Dundalk come in to this game as the league’s form side.
They’re unbeaten in their last nine games, eight of which have been wins.
That run has seen the Lilywhites rise to the top of Premier Division table, however they remain locked on equal points with Shamrock Rovers.
Their last performance, while not perfect, only franked their title-defending credentials thanks to a last gasp winner at the death against Bohemians.
Dundalk are the league’s top goal scorers, they’ve the second best defence, and they boast the league’s top individual scorer in Patrick Hoban.
With Hoban and Michael Duffy Dundalk will be a danger going forward against any side. Their parsimonious defensive unit, three clean sheets in their last five, will be the last thing their opponents on Friday night will want to face.
St Patrick’s Athletic finished last season fifth in the table. That is where the sit today exactly half way through this 2019 campaign.
While Harry Kenny, who succeeded Liam Buckley, has improved their defence, the Saints are struggling badly for goals.
Pats averaged 1.4 goals per game last year, in half the amount of games, that average has plummeted to 0.8 per game.
Kenny’s men will do well to finish fifth if this issue is not resolved.
In terms of results, St Pats are struggling for consistency. In their last ten they’ve lost three, won four and drawn three.
There’s no doubt they have talented players in their squad, a vital win at home to Derry City last time out will see them travel to Oriel Park in good spirits.
It’s hard to look past the home side for this fixture.
They’re undefeated at Oriel Park in the league so far, an opening day draw against Sligo was followed by six wins on home soil, they dropped two points against Derry despite having a two goal lead, and then there was Monday evening’s drama and another three points.
St Pats have won just twice from seven on the road in 2019, losing three and drawing two.
Only on two of the eight occasions Pats have played the four teams above them have they had more of the ball.
A majority of possession is no guarantee of three points but, naturally, it makes it decidedly easier to create chances. That’s something quality players like Mikey Drennan crave – the Saints striker has now played five straight games without a goal.
Dundalk prospered in their head to head meetings with the Inchicore side last year. From their four matches Dundalk took eight points to St Patrick’s Athletic’s two. A 5-0 roasting at Oriel Park in April was the standout.
Dundalk 5-0 St Patrick's Athletic. Fans of @stpatsfc might want to look away now, but here's a chance for @dundalkfc supporters to relive their five star win. #SoccerRepublic #GreatestLeagueInTheWorld pic.twitter.com/in1yLAsnmR
— Soccer Republic (@SoccRepublic) May 1, 2018
This year Pats managed a quotient of revenge with a 1-0 reversal at Richmond Park, that would prove to be one of just two defeats for Vinny Perth’s men so far this season.
The league’s defending champions are 4/11 for the match win, St Patrick’s Athletic are priced at 15/2 to claim three points, while the draw is 17/5.
There’s been little to suggest that the visiting side can immediately unlock their attacking potential on the evidence to hand.
Combine that with Dundalk’s home advantage, excellent form, and strong defence then the most likely outcome for me is a Dundalk win with a Pats blank.
Dundalk to Win to Nil at Evs
The Lilywhites have hit the net twice on each of their last four matches, at 85/40 I think it’s worth considering backing Dundalk to hit two in the Total Goals market.