The 92: big hitters and missers so far

It’s been an exciting start to the 2019-20 season for clubs across the 92. Whether you’re a fan of AFC Bournemouth or Bradford City, Sheffield Wednesday or Southend United, we certainly haven’t been short of goals or drama at this early stage. But who are the big hitters and (unfortunately) big missers after a handful of games – let’s take a look.

100% records

There are only two teams in the 92 that can still lay claim to perfect 100% records – and they are both Premier League clubs, who have played less games than those in the EFL. Liverpool and Arsenal have both played two, won two – and meet at Anfield this weekend.

That will be a fascinating match-up, because the Reds have looked slightly suspect defensively thus far – and their tendency to play the offside trap with limited success has led to opponents Norwich and Southampton creating a reasonable number of chances, so it will be fascinating to see whether they change tack when they face higher-quality opposition.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have looked strong and creative with Dani Ceballos catching the eye in victories over Newcastle United and Burnley.

Near perfect records

There are plenty of teams across the 92 without a loss so far, but not enough to claim a perfect start. In the Premier League alone, seven teams are battling it out on four points, while Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers haven’t fared as well but will haven’t lost a game, playing two, drawing two.

In English Championship odds and betting, you’ll find Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion among the favourites for promotion to the promised land – and neither side have lost a game so far. Charlton Athletic, Swansea City and Millwall join them without defeat and seven points from an available nine – their positive starts has come as a surprise to some.

In the third tier, Blackpool lay claim to the best record after their opening fixtures – with 10 points from four games, drawing their most recent match against Gillingham. There aren’t any clubs from League Two with near-perfect records, with Crewe Alexandra top of the table with three wins and a loss from their first four games. Meanwhile, Bradford, Cambridge United and Exeter City haven’t lost, but have dropped points on two occasions – all on eight from an available 12.

And at the other end of the scale…

Picking up those first valuable points is proving a stumbling block for many, not least in the top-flight. There are four Premier League clubs without a single point – one of which is big-spending newcomers, Aston Villa. Meanwhile, Newcastle, Southampton and Watford have failed to pick up a point so far. In addition to this, five teams haven’t won in their opening fixtures, but do at least have points on the board.

In the Championship, all teams have picked up at least a point – but last year’s relegated side Huddersfield Town join former Premier League boys, Stoke City without a win from their first three games. Luton Town are the only other club without a win – but have had a tough start to life in the second-tier, facing Middlesbrough, Cardiff City, West Brom and Sheffield Wednesday.

The bottom of League One is a somewhat of a car crash, with Southend United occupying the final relegation place, without a win in four matches. The Shrimpers sit in 18th, courtesy of points deductions to Bolton Wanderers and Bury.

The Trotters have picked up a solitary point this campaign, but had their most recent fixture against Doncaster Rovers postponed due to “welfare concerns” – and could well face a further points deduction. The club are still in administration and only fielded three senior players in their previous game against Tranmere Rovers, which culminated in a 5-0 loss.

Also, in Greater Manchester, the Shakers face potential expulsion from the EFL, after having had all five of their league games postponed and their first round League Cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday was cancelled and handed to the Owls as a victory. They remain rooted to the foot of the division, with their 12-point deduction.

In the EFL’s basement division, Stevenage, Oldham Athletic and Scunthorpe United have lost three of their four games; Colchester United join them without a win so far. But with two League One clubs in turmoil, who knows what the battle for promotion and relegation will be like for the third and fourth tiers of the pyramid.

Goals, goals, goals

We all know that scoring goals wins games, while conceding them, undoubtedly affects your chances of picking up points. But in the 92, who are the most clinical in front of goal and who needs some defensive training?

Across all four divisions, Blackpool and Lincoln City of League One have scored the most goals, with nine in their four games (an average of 2.25 per game); meanwhile with just two games played and seven goals scored, Manchester City have averaged 3.5 goals a game. In League Two, Mansfield Town may have scored eight goals in four games, but have also conceded seven and sit in mid-table.

At the other end of the spectrum, the biggest offenders in conceding goals are League Two’s Scunthorpe, who have conceded 11 in four games (an average of 2.75 a game); while extra training is required for League One’s Southend, who ship an average of 3.3 goals a game – 10 in their opening three matches.

However, worse still, there are four clubs in the 92 who have failed to score so far. In the Premier League both Crystal Palace and Watford are yet to find the goal with differing fortunes – the Eagles sit in 14th having picked up a point; while the Hornets have lost their two games and are at the foot of the table. Other teams who are yet to score include Bolton who are 23rd in League One and Stevenage who are 22nd in League Two, both clubs sit in their respective drop-zones.

It’s certainly all still to play for on the pitch; while off it, drama and tensions are set to continue. It’s another exciting season in the Premier League and the EFL.