Both sides arrive at Dalymount Park on Friday night ruing missed opportunities last time out.
With long-time league leaders Shamrock Rovers taking only three points from a possible twelve in their last four games, both Bohs and Dundalk have significantly closed the gap on the South Dublin side.
Bohemians however should be playing Dundalk for the right to top the table.
While they have won seven on their last ten, and continue to impress defensively, a scoreless draw at home to Waterford, and a 1-0 defeat against manager-less Cork City has has set them back in recent games.
They lie third in the table four points behind Rovers, and just one shy of Dundalk’s total of 31.
Keith Long and his men know where they need to improve. In 15 league games they’ve scored just 15 goals. This compares with Dundalk’s 26 from the same amount and Rovers with 24 from 16 matches.
A little more penetration in attack would go a long way as they’ve a league-leading defence. Just five goals have been conceded, with a remarkable 11 clean sheets along the way.
For the league’s defending champions, it’s a case of normal service being resumed in the last number of weeks. That service was absent at the start of the season (three points from 12) and once again last month when losing back to back games against St Patrick’s Athletic and Sligo Rovers.
Since those defeats the Lilywhites went on a winning run of five straight games scoring 12 and conceding just two. Bohemians and Rovers were beaten along the way.
Last time out Dundalk dropped two points at home against Derry City.
Despite leading 2-0 with just 22 minutes left on the clock, Vinny Perth’s men conspired to finish the game with ten men and one point.
Derry are one of the better teams in the league, but the manner in which the points were surrendered will give management pause for thought.
The league’s best defence against the division’s best attack.
The above being considered, I don’t see this being a game of attack versus defence. Bohs can play excellent football, while their lack of goals suggests issues in the final third, the intention and endeavour is very much to create and score.
Wide-man Daniel Mandroiu is just one of a number of genuinely exciting players in Long’s ranks.
While capable and creative, Mandroiu has scored just twice all season.
With seven league goals from their 15, Dinny Corcoran has scored 46 per cent of Bohs goals this season, it’s clear where improvement is required for the home side.
Pat Hoban is flying for Dundalk, he’s hit nine already this season, however that only represents 34 per cent of his side’s league goals this year. He is however suspended for this encounter owing to his red card against Derry last time out.
Perth’s Dundalk are far more balanced side, defending and creating well in equal measure. A full time squad brimming with experience, this week’s trip to Dalymount will be relished as an opportunity to damage a title rival.
Bohs were bested last time these two met half way through last month. A 1-0 scoreline secured three points for Dundalk.
Dundalk 1 #Bohemians 0
— John (@John_MooreMOT) April 15, 2019
While Dundalk’s performance in beating Bohs at Oriel Park was flawed, they are unbeaten against their Dublin based opposition since 2017. They picked up four points from their two visits to Dalymount last year.
Dundalk are favoured to win the tie at 9/10, which I think is decent value considering their head to head record.
Backing them to win is my primary bet.
The Lilywhites have also managed to take the lead in five of their last six games.
On that basis, I’m looking at backing them to lead at HT/FT at 2/1.