There are six games in the Cymru Premier League this weekend, split evenly between Friday night and Saturday afternoon.
Friday 20th December
Connah’s Quay Nomads vs Bala Town. 19.45 kick off
The standout tie of the weekend sees second placed Bala Town travel to third placed Connah’s Quay Nomads.
Bala are the in form team in the division, having won fives games in succession since their 1-0 defeat at TNS back in October. The Lakesiders have achieved this feat without conceding a single goal in league play.
It’s a different story in the cups, where they lost to Friday’s opponents 2-0 in the semi final of the League Cup, as well as crashing out of the Welsh Cup at second tier Flint Town by the same scoreline.
The Nomads, last season’s runner up, are presently in indifferent form, having only won twice in their last six outings. Last weekend saw them lose their first game of the domestic season, 2-0 away at top six chasing Cefn Druids, and they lead the table in terms of games drawn (7).
One point separates the sides, and they boast the two stingiest defences in the league, with Bala only conceding 12 to Nomads’ 13.
Bala are the second highest scorers in the league with 39 from 17 games, and Connah’s Quay sit fourth in that ranking with 28.
I predict a low scoring draw, and will plump for 1-1.
The New Saints vs Cardiff Met. 20.00 kick off.
Live on S4C.
The Sgorio cameras will be at Park Hall when champions TNS take on last season’s Europa League Play-Off winners Cardiff Met.
Scott Ruscoe’s men sit three points clear of Bala in pole position, having won the last four league games in a row while Met’s run of one win in ten games sees them occupying 8th spot.
Sitting six points from sixth place, with five games until the league split, the Archers have an outside chance of going at least one better than last season’s 7th place finish, so will be hoping to better Cefn Druids’ result this weekend to keep that dream alive. It’s hard to see that happening, with TNS in free scoring form as of late, and having only conceded two goals in the last six league games.
The game is live on S4C (and via the Sgorio Facebook page should you live outside the UK), but I can’t see the game being a spectacle of anything other than TNS’s superiority. Although the last meeting in South Wales was a draw, I’m going to predict a 3-0 home win.
Aberystwyth Town vs Barry Town United. 19.45 kick off.
Neither side’s current form is anything to write home about. Aber sit in 9th spot with a six point cushion over the relegation zone, while Barry have likely slid all the way out of the title race. Despite last season’s title challenge, Barry might well be glancing over their shoulders with seventh placed Newtown only six points adrift with fifteen up for grabs ahead of the mid season split.
While Aber are mathematically in the relegation scrap, a win on Friday, combined with how I feel results will go for the bottom three, could see them open up a nine point gap, which might well prove decisive come May.
Barry desperately need a win to arrest their slump, but I’m going to be brave and call this an Aberyswyth victory: 2-1.
Saturday 21st December (all 14.30 kick offs)
Penybont vs Newtown
Rhys Griffiths’ Cymru Premier debutants find themselves mired in the relegation dogflight. They currently sit one place above the drop on goal difference alone.
Contrasting this, Newtown are three points off the top half of the table and come into the game having won two on the bounce.
Neither side are setting the world alight with their goalscoring prowess, each averaging roughly a goal a game, but the big difference between the sides in goals against. Newtown’s goal difference stands at minus four, compared to minus 18 for Penybont.
Last time the sides met, it was a 2-1 win to Newtown and I’d go so far as to say that scoreline will be repeated Saturday.
Airbus UK Broughton vs Cefn Druids
The Druids have the best form outside of the top two. The might only have eight wins in the league but seven of those have come in the last eight games and include impressive wins over Barry and Connah’s Quay. In fact, they are the only side in Wales to register a win over the Nomads this season.
Second bottom Airbus, on the other hand have the worst form in the league, losing their last six in succession, the worst goals for and against statistics. Even if you erase from the records their recent 12-0 away loss to TNS, their goal difference is still one worse than next best Aberyswyth (and their goal difference includes a 10-1 loss to the Saints). Their average goals against per game would still stand at 2.25.
Huw Griffiths’ charges occupy sixth spot, with Newtown breathing heavily down their necks.
I find it difficult to predict anything other than an away victory here. I’m going to be cautious though and call it 2-0 to Druids.
Carmarthen Town vs Caernarfon Town
The home team sit rock bottom in the league with only one win in their seventeen games to date. Conversely, the Cofis, in their second season back in the big time, look well placed to match last season’s fourth place finish.
Caernarfon have won four of their last five games, including the reverse of this fixture, 2-0 at the Oval.
There are signs of life in the Old Gold yet. Although they have lost the three games since their Novmember win over Cardiff Met, two of those games game against the sides currently occupying the top two spots. A Welsh Cup horror show when they shipped four goals without reply to Lee Trundle and Ammanford AFC aside, Kristian O’Leary seems to have worked wonders on the defence and the last two defeats have both been 1-0.
Should Carmarthen be able to match their recent defensive accumen with some fire power up front, they could well lift themselves clear of the drop zone. Looking at their upcoming fixtures, where they face their direct relegation rivals in the next three games, I foresee an upturn in their fortunes. But not today. I see Caernarfon taking another three points to all but consolodate a top half finish.
I’m going to be kind to Carmarthen owing to their recent defensive improvements and say it’ll finish 1-0 to Caernarfon.
So! That’s my two cents. What do you think?
Check back on Tuesday when I review how well I did in predicting the outcomes, as well as taking a look at the festive double headers.
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