After a 6-0 loss away to Colchester this past Tuesday, Crewe will be seeking to improve their away form this Saturday at Brunton Park.
Crewe are the only team I know who on opening day can win 6-0, but then only three weeks later lose 6-0.
At home this season Crewe are currently unbeaten, winning one and drawing one. However, away from home Crewe are yet to pick up a point.
Not only have Crewe lost both of their away games so far this season, they also haven’t scored and haven’t looked like a side who wants to win.
During both home games Crewe have looked regimented and comfortable on the ball, but away from home it’s a completely different story.
During the 6-0 loss to Colchester the whole team looked useless, players weren’t battling for second balls and were failing to press properly. Even when Crewe eventually won the ball back the players seemed to panic and would either misplace a simple pass or just lump it long and lose it again.
Despite having a fully fit squad available to him, manager Artell looked like he was trying to fit square pegs into round holes on Tuesday night by playing Ng at left back and Pickering at left midfield.
If Crewe want to change their away form they will not only have to make sure players look comfortable in their position, but also start games better.
Crewe have conceded twice in the first eight minutes on Tuesday, and if they want a result on Saturday they will have to join the game from the off, and not 15 minutes into the first half.
Carlisle have started this season well and despite not winning either of their first two games they find themselves sitting in 6th.
The Cumbrians have won their last two games, and on Tuesday night beat Crewe’s rivals Port Vale 2-1. But in reality that scoreline flattered Vale as Carlisle were dominate throughout.
Carlisle haven”t lost at home yet drawing 2-2 with Northampton, and beating Vale on Tuesday.
Despite finishing 10th last season Carlisle clearly had loftier ambitions, this resulted in manager Kieth Curle leaving Carlisle at the end of last season.
His successor John Sheridan has started the season well and Crewe will have to drastically improve from Tuesdays performance to get anything out of Saturdays game.
Crewe lost to Carlisle both home and away last season. At Gresty Road in September Carlisle dismantled Crewe 5-0 in what was a thoroughly disappointing performance from the Railwaymen. Despite Carlisle winning again at Brunton Park in the January, Crewe put in a much better performance. It took Carlisle until the 76th minute to break the deadlock and the game finished 1-0.
If recent form and last seasons results are anything to go by then Crewe are in for another tough day at the office on Saturday.
Crewe Predicted XI: 4-4-2/4-3-1-2
Goalkeeper- Dave Richards
Despite making the mistake that lead to Colchester’s first goal on Tuesday, there wasn’t a lot that Richards could do about the other five goals that he conceded. Richards also made some fine saves and if it wasn’t for him the scoreline could have being even worse. Richards has made key saves in all of Crewe’s game this season so dropping him after one slightly poor game wouldn’t make much sense.
Defence- Perry Ng, George Ray, Eddie Nolan, Harry Pickering
Part of the problem on Tuesday was that both Ng and Pickering were playing out of position. In order for the defence to perform on Saturday it needs to return to a similar template that meant that the team only conceded one goal in its first three league games.
Both Nicky Hunt and George Ray were replaced at half time on Tuesday, and unfortunately for Nicky Hunt I believe that he will miss out on Saturday with club captain George Ray retaining his starting XI position.
Despite Harry Pickering leaving the pitch on Tuesday through injury, I am hopeful that he will be fit for Carlisle. If he and Ng are playing full-back again, hopefully the Crewe defence will prove more sturdy and have more influence in the final third.
Midfield- James Jones, Paul Green, Ryan Wintle, Callum Ainley
With Callum Ainley returning to the starting XI Crewe’s midfield gains more fluidity and attacking impetuous.
Crewe lacked creativity and energy on Tuesday so hopefully through bringing Ainley back he can help solve those problems.
Crewe can switch between a 4-4-2 and a 4-3-1-2 with both Jones and Ainley cutting inside with Jonah becoming part of a midfield three, whilst Ainley could sit in the hole behind the strikers.
Hopefully through bringing Ainley back in to the team Crewe’s build-up play will also improve, as he will be key in linking the midfield and attack, this means that Crewe won’t have to constantly go long and can hopefully maintain successful spells of possession.
Forwards- Jordan Bowery, Shaun Miller
With Shaun Miller now back to full fitness and Crewe struggling for the goals it would only make sense to return to the partnership that brought Crewe success in the second half of last season.
Bowery and Miller’s partnership was crucial to Crewe pulling away from a relegation battle last season, and if any two forwards can help Crewe start finding the net it will be these two.
On paper this game should result in a comfortable Carlisle win. Crewe are coming into this game of the back of a 6-0 defeat, whilst Carlisle won 2-1 last time out.
Crewe haven’t won any points on the road yet this season, whilst Carlisle come into this undefeated at Brunton Park.
Whilst I do believe that Crewe will drastically improve for this Saturdays game, and that it would be typical Crewe to get a 1-0 win here after getting demolished 6-0 just four days prior, I just can’t see Crewe leaving Brunton Park with a share of the points.
Final Score- Carlisle 2- 1 Crewe