Just a point separates the top three with Connah’s Quay Nomads leading the way, so is the Welsh Premier League shaping up to be a three-horse race between the leaders, The New Saints and Cardiff Met this season?
It is certainly more competitive than in recent years, where The New Saints have seemed to run away with the Welsh Premier League but what we can take from the first few months is that it could well be a three-horse race between The New Saints, Connah’s Quay Nomads and Cardiff Met.
It’s clear that in the long-term The New Saints will be favourites. They have been there before and have the experience to win the Welsh Premier League – they started the season slowly but in recent weeks they have really picked it up under the influence of Scott Ruscoe.
The New Saints were unbeaten in 12 games in all competitions until last weekend when they suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Barry Town United courtesy of Kayne McLaggon’s second-half strike.
But you do feel that if they can get it together, they’ll be able to defend their Welsh Premier League crown for an unbelievable eighth successive season. They certainly have the players to do so in the likes of Chris Seargeant and Wes Fletcher.
Winger Jamie Mullan has also enjoyed a tremendous start to the season and as well as creating a whole host of chances for the Oswestry-based outfit, he has also chipped in with a total of four goals for the defending champions and if they can keep their best players fit, their class could shine through come to the end of the season.
The leaders are now Connah’s Quay Nomads and prior to the season kicking off, they were expected to do well, especially given that they finished second, 27 points behind The New Saints last season.
They’ve prised themselves on having a solid defence and they certainly have that, keeping five clean sheets thus far this season. Not only that but this season, they have managed to come out on top in tight games.
Andy Morrison’s side is also going through a rich vein of form currently having gone nine games unbeaten in all competitions and drew 1-1 at Bala Town in their last outing.
They’re certainly a team who could challenge The New Saints for the Welsh Premier League title and have quality going forward in midfielders Callum Morris and James Owen as well as the experience of 34-year-old striker Michael Wilde.
Finally, we come to the surprise package of this season in Cardiff Met. The students were desperately unlucky not to book their place in Europe last season but succumb to defeat to Bangor City.
However, Met has come out the blocks this season in blistering fashion and have quality all over the pitch from the back all the way to the front.
Front-man Adam Roscrow has been in scintillating form – he’s currently the top scorer in the Welsh Premier League and has 10 goals in all competitions, and has combined superbly with midfielder Elliot Evans, who has chipped in with six goals in the league himself so far this season.
A mixture of being well-organised and ruthless in the attack could provide the perfect potion for the students to challenge for the Welsh Premier League this season.
They certainly look like they’ve learnt from some of the mistakes they made last season, where they narrowly missed out on a place in Europe and if they continue in their current form, there is certainly feeling amongst the league that they can challenge The New Saints and Connah’s Quay Nomads.
At times, their football has been sensational to watch. They knock the ball around with ease and they’re definitely a force to be reckoned with so don’t rule them out by any means and they have a fantastic manager in Christian Edwards, who will ensure they remain competitive throughout the course of the season.
(Featured Image: Matthew Lofthouse)