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EFL Focus: Reflecting on the first week of the season

Written by TrevStone

The domestic football season is back underway, with the beginning of the 2022-23 English Football League season getting the ball rolling on what promises to be another thrilling campaign. 

There was a full programme of Championship, League One, and League Two fixtures played in the last weekend of July, with the early start due to the fact that the World Cup takes place in November and December.

As football fans continue to analyse the odds on the English Football League Championship, it’s a good time to take stock of what took place on the opening weekend. There were several interesting stories to crop up across the divisions, so let’s take a run through each league and focus on the key talking points.

Championship

Norwich City are many people’s favourites to earn promotion, having just dropped down from the Premier League, but they were dealt a blow on opening day with a 1-0 defeat to Cardiff City. Burnley, meanwhile, got off to the perfect start under Vincent Kompany by beating Huddersfield Town 1-0. The Clarets will be one of the Championship tips for promotion.

It was a weekend defined by low-scoring encounters. Indeed, the only side to win by two or more goals was Millwall, who beat Stoke City 2-0 at The Den to lead the Championship table on the first night. Hull City got off to a fine start under their new ownership regime, coming from a goal behind to defeat Bristol City 2-1. 

Sunderland’s return to the second tier began with a 1-1 draw at home to Coventry City in front of a 40,000-strong crowd at the Stadium of Light. Elsewhere, Blackpool got off to a strong start with a home win over Reading, and Blackburn Rovers also earned a home win by defeating QPR 2-1 at Ewood Park. 

League One

All eyes were on Derby County as the League One season got underway, with the Rams returning to the third tier for the first time in over 36 years. They faced Oxford United at Pride Park, who made life difficult for the home side for long periods. Eventually, Derby found the breakthrough, with Conor Hourihane notching a fine winner 10 minutes from time. 

The big winners on the opening weekend were Wycombe Wanderers, who ran out 3-0 victors over Burton Albion. There were also victories for Plymouth Argyle, Forest Green Rovers, promoted side Port Vale, Cambridge United and Peterborough United. 

League Two

There was plenty of attention on Edgeley Park as the League Two campaign got going, where Stockport County were making their return to the Football League. They took on Barrow, but it was the visitors who made the stronger start, racing into a 3-0 lead before half-time. A spirited fightback saw Stockport get back to 3-2 behind, but they just couldn’t muster an equaliser despite a couple of late penalty appeals.

Walsall recorded the standout victory of the opening day, as they thrashed Hartlepool 4-0. Harrogate Town also enjoyed a fine win, beating Swindon Town 3-0. There were victories for Carlisle, Leyton Orient, Crewe Alexandra, Salford City, AFC Wimbledon, Stevenage and Northampton Town. 

About the author

TrevStone

Trevor 'TrevStone' Uren founded Pro Sports Extra in 2011 at the age of 13. He's hosted a podcast since 14 years old and continues to grow each month! He's currently 24 years old and has interviewed hundreds of professional athletes, business owners, and others who are shining online! Uren has built Pro Sports Extra to over 5M monthly visitors.