Derby Day: Crewe Preview vs Port Vale

The game that both sets of fans look for first when the fixture list is released arguably couldn’t come at a better time for the Railwaymen, unbeaten in their last three outings and still yet to concede a goal at home. Crewe come into Derby Day as definite favourites. 

I know for me and many other Alex fans games against Vale are often the biggest games of the season. This game almost always has the biggest attendance both home and away, and I can’t see this Saturday being any different. With Tempers often flaring between the two sides both on and off the pitch, this Saturdays game will certainly be an exciting one.

Last season Crewe ran out undefeated against Vale both Home and Away in the league. A goal from Chris Dagnall saw Crewe leave Vale Park as 1-0 winners, whilst at Gresty Road an extra time goal from Charlie Kirk saw Crewe rescue a late 2-2 draw. Kirk’s late goal was probably the highlight of my season, a wonderfully crafted team goal that saw Crewe make numerous first time passes forward before the ball was neatly slotted into the net by Kirk. The goal sparked wild celebrations from fans and players alike, the Railwaymen went from feeling the heartbreak of losing to Vale in their own backyard to the joy of a last minute equaliser. Despite the game ending as a draw, it certainly felt like another Alex win.

Crewe come into this game of the back of a 0-0 draw away at Cheltenham, a game which saw them pick up their first away point of the season. Despite still not putting in the same levels of performance away from Gresty Road as they do at home, a point on the road is certainly a step in the right direction. After an excellent defensive display Crewe had a chance to win it late on, but Wintle’s header from six yards out was wonderfully saved by Cheltenham keeper Flinders.

However, this game isn’t away from home, this game is at Gresty Road, the ground where the Railwaymen remain undefeated and are still yet to concede a goal.

So far this season Crewe genuinely do look unbeatable at home, the highlight of Crewe’s home form of course being the 6-0 thrashing of Morecambe.

At Gresty Road the attacks look creative and the defence looks solid, and I really am struggling to find any reason as to why Crewe aren’t going to leave Gresty Road with all 3 points.

A win here for Crewe has the potential to make their season. A victory against your biggest rivals will not only give the players a big confidence boost, but also a Crewe win on Saturday will make it 7 points out of their last three league games. This would give the Alex the platform to push on and hopefully get themselves towards the top half of the table and perhaps even into a play-off place.

Vale do however come into this game after getting 4 points from their last 2 games. A 1-1 draw at Forest Green was followed up with a convincing 2-0 victory at Vale Park over ten man Northampton.

However, Vale are yet to win on the road so far this season, losing three and drawing one.

Crewe and Vale have actually had a very similar start to the season. Vale sit 16th in the table on 10 points whilst Crewe sit 17th, two points behind them but with a game in hand. Both sides have a goal difference of 1 and are yet to win on the road this season, with both sides in similar form this game will be decided by where its being played.

If the game was being played at Vale Park, Vale would undoubtedly be the favourites to snatch the win. Luckily for the Alex the game is at the fortress that is Gresty Road, and as long as Crewe continue to perform like they have being doing at home on Saturday a win is looking likely.

Predicted Lineup (4-4-2):

Goalkeeper- Ben Garratt

No explanation needed here really, Garratt kept a clean sheet against Cheltenham and is experienced against the Vale, it would make no sense to drop him.

Defence- Corey Whelan, Perry Ng, George Ray (C), Nicky Hunt

Again it would make sense to stick with the same defence who looked solid during the 0-0 draw with Cheltenham. Whelan looked promising on his debut whilst the physicality of George Ray will be key in dealing with the threat of Tom Pope. The experience of both Ray and Hunt will also be key in ensuring that sometimes temperamental youngster Ng keeps his head in what will no doubt be a physical encounter.

Midfield- Callum Ainley, Ryan Wintle, James Jones, Charlie Kirk

This is clearly Crewe’s best midfield four right now. The saviour of the derby last season Charlie Kirk has already grabbed himself two goals and two assists in his five appearances this season and I fully expect him to put in another quality performance against the Vale along with his fellow midfielders.

Forwards- Jordan Bowery, Shaun Miller

Shaun Miller has a history of scoring against the Vale, as one of the numerous academy graduates in the squad Miller knows about the importance of the fixture to the fans. Despite Miller failing to find the net so far this campaign, a goal against Vale would be the perfect way to open his account. Paired with Bowery both strikers were excellent in the second half of last season and Bowery’s physicality and pace will be key in this sort of game.

Prediction:

Crewe 3-0 Port Vale

All the stats point towards a Crewe victory, Crewe haven’t yet conceded a goal at home this season whilst Vale are yet to win on the road. However after all this is derby day and anything can happen. Hopefully Crewe will put in another quality home performance this Saturday, and if they do that then i believe that they will have too much quality for the Vale to handle.

Photo Credit- Theworldnews.net

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