2019-20 EFL Championship: 5 Talking Points from Round 5
The 2019-20 season of the EFL Championship is underway in full swing and Round 5 had plenty in store for all sets of fans, with the weekend ending in ecstasy for some sections and in agony for others.
There was hardly any shortage of thrills and spills, as yet another enthralling week of Championship football provided plenty of stellar individual performances, end-to-end encounters, upsets, heartbreaks and, of course, a whole lot of talking points for the media to dissect.
With that in mind, here are some key talking points from Round 5 of the EFL Championship.
1. Stoke City 0-3 Leeds United: Bamford continues to find the net as veteran Hernandez turns back the clock
Leeds United continued their merry way in the Championship, as Marcelo Bielsa’s side preserved their fairytale start to the campaign with another thumping 3-0 victory over Stoke City away from home.
The Yorkshire giants came into the game on the back of victories over Wigan Athletic and Brentford and the Whites stretched their winning run to three in a row, thus finishing Round 5 on top the Championship standings.
Goals from Stuart Dallas, Ezgjan Alioski and Patrick Bamford helped Leeds put a listless Stoke City unit to the sword but the real architect of the win, Pablo Hernandez, was unlucky not to have gotten his name on the scoresheet.
Hernandez’s incredible through ball found the run of Dallas, who made it 1-0 at the stroke of half-time before the Spaniard was once again involved in a slick exchange of passes with Bamford and Mateusz Klich for Alioski’s goal in the 50th minute.
The veteran was also the architect of Bamford’s goal and whilst the fans should be happy with the striker’s early-season blitz, Hernandez remains the club’s indispensable creative weapon in the attacking third.
2. Swansea City 3-0 Birmingham City: Borja Baston stars as Swans continue wonderful start to the campaign
Swansea City lost two of their most influential attackers from the previous campaign – Daniel James and Oliver Mcburnie, prior to the start of the season but that hasn’t stopped the Swans from grabbing the headlines with a stellar start to the Championship.
And Steve Cooper’s side registered their fourth victory of the season, driving 3-0 past a lacklustre Birmingham City at the Liberty Stadium, thanks to goals from Kyle Naughton, Bersant Celina and Borja Baston.
Baston’s second-half goal from the penalty spot took his tally for the season up to 5 goals, thus making him the outright top-scorer in the Championship thus far.
Cooper is also likely to be happy with the displays of Andre Ayew on the flanks, Mike van der Hoorn at the heart of the backline, as well as Matt Grimes, who was the key anchor and the heartbeat of the Swans’ midfield in that impressive win.
3. Charlton Athletic 1-0 Brentford: Gallagher grabs the headlines to preserve the Addicks’ unbeaten run
Charlton Athletic were under the cosh for long periods at home against a wasteful Brentford unit but Lee Bowyer’s side ultimately managed to come away with all three points, thus maintaining their fairytale start to the campaign.
The Addicks continued to fly the flag high for the newly-promoted outfits in the Championship, as Conor Gallagher’s 41st-minute strike propelled Charlton to their third victory of the season.
Despite lagging behind both in terms of possession, as well as the number of chances created, Charlton’s resilient and determined team performance helped them edge past the Bees by the thinnest of margins.
Gallagher, who is on loan from Chelsea, registered his third goal of the campaign, having already scored in the 3-1 victory over Stoke and the 2-2 draw against Barnsley, although he wasn’t the only impressive performer on the pitch for the Addicks on Saturday.
4. Fulham 1-2 Nottingham Forest: Grabban’s brace ends Cottagers’ three-game winning streak
Fulham were flying high after three consecutive victories over Blackburn Rovers, Huddersfield Town and Millwall but a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Nottingham Forest at home brought the Cottagers crashing down to earth.
Scott Parker’s men came into the game as the outright favourites following a 4-0 rout of Millwall in the mid-week fixture but Lewis Grabban’s opener four minutes into the game pushed them back.
Anthony Knockaert had a couple of attempts saved and Mitrovic fired his header over the bar from close range before Sammy Ameobi set up Grabban for his second of the game midway through the second half, with Mitrovic’s strike seven minutes from time proving to be just a consolation for the Cottagers.
5. Hull City 1-3 Bristol City: Afobe bags a brace as Robins make it three in a row
Bristol City raced to their third consecutive victory in the Championship by outclassing Hull City 3-1 away from home on Saturday to finish Round 5 placed 4th in the standings.
The Robins lost 3-1 to Leeds in their opening fixture but Lee Johnson’s side have made a strong statement with consecutive victories against QPR, Derby County and Hull City.
Jarrod Bowen’s solitary strike wasn’t enough for the Tigers as Benik Afobe’s brace and an own goal from Reece Burke fired Bristol City to yet another impressive triumph.
Johnson’s men fell agonisingly short of a playoff spot last term but given their impressive run of form early in the ongoing campaign, the fans at Ashton Gate have every reason to hope that their club can, indeed, go one step better this time and finally finish in the top-six.