After four losses in a row Crewe will be looking to bounce back against a newly promoted and in-form Tranmere side, who currently find themselves fourth in the table.
Crewe’s 2-1 loss to Shrewsbury mid week in the Checkatrade trophy marked their fourth loss in a row, this unwanted run has also seen the Railwaymen only hit the back of the net once whilst conceding a concerning eight goals themselves.
In the last week Crewe have crashed out of both the Checkatrade trophy and the FA Cup, essentially rendering the Railwaymen’s season as over as any sort of promotion push begins to look increasingly unlikely.
The 1-0 FA Cup loss at home to Carlisle was almost laughable. Despite being the home side the Alex only managed one shot on target compared to the oppositions eight. Not only did the Railwaymen fail to create any significant chances throughout the match they also handed Carlisle the victory. A poor back pass from on loan left-back Kevin O’Connor saw Ben Garratt’s rushed clearance bounce off striker Jamie Devitt and role into the back of the net on the 90th minute mark.
With Crewe now out of all competitions, you could argue that it gives them the ability to focus all their efforts on the league. However, Crewe are still the third lowest scoring side in the division, and its even worse when you consider that nine of their 16 goals came in just two games. That means that Crewe have managed to score just seven goals in their other 15 games, which is appalling for a side who signed two new attackers in the summer.
Even the Solid defence that Crewe could fall back on it has looked fragile in recent weeks, and if the Railwaymen want to get a result against an in-form Tranmere side who currently boast the leagues top scorer.
Whilst Crewe have had an extremely poor start to their campaign, Tranmere are the exact opposite. Despite spending three years outside of the Football League, Tranmere have hit the ground running upon their League Two return. After 17 games Rovers find themselves sitting inside the play-offs only six points off the top of the table, even beating fellow promotion contenders Exeter 2-0 in their last league outing.
Despite Rovers excellent league form, they still couldn’t put away non-league side Oxford City at the weekend. The National League South side came from behind to lead the League Two outfit 3-2, but it took a last gasp equaliser from League Two top scorer James Norwood to take the replay back to Oxford.
The only way I can see Crewe stopping Tranmere this weekend is if they find a way to stop James Norwood. Norwood has scored 12 goals this season, meaning that he has bagged 48% of Tranmere’s league goals this season.
If Crewe’s defence can perform the way that they have shown they are capable off and stop the threat of James Norwood then the Alex have a chance this weekend. However, any defensive efforts will be futile if the Forwards cant find a way to get the ball into the back of the net.
Predicted Crewe XI:
Could this be the game that sees Artell try something other than the 4-4-2 or the 4-3-3, neither formation has really worked this season and maybe its time for a change?
Corey Whelan, George Ray, Eddie Nolan, Harry Pickering
James Jones, Perry Ng, Ryan Wintle
Callum Ainley, Jordan Bowery, Charlie Kirk
Crewe 1-2 Tranmere
With Crewe’s defence looking more and more fragile as the weeks progress, its looking unlikely that they’re going to be able to find a way of stopping top scorer Norwood this Saturday. Crewe might be able to grab a goal against the Rovers, but i can just simply see Tranmere scoring more.
Picture Credit: Crewe Alexandra