Five talking points from Championship game week three
The third gameweek of the 2019/20 Championship campaign offered a lot of thrills and spills throughout the weekend.
Hull City continued their unbeaten run, while Reading gave Cardiff City a 3-0 hiding on Sunday. But the biggest talking point of the weekend was Jan Siewart’s dismissal after Huddersfield Town fell to a 2-1 defeat to Fulham.
That being said, here are five talking points from the Championship gameweek three.
1. Luton Town 1-2 West Brom: Grady Diangana helps the Baggies to three points
After a miserable week that saw West Brom get eliminated from the Carabao Cup at the hands of Millwall, the Baggies managed to bounce back with a 2-1 win against Luton.
Substitute Grady Diangana scored twice within six minutes of coming on for his West Brom league debut to give Slaven Bilic’s side a crucial win.
West Brom are one of the five teams with seven points after three games, having come from behind to win 2-1 against Luton as they did on the opening day against Nottingham Forest.
2. Wigan Athletic 0-2 Leeds United: Patrick Bamford double sinks Wigan
Leeds United’s good start to the season continued at the weekend as they ran out 2-0 winners against a 10-man Wigan Athletic. Marcelo Bielsa’s side deserved a win, which saw them move back to the top of the Championship table.
If there was anybody in Leeds’ ranks who needed a goal to regain confidence, it had to be Patrick Bamford. With previous season’s top-scorer Kemar Roofe departing the club, the Whites desperately need Bamford to deliver the goods this term. And the former Chelsea man bagged a brace, sending the fans home on a happy note.
3. Barnsley 2-2 Charlton Athletic: The Addicks maintain their unbeaten start to the season
Charlton Athletic have enjoyed a solid start to the Championship campaign following their promotion this year. They are one of the five teams with seven points after three games.
A 90th-minute penalty from Lyle Taylor helped Charlton maintain their unbeaten start to the season in an entertaining draw with Barnsley at Oakwell.
Barnsley were 2-1 up, thanks to goals from Cauley Woodrow and Conor Chaplin, but a foul from defender Bambo Diaby on Conor Gallagher handed the Addicks a lifeline in the 90th minute.
And Taylor stepped up confidently to salvage a point from the spot for Lee Bowyer’s visitors.
4. Huddersfield Town 1-2 Fulham: Jan Siewert sacked by the Terriers
Jan Siewert was sacked after a defeat to Fulham which left him with a record of just one win in 19 matches at the John Smith’s stadium.
Only one point in the first three games has left the Terriers reeling in the relegation zone. It was all doom and gloom under Siewert and sacking him after a poor start to the season was perhaps the only decision the club’s hierarchy could take.
For now, Siewert’s assistant head coach Colin Bell remains a part of the coaching staff, and Mark Hudson will also be assisted by academy manager Leigh Bromby and under-19s manager Dean Whitehead.
5. Millwall 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday: The Owls’ unbeaten start to the season is over
Sheffield Wednesday’s unbeaten start to the new season was over as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to a 10-man Millwall in what was a very frustrating afternoon for the Owls.
Matt Smith gave Millwall the lead with a header from a corner but his teammate Jed Wallace was sent off in the first half. That gave Sheffield Wednesday a fantastic chance to maintain their 100% record. However, they struggled to create clear openings and lost at the Den.
EFL Championship round 6: Winners and Losers of the weekend including high-flying Swansea and struggling Huddersfield
2019-20 EFL Championship: Winners and Losers from Round 6
The top of the table clash between two of Championship’s early-pace-setters, Swansea City and Leeds United at Elland Road was expected to be one of the main attractions of Round 6, and after a tense, hard-fought ninety minutes in West Yorkshire, it was the Swans who had the last laugh.
Leeds controlled the possession for large quarters of the game and the likes of Patrick Bamford, Jack Harrison and Ezgjan Alioski all came close to opening the scoring for the Whites, only to be denied by some tight and resolute defending by Steve Cooper’s side.
Wayne Routledge proved to be the super-sub for the Swans, as the winger’s shot tricked into the goal in the 90th minute to ensure that the Welsh outfit went into the international break on top of the standings, while Marcelo Bielsa’s side only have themselves to blame for failing to make their chances count.
Elsewhere, Charlton Athletic continued their fairytale start to the campaign with yet another impressive 2-0 victory over Reading away from home. Goals from Jonathan Taylor and Lyle Taylor propelled the Addicks to second place in the standings, with Lee Bowyer’s side boasting of 4 wins from their first six games.
Having played out draws against Reading and Derby County in their previous couple of fixtures, West Brom returned to winning ways this weekend as the Baggies edged out Blackburn Rovers 3-2 at home to continue their unbeaten run in the Championship.
Bradley Dack opened the scoring for the visitors inside the first minute of the game before goals from Matt Phillips, Jake Livermore and Grady Diangana made it 3-1 in favour of Slaven Bilic’s side. Bradley Johnson made it 3-2 in first-half injury-time and it stayed that way in the second half.
Meanwhile, Bristol City played host to Middlesbrough on the back of three consecutive victories in the Championship but the Robins could only manage a 2-2 draw, thus heading into the break placed 5th in the standings.
Kasey Palmer opened the scoring for Lee Johnson’s side just at the stroke of the interval before an own goal from Taylor Moore restored parity. Britt Assombalonga’s strike in the 68th minute promised to hand Boro their second win of the season but a goal from Tommy Smith saved the blushes for the hosts.
There wasn’t much joy for the likes of Cardiff City and Fulham though, as both the teams played out a rather stale 1-1 draw in South Wales on Saturday. Josh Murphy’s opener was cancelled out by Aleksandar Mitrovic, who netted his fifth goal of the season.
The Cottagers had the better chances to turn one point into three but Harry Arter’s second bookable offence midway through the second half meant that Scott Parker’s side went into the break with 10 points in their opening six games this term.
Elsewhere, Sheffield Wednesday suffered their second successive league defeat to drop down to 11th in the standings, as Mark Warburton’s QPR upset the Owls 2-1 at Hillsborough on Saturday.
Ashley Fletcher opened the scoring for Lee Bullen’s side from the spot in the first half but Jordan Hugill’s second-half brace fired QPR to back-to-back wins in the league.
Stoke City’s woeful start to the season doesn’t look likely to end anytime soon as the Potters went down 2-1 away at Birmingham City, thus suffering their fifth loss in six games.
Goals from Lukas Jutkiewicz and Jude Bellingham cancelled out Liam Lindsay’s opener to hand the Blues their third win of the campaign.
There was nothing much to talk about in the goalless draw between Wigan Athletic and Barnsley, barring the red card incident featuring Barnsley’s Ben Williams, who received the marching orders from the referee in injury-time.
Huddersfield Town’s 2-1 loss against newcomers Luton Town ensured that the Terriers will be heading into the international break without a single win in their first six games.
James Collins’ goal from the penalty spot cancelled out Karlan Grant’s opener before Andrew Shinnie’s strike handed the Hatters their second victory of the season.
Preston North End played out a 1-1 draw away at Nottingham Forest, while Hull City faced the same fate away at Millwall. Brentford, though, pulled off a surprise with a resounding 3-0 victory over Derby County at home.
Both teams came into the game at Griffin Park with only a solitary win in their opening five games and Bryan Mbuemo’s first goal of the Championship followed by a brace from Ollie Watkins inflicted a heavy defeat on Phillip Cocu’s side, who dropped down to 19th in the standings.
Winners and Losers from gameweek 5 of the EFL Championship including Leeds and Charlton
Winners and Losers from gameweek 5 of the EFL Championship
There was no shortage of drama, excitement, talking points and emotions in Round 5 of the 2019-20 EFL Championship this weekend and whilst some teams will be really happy with their position in the standings after the first five games, others are likely to know that they have plenty of work to do to achieve their goals.
Leeds United continued their unbeaten start to the season with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Stoke City away from home following a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Brentford in the mid-week fixture.
Patrick Bamford, Ezgjan Alioski and Stuart Dallas all got their names on the scoresheet and Pablo Hernandez showed his class as the Whites drove past a disjointed and listless Stoke City who finished round 5 right at the bottom of the standings after suffering their fourth defeat of the campaign.
Apart from Marcelo Bielsa’s side, Swansea City also preserved their unbeaten start to the campaign, as goals from Kyle Naughton, Bersant Celina and Borja Baston guided the Swans to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Birmingham City at the Liberty Stadium.
Elsewhere, newcomers Charlton Athletic continued their dream run in the Championship, with Conor Gallagher’s solitary goal earning Lee Bowyer’s side a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Brentford.
The Addicks finished third in the standings at the end of Round 5 with 3 wins and 2 draws and the fans at The Valley should be mightily pleased with their club’s efforts so far.
Thomas Frank, though, will be a bitterly disappointed man after his team failed to make the most of the abundant possession and the multiple chances that they created, as the Bees suffered their third defeat of the campaign.
Fulham had a chance to sustain the pressure on the likes of Charlton, Leeds and Swansea but the Cottagers crumbled to a shock 2-1 defeat at home against Nottingham Forest, who bagged all three points courtesy of a Lewis Grabban brace.
Aleksandar Mitrovic netted his fourth goal of the campaign but that wasn’t enough for the wasteful Cottagers to capitalise on their resounding 4-0 victory over Millwall in the mid-week, whilst Forest climbed up to 9th in the standings with their second victory of the season.
Bristol City, on the other hand, continued their glorious run of form and finished Round 5 in fourth place, with the Robins bagging their third consecutive victory in the Championship.
Having triumphed over QPR and Derby County, Lee Johnson’s side put Hull City to the sword 3-1 away from home, thanks to a brace from Benik Afobe and an own goal from Reece Burke.
Preston, meanwhile, continued their merry way with another solid 2-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday at Deepdale following a 3-1 triumph over Stoke City in the mid-week game as Daniel Johnson scored twice from the penalty spot to guide Alex Neil’s side to their third victory of the campaign.
The Owls, on the contrary, missed the chance to finish Round 5 in the playoff places after a 1-0 victory over Luton Town in their previous fixture, as Steven Fletcher’s 78th-minute strike proved to be a mere consolation.
Elsewhere, West Brom and Derby County played out a 1-1 stalemate in what was a battle featuring two of last season’s playoff sides.
The Baggies preserved their unbeaten start to the season and Slaven Bilic would probably be a relieved man with that result, given how things shaped up over the course of the ninety minutes at Pride Park on Saturday.
Martyn Waghorn’s opener from the penalty spot was cancelled out by Kenneth Zohore’s penalty late in the game, albeit replays showed that there was hardly any contact on Matheus Pereira which led to the penalty and the subsequent equaliser.
Things would probably have been different for Phillip Cocu’s side had Waghorn managed to convert his second penalty kick of the game in the first half, which was kept out by a diving Sam Johnstone.
In a battle featuring two of the newly-promoted side – Luton Town and Barnsley, it was the former who emerged victorious, as goals from Jacob Butterfield, James Collins and Harry Cornick propelled the Hatters to a 3-1 victory away from home, earning Graeme Jones his first victory of the season.
There wasn’t much joy for the likes of Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town, as the Bluebirds played out a 0-0 draw against Blackburn Rovers, whilst a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Reading meant that the Terriers stretched their losing streak to three games in a row.
Moving to the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough started as favourites at home against Millwall but a 1-1 result was probably a fair reflection on the game, with Tom Bradshaw cancelling out Paddy Mcnair’s goal.
The 1-1 result meant that Boro finished Round 5 with just a solitary victory so far in the Championship and Jonathan Woodgate clearly has his work cut out ahead of a daunting trip to Ashton Gate next weekend.
5 instances in the recent past where promoted PL sides recruited heavily including Bournemouth
Revisiting 5 instances in the recent past where promoted Premier League sides have recruited heavily
It is not very often that we see a promoted side in the Premier League splash the cash as extravagantly as Fulham did last summer.
The Cottagers apparently had little trust in the squad that got them promoted to the top-flight and owner Shahid Khan didn’t hesitate to loosen his purse strings to bring in radical reinforcements through the door at Craven Cottage.
As a matter of fact, Fulham signed anybody and everybody as a part of their summer spending spree, with as many as 15 new players arriving at the club prior to the start of the 2018-19 season.
The Cottagers made the headlines multiple times during the transfer window, with deals for Aleksandar Mitrovic, Jean Michael-Seri, Alfie Mawson, Joe Bryan and Maxime Le Marchand, while several others like Andre Schurrle, Luciano Vietto, Callum Chambers, Sergio Rico and Timothy Fosu-Mensah came through the door on loan.
Well, the result was there for everybody to see, as Fulham went straight back down to the Championship following a dreadful run in the Premier League this past season which saw the Cottagers finish 19th on the table.
Despite boasting of one of the strongest squads outside the top-six in the entire division, Fulham managed only 7 victories over the course of the campaign and finished with a humiliating defensive record.
The sidelining of several of those who had played a key role in the promotion-winning campaign and the subsequent unplanned recruitment of stars from the foreign leagues proved to be the major reason behind Fulham’s decapitulation in the Premier League.
Slavisa Jokanovic, Claudio Ranieri and Scott Parker tried their level best to bring all the new signings together and assemble a functioning unit but they failed miserably.
Fulham hardly learnt from their mistakes in the summer and brought in a few more players during the January window, with the likes of Havard Nordveit, Ryan Babel and Lazar Markovic joining the crew of a ship that was more than half-sunk by that time.
Things hardly changed for them and Fulham’s 2018-19 debacle in the Premier League proved to be a classic example of what sort of an approach any promoted team should avoid in the transfer window.
Interestingly, it has been seen in the recent past that mass recruitment can actually pay the dividends if things are planned correctly.
It is true that there is no guaranteed recipe for success as far as the promoted teams are concerned, with some opting to show confidence in the bunch that get them promoted, while others choose to bring in radical reinforcements in order to enhance their chances of survival.
As unforgiving as the Premier League can be for the newcomers sometimes, it is important for all teams to establish the right kind of balance between investing in fresh faces and getting the best out of the existing ones, something that Fulham failed to do.
Let us take a look back at some of the instances in the recent past when promoted teams chose to splash the cash heavily and their corresponding consequences.
1. Huddersfield Town (2017-18)
David Wagner guided Huddersfield Town to the Premier League via the playoffs at the end of the 2016-17 season and the Terriers brought in as many as 13 new players in the summer prior to the start of the 2017-18 Premier League campaign.
The spending spree included deals for the likes of Aaron Mooy from Man City and Steve Mounie from Montpellier, while Laurent Depoitre, Elias Kachunga, Mathias Jorgensen, Tom Ince, Scott Malone and Abdelhamid Sabiri arrived too.
Florent Hadergjonaj, Jonas Lossl and Kasey Palmer arrived on loan deals to add extra depth and quality to the squad.
Huddersfield’s ploy of mass recruitment paid immediate dividends in their quest for survival as the Terriers racked up back-to-back victories against Newcastle United and Crystal Palace in their first two games.
Despite suffering a dip in form towards the end of the year, the Terriers strung together victories against West Brom and Brighton, whilst also completing a giant-killing feat against Manchester United.
In January, they once again dipped into the transfer window to bring in Alex Pritchard and Terrence Kongolo, as three wins since the turn of the year proved enough to steer the club to safety.
Truth be told, manager David Wagner played a key role in preserving the club’s top-flight status and the German-American’s feat of rare charisma and brilliance earned him plaudits.
2. Watford (2015-16)
Watford’s impatience with managers is well-known and it was once again evident from the way they went about things in the Championship in the 2014-15 season.
A combined effort from four different managers Beppe Sannino, Oscar Garcia, Billy McKinlay and Slavisa Jokanovic, coupled with Odion Ighalo’s heroics in front of goal propelled the Hornets to automatic promotion.
Owner Gino Pozzo and the hierarchy showed little confidence in the existing players and the club opted for a massive overhaul of the squad, although most of the players came either came in on free transfers or for thrifty figures.
Watford’s summer business included the acquisition of Juanfran from Real Betis, Jose Holebas from Roma, Etienne Capoue from Spurs, Steven Berghuis from AZ Alkmaar, Valon Behrami, Adlene Guedioura, Adalberto Penaranda, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan Nyom, while others like Miguel Britos and Sebastien Prodl arrived for free.
Nathan Ake and Victor Ibarbo, as well as Italian international Alessandro Diamanti, came through the door at Vicarage Road on season-long loan deals. Quique Flores was entrusted with the job of assembling a rather new-looking Watford side and he didn’t disappoint.
Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney’s strong performances ensured that Watford didn’t face a relegation scare, with the Hornets racking up as many as 8 wins and 5 draws before the end of the year to virtually guarantee survival.
Despite a late slump in form, Watford cruised to a mid-table 13th-place finish and proved that mass recruitment with a measured approach can actually produce positive returns.
3. Bournemouth (2015-16)
Bournemouth’s blistering run of form in the 2014-15 season of the Championship saw them finish as the undisputed winners and the Cherries secured promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history, thus marking the beginning of an unprecedented rise in English football.
Callum Wilson’s 20-goal season was one of the main reasons behind their success but Eddie Howe chose to bring in reinforcements in a bid to preserve the club’s newly-acquired top-flight status.
A summer of heavy spending that marked the arrival of signings like Tyrone Mings and Max-Alain Gradel, while others like Joshua King, Lee Tomlin and Glen Murray came in for thrifty amounts.
Artur Boruc and Sylvain Distin were brought in on free transfers to add experience to the ranks, while the likes of Christian Atsu, Filippo Costa, Joe Bennett and Tomas Andrade made their way to the Vitality Stadium on loan deals.
The decision to bring in too many new players seemed to backfire as the Cherries only managed two victories until the end of November.
However, a remarkable upturn of form in December inspired the team to victories against Man United, Chelsea and West Brom before they spent big once again in January to bring in the likes of Benik Afobe and Lewis Grabban from Wolves and Norwich respectively.
In the end, Bournemouth huffed and puffed to a 16th-place finish as Howe somehow managed to steer the club to safety and in the process, laying down a solid platform from where they could carve out a reputation for themselves in the Premier League.
4. Middlesbrough (2016-17)
Middlesbrough secured promotion to the Premier League for the first time since their relegation back in 2008-09 but their stay in the top-flight proved to be nothing more than a passing shower, as their transfer policy of signing established and successful players failed to pay the dividends.
The likes of Gaston Ramirez, Victor Valdes, Brad Guzan and Bernardo Espinosa were brought in on free transfers to add experience to the ranks, while Marten de Roon and Adama Traore were regarded as exciting additions to the squad.
Others like Alvaro Negredo and Calum Chambers arrived at Teesside as loanees, with the former going on to top the scoring charts with 10 goals in the Premier League.
Manager Aitor Karanka further invested heavily in January to bring in Patrick Bamford and Rudy Gestede in a bid to bolster his misfiring forward line but that didn’t yield positive results either and Boro finished 19th in the standings with just 5 wins over the course of the campaign.
In the end, Boro bowed out of the Premier League after scoring just 27 goals, leaving many to wonder as to why the club spent so much money to bring in so many attackers.
5. Queens Park Rangers (2012-13)
QPR’s approach in the transfer window upon securing promotion to the Premier League evoked plenty of criticism from the pundits, as the club simply appeared to recruit ageing stars solely based on their past reputation and records.
They signed as many as 18 new players over the course of the campaign, with several high-profile players like Julio Cesar, Andy Johnson, Park Ji-Sung, Jose Bosingwa, Esteban Granero, Loic Remy, Stephane Mbia, Christopher Samba, Jermaine Jenas, Andros Townsend and Robert Green coming through the doors at Loftus Road.
Such a policy was always going to be risky given that most of the players were simply past their prime, while others lacked the quality to make a significant impact.
Harry Redknapp and then Mark Hughes tried to pull the group of ageing legs to safety but they were never going to get anywhere close to ensuring survival as QPR went straight back to the second-tier after finishing at the bottom of the standings.
It was an eye-opener for the other promoted teams and a reminder that bringing in experienced players solely based on reputation can never guarantee success.
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