EFL WEEKEND: After last week’s return to action the EFL continues this weekend and we preview one game from each of the three divisions below, alongside some of our recommended BETDAQ bets.
Southampton v Norwich – Saturday 15:00
After 11 seasons in the Premier League, Southampton returned to the Championship with a win as they dominated Sheffield Wednesday in their opening fixture last weekend. It took an 87th minute strike from Che Adams to secure victory, but Russell Martin must have been thrilled with the way his side controlled the game. They had a huge 80% of possession against the Owls, showing that they are really going to be a side to be reckoned with this season, which is to be expected given they have managed to hang onto many of their key players, including Adams and James Ward-Prowse.
Norwich could pose more of a challenge this week though, and the Canaries will come into this in high spirits after a 2-1 victory over Hull last week. Once again, the scoreline there doesn’t really reflect Norwich’s dominance, as they had 28 shots to Hull’s nine, but only snatched victory in stoppage time through an Adam Idah winner. David Wagner’s team should be able to take the attack to Southampton more than Sheffield Wednesday managed last week, but given the authority of the Saints in their opening fixture it’s hard to look past them here at 1.84.
Leyton Orient v Portsmouth – Saturday 15:00
Leyton Orient were ready winners of League Two last season but saw defeat in their opening game in League One, with a narrow 1-0 loss to London rivals Charlton last week. In truth there wasn’t much to separate the sides and Orient look to have the ability to go well this season. They didn’t have a real goal-getter last season, but have added ex-Ipswich Joe Pigott in the off-season and will be hoping he can produce the goods this campaign. Much of last season’s success was built on a solid defence, particularly at home, and they could be a different proposition back at Brisbane Road in their first home fixture of the season.
Portsmouth have established themselves as a solid side in League One in the last five seasons, never finishing below 10th. Summer signing Kusini Yengi had the perfect introduction to life at Fratton Park, when scoring the late equaliser in last weekend’s opener against Bristol City. Pompey are a tough side to beat, as they proved when going 11 games unbeaten at the end of last season, and John Mousinho’s side should be set for another good campaign.
This looks a difficult one to call, with Orient’s good home record and Portsmouth’s general consistency, so a draw looks an attractive value bet at 3.3.
AFC Wimbledon v Wrexham – Saturday 15:00
Wrexham had to temper their celebrations on their return to the English Football League as they suffered a 5-3 loss in their opener in a pulsating contest against MK Dons. The stats suggest the Welsh side dominated with 64% possession and 23 shots to their opponent’s eight, but they lacked the clinical edge that The Dons possessed, as they scored five of their six shots on target. While that’s an area that Phil Parkinson’s team will have to improve on, there’s probably no disgrace in being beaten by a team that will be expecting to bounce right back to League One this season. Wrexham scored goals for fun last season and will likely continue with their brand of open football, so while they will create chances, they may also prove vulnerable at the back.
AFC Wimbledon had the fifth worst defence in League Two last season, conceding 60 goals in their 46 games, while they also tended to struggle in the scoring department, notching 48 goals. They got off to a sluggish start to the season with a goalless draw away at Grimsby Town and will face a different challenge against this up-and-coming Wrexham side.
Wrexham will be desperate to record their first win this season and at 2.01 with the goal threat that they carry, The Robins should have too much for Wimbledon.