Upsets are part and parcel of the English FA Cup and one thinks that Barnet is overpriced to shock Shrewsbury in Saturday’s first round match at Greenhous Meadow.
Bookmakers are having a laugh in asking punters to take less than even money about Shrewsbury – a team that has won only one of its last 15 matches across all competitions – beating a Barnet team that will arrive in Shropshire having posted two victories and one draw in its last three games.
Shrewsbury is under new management and one is not convinced that the recent changes at Greenhous Meadow have made the Shrews stronger. Micky Mellon and Shrewbury parted company by mutual consent last month and it did not take long for the former Tranmere midfielder to end up at Prenton Park. Shrewsbury lured Paul Hurst from Grimsby to fill the void that Mellon’s departure created in a switch that left one baffled. One would argue that Grimsby has more potential than Shrewsbury and that Hurst should have stayed put at Blundell Park. Also, one thinks that Mellon has more managerial ability than Hurst. Shrewsbury is bottom of English League One after 16 rounds and one does not see Hurst as the coach to turn around its sorry fortunes.
Barnet has managerial stability – for now at least – in the shape of Martin Allen, the larger-than-life character who is in his fourth spell in charge of the Bees. Allen is a proven commodity as a boss in England’s lower leagues and he led Barnet to the English Football Conference title two seasons ago. Barnet finished its first term back in English League Two in 15th position and the Bees are 14th on this season’s ladder following 15 rounds. One is not portraying Barnet as one of English League Two’s best sides but the Bees have a number of statistics that suggest that they are capable of ascending the ladder between now and the end of the term.
For example, Barnet has fired off the sixth highest number of shots of the 24 English League Two teams. Barnet striker John Akinde has scored in four consecutive Bees matches and he ought to be licking his lips at the prospect of getting amongst a nervous Shrewsbury defence at Greenhous Meadow.
Shrewsbury’s English League One defensive numbers are awful – the Shrews have allowed the most shots (232, 13 more than Peterborough, the most shots on target (96, nine more than Port Vale) and the most goals (29, the same as Gillingham). Confidence in the Shrewsbury squad is low, Shrews fans are not sure what to make of Hurst’s appointment and it may not take much for the Greenhous Meadow crowd to turn on the home side when it hosts Barnet in the English FA Cup. Remember, Shrewsbury has lost its last two home games 0-3 and 2-4, scoring its two goals from penalty kicks while trailing.
Barnet is available at odds of +333 with Bet365 to defeat Shrewsbury at Greenhous Meadow. The purpose of this weekly column is to highlight live outsiders and Barnet is exactly that because Shrewsbury is there for taking and bookmakers ought to be listing the Bees at odds around the +250 mark. Obviously, there is also value in betting on Barnet not to lose, something that one can do at odds of +100 with Bet365.
Barnet to beat Shrewsbury
Saturday 5th November, 15:00 GMT
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