With three out of four winners in last week's column, the Not The Top 20 podcast team dive back into the EFL for value this weekend...
"So far, WBA have proven to be too hot to handle, and we expect that to continue here."
Rovers to fall to ValBall
For us, the most eye-catching performers of the season so far are West Bromwich Albion. Their 4-0 win over Sheffield United was an absolute blitz. With their high-intensity style and relentless set-piece threat, they have the best attack in the league so far despite averaging 41% possession.
Valerien Ismael's Barnsley side won 23 of 39 regular season games after his appointment last season. With a 2W 1D record so far - having faced two of the three other best-fancied teams to promotion already - his 59.5% win percentage goes to show that his clubs at this level cannot handle his style of play, and his players have bought into it completely.
Blackburn also have two wins this season; they capitalised on Swansea mistakes when trying to pass out from the back, but West Brom don't play short passes at the back. Rovers also beat Nottingham Forest in midweek with two headed goals from central defenders, but West Brom give away very few opportunities from set piece situations. Rovers may struggle to impose themselves on a team with few weaknesses.
So far, WBA have proven to be too hot to handle, and we expect that to continue here.
Sky Blues To Add Black Cloud To Royal Woes
Coventry returned to their rightful home on Opening Weekend with a roaring win-from-behind against Nottingham Forest, and have experienced a win and a defeat since.
Arguably the Sky Blues' best performance came in their only loss, last weekend at Barnsley. They look much improved in attack compared to last season, with Dabo, Hamer, O'Hare and the lively Gyokeres all dove-tailing well and playing with confidence.
Reading, by contrast, have lost two of three games so far this season. They looked very weak defensively, particularly from set-pieces, in defeat to Stoke and Bristol City. Their solitary victory, against a Preston side that's lost every game, looks less impressive by the day.
The long-term absence of Lucas Joao and Ovie Ejaria's period of isolation put a huge amount of responsibility on the impressive John Swift to make things happen in the final third.
Coventry's three centre-backs will be licking their lips at every set piece opportunity, and we think they have enough energy and quality to overrun the Royals.
Raining Goals in Cumbria
Away from home, Carlisle look to keep it tight and nick a win. But in the comfort of their own home, they go hell for leather to win.
No-one scored more home goals in League Two last season, and the gung-ho approach also saw them concede more than a goal a game, for an average of 2.74 goals per game. Don't be fooled by a 0-0 on Opening Day against Colchester - Carlisle had 18 shots and were thwarted by an inspired goalkeeper.
As for Orient, they look like a triple threat under Kenny Jackett - they're scoring goals from set-pieces, from direct attacks and more patient play.
We're expecting a cracker at Brunton Park, with goals on the agenda.
The Loch Ness Drogba To Surface Once More
Losing the league's top goalscorer to a divisional rival might concern some fans. But not the Sunderland faithful, who reckon Ross Stewart - nicknamed the Loch Ness Drogba - is an upgrade on Charlie Wyke.
It's hard to argue on early-season viewing. Stewart scored in the opening two league fixtures of the season, and only failed to notch against Burton due to an amazing save and a questionable offside flag. He's taken the second most shots in the league, is a threat in behind and in the air, and so far League One defences haven't got a handle on him.
While last season's goal-getter Wyke mostly relied on crosses from McGeady, Stewart benefits from the clever passing of Embleton, Neil and others as well as the delivery of the wing-wizard.
We expect an open game, with Wimbledon giving as good as they get at the Stadium of Light. Stewart should have plenty of opportunities to notch.
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