It’s back! The football season kicks off again on Saturday with the mighty U’s starting life in League One at home to Oxford. Every other preview you read of this fixture is going to mention some Varsity derby bollocks that no-one who supports either team actually cares about, so let UTAS guide you to our opponents instead.
The pre-season games have given some indication as to how we might set up this season, and the newly-narrowed pitch at the Abbey suggests that we won’t be playing an expansive, wide game of football. That said, with wingers James Brophy and Shilow Tracey on the books and the likes of Harrison Dunk, Jack Iredale and George Williams behind them, who knows what we’ve got in store?
Dimi Mitov is likely to start in goal, having played most of our pre-season games so far, with Captain fantastic Greg Taylor partnering Lloyd Jones in the centre of defence. Either side of them we expect to see Williams on the right and Dunk on the left.
In midfield we think we’ll see the biggest changes – Digby and O’Neil will probably hold the central positions, although highly rated loanee Jensen Weir could be in for a start too. If we’re sticking with 4-4-2 we think Brophy and Hoolhan will take the wide positions with Smith and Ironside up front, although theres a chance we could see one up front, with an extra man in midfield (probably Weir or Adam May) if we’re going to be under pressure.
Expected U’s Line-Up: Mitov, Williams, Taylor, Jones, Dunk, Hoolahan, O’Neil, Digby, Brophy, Smith, Ironside
Who’s Their Player To Watch? Oxford have a fair amount of experience all over the pitch, from goalscorer Matty Taylor up front, to long-serving defender John Mousinho at the back. Younger players to watch include Gavin Whyte, on loan from Cardiff.
Who’s In The Dugout? Karl Robinson spent six years at MK Dons before a shorter spell with Charlton. He’s been at Oxford since 2018 making him the fifth longest serving manager in the division.
What’s Their Recent Form Like? Too early to say…
Any Ex-United Players? Nope
Last Time Out: Oxford 1-0 Cambridge, 12 January 2021
A defeat in the Pizza Trophy was the last time we met, although you’ll need to go back to 2016 to find the last time we played each other in a League fixture
From The Archive: Cambridge 2-2 Oxford, 23 January 1993
Some proper rubbish defending on show in this early 90’s encounter at the Abbey.
UTAS Moosenet Tip: 1-1 (Smith)