer signings to have supplemented the players left heartbroken by Yeovil at Wembley last year.

Retaining the nucleus of that squad was pivotal in preventing Brentford from harbouring the bitter taste of that play-off final failure and that could inspire the Bees to go one better this time around.

Incredible

Rosler's drive, passion and desire are all reasons why he has embraced and graced English football, while his knowledge, preparation and attention to detail mark him out as a special manager - but anyone who has read his book or has been lucky enough to meet him personally, will know he is also an incredible man.

Peterborough fans will be breathing a huge sigh of relief after bringing a five-game losing streak - and a run of one point out of 18 - to an end with a fine 1-0 win over promotion rivals Wolves last time out.

Posh's automatic promotion hopes had hit the skids, with just four goals scored in seven games; that is very un-Peterborough of them but their season has been like that, too.

Thirty-one points from a possible 36 at the start of the season signified that they meant business in their quest to return to the Championship but this has been a different Posh to other League One years.

Not so much a swashbuckling approach and trying to outscore the opposition, they have been more conservative, failing to score five times and finding it difficult at home with the pitch not helping them play a high-tempo, passing game.

Chairman and manager are not best pleased at the moment but they will be hoping the bad run is over and that the eight-point gap that has emerged between them and the top two will not be too debilitating - and in Lee Tomlin, Britt Assombalonga and Grant McCann they have match-winners, too, so everything is still to play for.

Funds

Meanwhile, Rotherham's season and future gets brighter by the day.

A five-game unbeaten run, quality additions to the squad and chairman Tony Stewart breaking the news to worried fans that manager Steve Evans, linked with the hot-seat at near neighbours Sheffield Wednesday, is going nowhere.

United have a fine new stadium, and an ambitious chairman who is backing his manager with funds to bring in players over what could be a pivotal Christmas period, with Newcastle's James Tavernier and Haris Vukcic and Wigan's Nouha Dicko all arriving.

Additions were a must for Rotherham to maintain their progression and after Evans had been vocal about the ability but not scoring prowess of his strikers, the signing that could make the biggest difference is Dicko.

Dicko and Tavernier started last time out against Gillingham and both got on the score sheet, while Vukcic made a cameo appearance as a substitute so the Millers' squad now looks like one capable of preserving a top-six position.

In a division that is very competitive, I look all the way down to 12th-placed MK Dons as potential play-off contenders - so who would have thought at the start of the season that we would be talking about a title race that Sheffield United and Bristol City are out of before Christmas.

Football is a funny old game.

Which League One teams have caught YOUR eye? Let us know using the feedback form below.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jamie Redknapp

Jamie questions Remy move

Jamie Redknapp says Loic Remy will get nowhere near the Chelsea first team with Diego Costa around....

Gary Neville

Neville: Arsenal must sign a striker

Arsenal must sign a replacement for injured Olivier Giroud if they want to win the title, says Gary Neville....

Jamie Carragher

Carra: Top four in sight for Spurs

Spurs can make the top four, says Carra, depending on how seriously they take their European duties....

Latest News RSS feeds

Sunday football live!

Follow our live blog for build-up to Super Sunday, plus reaction to all yesterday's drama in the Premier League.

Live transfer updates

Arsenal and Chelsea battle for Loic Remy's signature, West Ham sign Alex Song and Man Utd agree deal for Daley Blind.

Premier League round-up

Swansea, then Chelsea, move to the top of the Premier League, Stoke stun poor Manchester City and still no win for Louis van Gaal.

Chelsea hit Everton for six

Chelsea hit Everton for six in a goal-filled Premier League extravaganza at Goodison Park which finally ended 6-3.

Arsenal enter race for Remy

​Arsenal have joined Chelsea in triggering Loic Remy's release clause, according to some Sky sources.

Features

Mario Balotelli's track record on the pitch makes him a gamble worth taking for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

Mario Balotelli's track record on the pitch makes him a gamble worth taking for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

When it comes to the art of signing players, few did it better than Brian Clough and Peter Taylor. In the latter’s book With Clough by Taylor he explained some of the science behind it in detailing how Nottingham Forest actively sought to buy players they perceived to have personal problems.

Christian Eriksen masterclass

Christian Eriksen masterclass

Type ‘Christian Eriksen free-kicks’ into your internet search engine and you will not be disappointed.

Tottenham's Erik Lamela ready for Premier League lift off

Tottenham's Erik Lamela ready for Premier League lift off

Everyone agreed that Tottenham had acquired some fine players in the summer of 2013, but the notorious line that Spurs sold Elvis to buy the Beatles soon became a source of embarrassment. Not least because that cast young Erik Lamela as John Lennon, the most celebrated of the lot.