Right now in the Premier League, there is a lot of talk about the form of clubs like Everton and Aston Villa. The pair, who topped the Premier League before in international break, have been in excellent form, but only time will tell whether they can sustain it across an entire season. Further down the football ladder, however, there have also been some surprise packages, as well-prepared clubs capitalise on early-season turmoil and rustiness.
Below we are going to look at five teams that have impressed us the most. Not all are table-toppers, as some have simply punched above their weight. But all share in common a strong start to the season that is showing signs of better things to come. This quintet have impressed us the most across the early days of the EFL season:
There is a handful of clubs above The Hatters in the Championship table, but none of them were languishing in the Football Conference just a few seasons back as Luton Town were. Luton’s transfer spend is a tiny fraction of clubs like Stoke City and Middlesbrough, so it’s all the more impressive that they have started the season with just one defeat from four. Will they be challenging for promotion? Most likely not, but Luton were a stalwart of top-tier football during the 1980s, and it would be nice to see them in the big leagues again.
At the time of writing, Bristol City are sitting pretty at the top of the EFL Championship. While the early season good form is down to a number of factors, Chris Rivers, writing in Mbet’s Bristol City blog, was quick to point out that boss Dean Holden should be given a lot of the credit. Holden managed to bring a couple of decent players through the door on loans and free transfers, and he has generally galvanised the team into a hard-working but slick unit. Can they keep it up? Or will they run out of steam like previous seasons?
It might sound a bit boring to cite Ipswich Town as being one of the stories of the season so far. After all, the Tractor Boys were among the favourites to win the league at the start of the season. But Ipswich, under the guidance of Paul Lambert, have really looked like they mean business this season, whereas fellow promotion hopefuls like Sunderland and Peterborough have struggled at times. Ipswich, backed with goals from the likes of Gwion Edwards and Teddy Bishop, look like they will be in the Championship next season.
Like Luton Town, Lincoln City were a non-league club in the middle of the last decade. And, like Luton, it feels like they are punching above their weight sitting as they are in the League One automatic promotion spots. Jorge Grant has replaced Tyler Walker as the main goal-getter up-front, but if the likes of Tom Hopper and Harry Anderson can pitch in with a few more, then Lincoln could be contenders for a playoff spot at least. It’s a long season, but the early signs are good for the Imps.
Three wins, a loss and a draw might not seem like the kind of scintillating form needed to win a league title, but there has nevertheless been something impressive about the U’s so far this season. Cambridge have been excellent at the back and even better in front of goal, where Paul Mullin looks to have finally found his scoring form. The 25-year-old looks like he will be crucial to Cambridge’s hopes this season, and he has started the campaign in impressive fashion. Cambridge are longshots at 22/1 to win the League Two title, but those odds will tumble if they continue on this track.