Morecambe travel to the Kassam Stadium in search of their first win of the season after a faltering start. The lack of wins, goals or even chances created has left the Shrimps with an uphill battle if they are to get their form up and running.
Oxford started last season in fine form picking up 5 wins and 2 draws from the opening 11 games. Despite the early results, performances dipped over the course of the season and was ultimately the reason they failed to reach the playoff places for the third time in as many years. Even though the U’s failed to secure a top 6 finish, they finished the campaign as the league’s top scorers. That being said, the defensive side of their game drew some criticism from fans after numerous errors at the back. They finished in 8th place with a +23 goal difference.
Oxford have failed to start this season so sharply, gaining only 3 points from a possible 12, this coming in a 1-0 home win over Cambridge United. Away losses to Derby County and Lincoln City round up their experiences within Sky Bet League One this season. Despite their lacklustre league form, the U’s were able to claw back a two-goal deficit against Championship side Swansea City to progress to the second round of the EFL Cup on penalties. Oxford have failed to start this season so sharply, gaining only 3 points from a possible 12, this coming in a 1-0 home win over Cambridge United. Away losses to Derby County and Lincoln City round up their experiences within Sky Bet League One this season. Despite their lacklustre league form, the U’s were able to claw back a two-goal deficit against Championship side Swansea City to progress to the second round of the EFL Cup on penalties.
Karl Robinson sets up his side in either a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 formation with the intent of stamping their authority on the game through possession and chance creation though on the ground passing. They have a keen focus on attacking but the lack of goals means they are the second worst team in the division for the number of goals per shot at 0.02. Oxford, who possess the fourth oldest squad in the league, are also notable outliers within other statistical fields in the league. Their combative style of play makes them third in the league for both fouls committed and fouls drawn.
Cameron Brannagan- The 26-year-old is one of the more complete midfielders in the league with an eye for goal and technique to match. Arriving from Liverpool in the January of 2018, Brannagan has slowly and steadily brought his game up to the level he is at now and certainly has the potential to improve further. 14 goals and 3 assists last season for the U’s shows his ability in front of goal, one of which he has not lost going into the new campaign having scored 2 goals in 5 games this season in all competitions.
Following what can only be described as an underwhelming 21/22 campaign, Oxford United will once again look to push for promotion to England’s second division for the first time since 1999. This will have been the aim from the start; however, the unflattering performances will worry Oxford’s fanbase as to whether they have the squad to fight for promotion, or may they be facing yet another season of mid table mediocrity.
Morecambe have faced off against Oxford United on 15 occasions having only won 3 of those games, one of which came last season in early April. The U’s have won 6 times and the spoils have been shared in 6 other games. This shows that when in the same division, the two teams are likely to produce close affairs when playing each other.
Following Tuesday’s defeat to Bolton Wanderers, Morecambe will have a point to prove and three to win as they go in search of their first win of the season. The combined mentality of the recent defensive performances and formation solidity means I am predicting Morecambe to run out 2-0 winners on Saturday.