Following a bounce-back last week, Adrian Clarke looks to push on this Saturday with two more EFL selections!
It was great to collect two wins from two last weekend, with the undoubted highlight seeing a BTTS land after just five minutes! Happy days. This time around, I’m steering you towards a pair of fixtures from League 1 and the Championship…
GOALS LOOK LIKELY IN THE BLUE & WHITE HOOPS DERBY
The similarities between Reading and QPR this season begin and end with the shirt style.
The Royals are paddling against the tide on and off the pitch, with performance levels dipping way below the standards they set last term.
Losing four of their first five matches, leaking five more goals than any other Championship team, a feeling of desperation has engulfed the club even though we are only just into September.
Frantically searching for unwanted experienced free transfers in the last knockings of the transfer window (including Danny Drinkwater, Scott Dann and Baba Rahmann), there doesn’t appear to be a sound plan of action in place.
On the other hand, Queens Park Rangers are a buoyant team and very much on the up.
Unbeaten after five matches, winning when they aren’t at their best, but consistently producing impressive attacking football, the Hoops are on a nice roll.
Should Mark Warburton’s side continue their current upward curve, it will be a huge surprise if they don’t make it to the end of season play-offs.
The form book says this should be an away win.
So, at 2.48 with Matchbook, that does look like an attractive price. The west Londoners have been excellent on their travels, winning 3-2 at Middlesbrough and 3-0 at Hull City.
Attacking stars Ilias Chair, Chris Willock, Lyndon Dykes, Charlie Austin and Stefan Johansen all look sharp, and at the back, they have the best central defender in the division, Rob Dickie.
From back to front, QPR look a hungry, vibrant and talented side.
In contrast, the Royals, beaten 4-0 at Huddersfield Town last time out, are on their knees.
The arrival of Scott Dann should, in theory, improve their fortunes at the back, but as a defensive unit, Reading have been all over the place under Veljko Paunovic this season.
In fairness, they are often worth a goal. Even without star striker Lucas Joao they still have George Puscas, Ovie Ejaria, John Swift, and Junior Hoilett to turn to for a moment of inspiration.
Reading have scored seven goals in five games, so don’t write them off registering at least once in this clash.
A goals angle is where I am heading here.
Reading matches have averaged four goals (the most in the Championship), while QPR contests are coming in at 3.2 per game.
Every match involving the hosts has exceeded 2.5 goals, with 60 per cent of Rangers’ matches doing the same.
BTTS has also landed in seven of their 10 fixtures combined.
I’d expect QPR to win, but my preferred selection has to be Over 2.5 goals at 1.85.
Both sides have enough firepower to expect goals, and when that’s coupled with Reading’s horrendous defending, I can’t look anywhere else.
CHARLTON’S UPTURN TO CONTINUE AT HOME TO CHELTENHAM
Sometimes early-season league tables can prompt the occasional misleading price, and I do think that could be the case with Charlton Athletic this weekend.
On the back of a surprisingly slow start to the new campaign, Nigel Adkins’ promotion chasers find themselves in 19th spot ahead of Cheltenham Town’s (16th place) visit to The Valley.
Consequently, they are rated 2.06 to beat Michael Duff’s newly promoted team on their own patch.
While there is plenty to admire about Cheltenham, player for player, the hosts are very much the superior team.
They showed their quality in a more-handsome-than-the-score-suggests 2-0 win against Crewe Alexandra before the international break.
They ran out 6-1 victors during the interim period against Crawley Town in the Papa John’s Trophy.
With most of the key men rested for that one, the bulk of Charlton’s squad has enjoyed a two-week break, during which time several top-class reinforcements have been added.
Cheltenham are yet to keep a clean sheet at League 1 level, and up against a strike force that should include Jayden Stockley, Charlie Kirk and Diallang Jaiyesimi and potentially new signing Jonathan Leko, I see that trend continuing on Saturday afternoon.
Despite their lowly position, the Addicks haven’t given a lot away at the back at The Valley either.
They picked up clean sheets at home to Sheffield Wednesday and Crewe while also holding out against Wigan Athletic until the 88th minute. It could easily have been three home shutouts in a row.
The acquisition of highly-rated Morecambe captain Sam Lavelle will only strengthen them in central defence.
In all honesty, the statistical data and xG stats don’t have much between these two teams ahead of kick-off, but I sense momentum is building for Charlton Athletic.
I can’t overlook a price of 2.06 for the home win. Anything less than three points in this fixture would be viewed as a big surprise, in my opinion.
Within a few weeks, I’d expect Charlton to be in and around the promotion picture.
- Reading v Queens Park Rangers Over 2.5 goals (1.85)
- Charlton Athletic to beat Cheltenham Town (2.06)
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