Officials bag Forest a draw, Stoke are firing, Wycombe are almost firing: The Second Tier Summary
It was a packed weekend, mostly of draws (half the fixtures ended in a draw) and teams playing 3 a the back (13 sides played 3 centre backs). However, there was still plenty to get stuck into.
1-1 draws galore as eluded to, Stoke's forwards firing and Reading, yes Reading proving to be the team deserving of the top spot.
Let's dive in shall we?
1) Reading & Paunovic
I praised the Reading side this weekend because they rightly deserved the credit. A team conceding one goal all season should have credit. Then you add their unbeaten start to the mix and you're baking yourself some 'good side pie'.
Yes, they don't create many golden chances. Yes, teams fair better when they create an abundance of chances but teams in the past have bucked this trend, preferring the defensive, organised route instead. I'm looking at you Cardiff 17/18 and Boro 15/16.
Let's also consider their defensive stats, 3rd for headers won, conceded the 6th least amount of shots and sit top for most tackles won. This is a well organised, hard to break down Reading team packed with good players. If they keep up this defensive record, they'll keep getting results and make my co-host eat his words.
2) Tony Mowbray
This man deserves credit. It wasn't so long ago that The Second Tier attended the Brentford-Blackburn game in February ending in a 2-2 draw. A Brentford fan sat behind us berated Mowbray, saying his teams are awful.
Well I could not disagree more. Another 4-0 win away from home. More goals for Armstrong and Brereton living up to his potential. What a team this is becoming.
They've scored the most in the league this season with 16 and boast the most exciting attack in the division. Couple that with back to back defeats, Mowbray deserves credit for getting this side organised and back to winning ways, emphatically.
3) Stoke City
They had to be pointed out. They were devastating at times against Brentford, taking advantage of a weakened defence. Jacob Brown was dangerous, Fletcher was cut throat and Campbell took no mercy.
With a balanced defence, an experienced midfield and exciting attack, there really is no weak points in this Stoke side*.
*Apologies in advance for the inevitable jinx.
1) The officials
I don't like pointing out the officials as I have massive respect for the job they do. Couple that with no VAR, it's bound to be tricky.
It started on Friday night, when the referee failed to spot a pull on Curtis Davies' shirt for the Forest equaliser in the East Midlands Derby. The offside, on the balance of the law was probably correct however, so kudos there Mr Linesman.
Then we go into the Watford-Bournemouth game and a horrendous tackle from Lloyd Kelly in the third minute fails to bring out a red. It was a red. Billing then catches Perica with an elbow, no card. Billing just two minutes later catches Cleverly on the thigh with his studs, possibly a red, not even a yellow.
We then find ourselves at Millwall-Barnsley. Callum Brittain whallops Conor Mahoney with a terribly mistimed tackle. A certain red, but just a yellow. The sheer force of it makes you wince.
That's just four incidents across the weekend. Four. That's just too many as these are gaming changing decisions. Big decisions if you like. How can you shine a spotlight on these things without berating officials? I'm in favour of VAR because of these incidents as I want officials to get them right for the balance of the game. More training will not help that.
It was such a poor weekend for Brentford. Losing 3-2 to Stoke is no disgrace, but they were 3-0 down with a mountain to climb. They made it so hard for themselves.
A shake up tactically may have been the cause of this, switching to a three at the back. Charlie Goode on the right of three was tormented also. Last season saw Brentford lose out on the automatics, partly down to their poor start.
This season has seen another stuttering start. Leeds at this point last season for example saw just the one defeat and were six points better off.
Frank needs to get this side going, otherwise it's pressure on him and the team.
3) Coventry City
It really was a bad day at the office for the Sky Blues. losing 4-0 at home to Blackburn is a poor result, only made worse by naive defending from Ryan Giles.
Getting sent off against the most dangerous attack in the division is the worst possible start to a game individually. Then putting your relatively inexperienced side up against them with 10 men just isn't fair.
It's just one win in seven now for Coventry City after a relatively bright start, but they're going to need to wise up defensively if they're going to avoid going back down to League One.