Vip single – Portsmouth and Exeter

  • In their 12 combined EFL trophy matches this season, Portsmouth and Exeter have failed to score just once.
  • Both teams have scored in five of Portsmouth’s six EFL Trophy matches this season.

Competition specialists

Having gone all the way last term, lifting the trophy in front of a packed-out Wembley Stadium, Portsmouth are on the verge of being presented with the opportunity to defend their crown. Kenny Jackett’s men, despite going for promotion, have turned into EFL Trophy specialists, so it’s fair to say Tuesday’s League Two opposition have their work cut out.

Portsmouth come into this match in fine form. They’ve lost just one of their last seven, six of which they’ve won, while they earned a confidence-boosting win over a Shrewsbury side not easy to get the better of last time out. Their league form at home, where they’re yet to taste defeat this term, is also excellent. Pompey should be feeling confident ahead of Tuesday’s clash.

One worry is their defensive record against League Two teams in this competition. Portsmouth have conceded in three of their four matches against teams from the division below en route to this semi-final.

Goals galore for the visitors

Like Portsmouth, Exeter come into this fixture off the back of a string of good results. They got the better of Macclesfield last time out, scoring three times in the process, while they’ve now won three on the bounce, scoring an impressive total of nine goals. The Grecians will need to be very good offensively to make headway against Pompey, so their recent exploits are pleasing.

Their attacking qualities will help Exeter at Fratton Park, or at least they should, but something that won’t help them is their softness at the back. Tuesday’s visitors have been struggling to keep clean sheets of late, conceding at least once in each of their last five. Prior to February, Exeter were very good at keeping teams out, but the floodgates seem to have opened at the wrong time, as they’ve shipped nine in their last five.

Defensive weakness is the last thing you want when travelling to a ground like Fratton Park, which is undoubtedly one of the toughest places to go, not just in the Football League, but in the country.

Goals for both, but only one winner

Exeter have shown enough both in League Two and in this competition to suggest they can make their presence felt at Fratton Park, but their recent defensive insecurities don’t exactly point to them upsetting the hosts to the point of elimination.

In the betting, ‘Portsmouth to Win & Both Teams to Score’ catches the eye. Both Exeter and Pompey have pleasing scoring records, notching in 11 of their 12 combined EFL Trophy matches this term, while both teams have scored in three of Pompey’s four matches against League Two opponents in this competition.

Tuesday’s hosts have won each of those four. Add in their excellent record at home and Kenny Jackett’s men are backed to come out on top, even if Exeter’s potent attack should have a say. We are also backing a 2-1 Portsmouth win in the correct score market.

Vip tip: Portsmouth wins ⇒ odd 1.65

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