Crusaders and Linfield Players Battle for the Ball
August 16th, 2018

NIFL: Week 3 Preview

Week 3 of The Irish League sees one Friday night game with Newry getting their first taste of Friday Night Football in The Irish Premiership at home to Glenavon.
The standout fixture is at Seaview where League Champions Crusaders host Linfield. The Blues sit on 100% so far along with last year’s surprise package Coleraine, who still show no signs of letting up. The Bannsiders travel to the Oval against a Glentoran team on the back of a comfortable win at Ards.

Ballymena have made a promising start with their new-look squad and they play an Ards who are yet to pick up a point. Dungannon also remain without a point and face a Cliftonville side looking to bounce back after last weeks home defeat.
Newly promoted Institute will be looking to bounce back at home to a Warrenpoint side who have shipped seven goals already in just two games.

Friday Night Fixture

Both Teams to Score looks the value pick in the Friday night match as Glenavon seem to love a high scoring game. The fixture has produced goals in the past and Newry fresh off a home win last week might be stern resistance for Glenavon. I still fancy Hamilton’s men to win an entertaining game.

Saturdays Fixtures

Slight question marks are arising about Crusaders after the huge loss of Gavin Whyte and an uncharacteristic slow start. Rory Patterson should be able to shoulder the burden of scoring enough goals this season but Crusaders will need a bit more than they’ve found even if it is very early days this season. Linfield have put 2 impressive performances and wins together and will have more belief as they travel to seaview with skipper Mulgrew, Garret and Stafford all available for selection once again. Crusaders have won the last 5 meetings between the two and perhaps too much is being made of the dropped points against Ballymena. I think Linfield will stop the rout though in an entertaining score draw.

Coleraine will be looking to make it 3 wins from 3 against a dogged Glentoran side. The betting seems to be very short in Coleraine’s favour but they are rightly favourites of course. 8 draws in the last 12 games between these two at the Oval shows it should be a close hard-fought game. Whilst I don’t overly fancy Coleraine at the price I think they will win this one narrowly.

10 years since Dungannon last beat Cliftonville at home so it would take a brave man to fancy them after 2 defeats already. But I fancy McAree’s men to improve and they could be difficult to beat this weekend. I think they will make this very tough for Cliftonville and pick up a point.

Ballymena are possibly the value bet of the weekend away to Ards. It’s been a great start for Jeffrey’s overhauled side and he knows a thing or two about momentum and with Ards not showing a lot against Glentoran last week it might pay to side with the Sky Blues.

Warrenpoint have won their last 6 games against Insitute but have conceded 7 in just two games so far. ‘The point’ had a good record in the basement battles last season and that was a catalyst for them retaining their league status. Therefore, given that trend and their record against Institute then they might be worth backing + 1 goal.

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For what it’s worth here’s mine..

Predictions
Newry 2-3 Glenavon
Ards 1-4 Ballymena
Crusaders 2-2 Linfield
Dungannon 1-1 Cliftonville
Glentoran 1-2 Coleraine
Institute 1-1 Warrenpoint