EFL Weekly Review: Stunning victories across England
All the biggest moments from across English Football
In a week where the European giants began their Champions League Campaigns, it was raining goals across the EFL.
Record win for rampant Royals
Despite numerous off pitch troubles plaguing Reading FC in recent weeks, the Berkshire side recorded their biggest ever away win, after a walkover victory against fellow League One side Exeter City. The scoreline was so steep that Reading were just one goal from equalling the biggest away win in EFL History, a record that has stood for over 130 years.
Like many teams in the competition, Exeter had fielded a young squad. Reading’s line-up also showed elements of raw talent but backed up with plenty of experienced heads that had played the majority of Reading’s opening League matches. Fatigue likely kicked in for the Grecians in the second half, as Reading netted six of their nine in the last third of the match.
Elsewhere in the EFL Trophy, Leicester’s youth side were defeated 7-1 by Wigan Athletic. Wigan have also experienced woes this season, after kicking off in August with an eight point deduction. After both sides were on the receiving end of 4-1 defeats at the weekend, the Latics and Royals find themselves sat in the relegation places.
Dominant display in Devon after difficult midweek defeat
One of the most difficult aspects of a disappointing result is the bounce back going into the next match. However, Steven Schumacher has shown time and time again that Plymouth Argyle have no issue with that, and this week was no different.
After an embarrassing trip to Ashton Gate on Tuesday night, many Argyle fans went into their match at home to Norwich City hoping to avoid another heavy defeat. Instead, the Janners were treated to one of the most clinical performances in recent years at home park. Despite have only 31% of the possession, Argyle played much more directly than in previous weeks, putting six of their 16 shots past the Canaries. Schumacher made the surprising decision to revert back to the 3-4-2-1 formation that had charged Plymouth to the League One title last season, despite Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town boasting a higher calibre of players.
One of their biggest assets last season had been Morgan Whittaker. The former Derby winger had been on loan at Argyle from Swansea City. With 16 goal contributions in 25 matches, Morgan was recalled from the South West back to South Wales in January. However, having been out of favour with manager Russell Martin, Whittaker was given very little opportunity and Swansea’s ownership saw his market value dissipate. Now back permanently in Devon, his reported £1 million price tag is already looking to be one of the best deals of the summer, especially thanks to his hat trick on Saturday.
Meanwhile, back to back defeats for Norwich leaves them eight points adrift of the automatic promotion spots. After their disappointing 22/23 season, pushing back towards the premier league is harder than expected.
Innocuous Cheltenham Town yet to score
Cheltenham Town made footballing history on Saturday, earning themselves possibly the worst record imaginable. After losing clinical frontman Alfie May to Charlton in the summer, there were concerns about where the sides goals would come from. But no one could’ve imagined that, after nine matches and 933 minutes of football, Cheltenham would still be yet to score a league goal.
Halifax Town were the previous record holders, having failed to score in their opening eight matches of the 1990/91 Division four season. However, with the Robins 3-0 defeat to Stevenage on Saturday, Cheltenham broke that record. Even worse, for the Gloucestershire outfit, their 15 goals conceded is the also worst defence in League One. Rooted to the bottom of the table and one of only three teams left without a win, Cheltenham fans will be left praying that whoever replaces the recently departed Wade Elliot on the touchline will be able to get the side scoring again, despite their lacklustre attacking options.
Xisco’s job on the line
Sheffield Wednesday Owner Dejphon Chansiri was quoted at the start of the season saying “For me, the minimum should be play-offs… if we don’t try, then what’s the point in staying in the Championship?” Well, Sheffield Wednesday don’t look like a team that will be staying in the championship. Wednesday are the last team in the Championship without a win. As a result, manager Xisco Munoz will be seeing his job as on the line.
Owls’ fans have been calling for the Spaniard to be sacked for weeks, but things reached breaking point this weekend, thanks to a 3-0 loss to Swansea, who had also been without a win until this weekend. Sheffield Wednesday have been noticeably absent on social media, with Xisco’s post-match interview the only piece of media released for two days after the defeat. We have seen for the last two seasons that being bottom of the League in October doesn’t mean youre resigned to relegation. But Wednesday look like a shell of the side that was promoted last year, and a turbulent start to season just adds to a chaotic 2023 in Hillsborough.