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[Image] EFL Championship Team of the Week for gameweek 5 featuring Leeds and Swansea stars

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EFL Championship Team of the Week gameweek 5 

The EFL Championship is often regarded as arguably the most competitive second-tier league in the world and the 2018-19 season has lived up to the expectations thus far, with Round 5 of the competition producing some scintillating performances for the fans to savour and admire.

Well, if selecting the Team of the Week in the Premier League is a difficult job, naming an elite eleven in any given week in the Championship is more tedious given the larger number of teams in action and the diversity of the players in the division. 

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However, after thinking long and hard and carefully analysing the impact of each player in detail, we have put together the EFL Championship Team of the Week for gameweek 5, assembled in a 3-4-3 formation.

Championship Team of the Week

Sam Johnstone (GK)

The West Brom stopper dived brilliantly to his left to keep out Martyn Waghorn’s penalty in the 1-1 draw against Derby County. Also, Johnstone made several crucial stops from open play and commanded his box really well. 

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Mike van der Hoorn (CB)

The towering Dutchman barely put a foot wrong and starred in Swansea City’s 3-0 victory over Birmingham City at the Liberty Stadium, putting in a solid shift at the back whilst also chipping in with a crucial intervention in the build-up to Bersant Celina’s goal.

Michael Morrison (CB)

The former Birmingham City man provided a sense of calmness and composure to Reading’s backline, executing a number of blocks and headed clearances, whilst also scoring a header in the 2-0 triumph over Huddersfield Town. 

Sean Morrison (CB)

Cardiff City were held to a goalless draw by Blackburn and though the going was tough for the forwards, Morrison made some crucial interventions at the back to bag the man-of-the-match award. 

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Stuart Dallas (RWB)

Dallas scored the opener for Leeds United with a composed finish after making a terrific run to get on the end of a perfect through ball from Pablo Hernandez. Additionally, he did quite a decent job at the back as well. 

Ezgjan Alioski (LWB)

The Macedonian showed plenty of energy down the flanks and scored Leeds’ second goal just after the interval, arriving at the far post to put away Patrick Bamford’s cross.

Apart from that, he was a constant threat in the attacking third and called the goalkeeper into action on a number of occasions in the Whites’ 3-0 victory away at Stoke City. 

Daniel Johnson (CM)

The man from Preston certainly deserves a place in the elite eleven of the week after scoring twice in his team’s 2-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday at home.

Eberechi Eze (CM)

The exciting Nigerian attacking midfielder scored a precise free-kick and bagged the assist for Jordan Hugill’s goal in the second half, playing a key role in QPR’s 3-1 victory over Wigan Athletic at home. 

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Lewis Grabban (ST)

Grabban plundered two goals in Nottingham Forest’s 2-1 victory over Fulham and the centre-forward completely outfoxed the opposition’s defence with his intelligence and natural ability inside the box. 

Benik Afobe (RW)

The Stoke City loanee proved his worth with a couple of well-taken goals, including a first-half penalty, to propel the Robins to a 3-1 victory over Hull City away from home. The DR Congo international’s brace helped Lee Johnson’s side finish gameweek 5 placed 4th in the standings. 

Patrick Bamford (LW)

Bamford’s return to form has perhaps been one of the major positives from Leeds United’s stellar unbeaten start to the season and the former Chelsea man scored once and set up another in the 3-0 victory over Stoke City.

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Arsenal

3 Talking points from Watford 2-2 Arsenal ahead of PL gameweek 6

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3 Talking points from Watford 2-2 Arsenal ahead of gameweek 6

Arsenal and Watford played out arguably one of the most enthralling encounters in the Premier League so far this season, as the Hornets came back from two goals down to salvage a point at Vicarage Road in their first game following the return of Quique Sanchez Flores as the new manager. 

Arsenal had more of the possession in the first half and went into the interval with a two-goal advantage, thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brace.

Sead Kolasinac set up Aubameyang for the opener with a driving run while Mesut Ozil’s wonderful pick-out paved the way for Ainsley-Maitland Niles to assist the Gabonese for his second.

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However, Watford came out with more determination in the second half and took the game by the scruff of the neck. The Hornets completely dominated the proceedings, had more efforts on target and were by and large the better side by a long margin.

Gerard Deulofeu’s clever interception inside Arsenal’s penalty area allowed Tom Cleverly to pull one back in the 53rd minute before a mistimed challenge from David Luiz on Roberto Pereyra inside the box led to Pereyra’s equaliser from the penalty spot nine minutes from time. 

Watford had plenty of chances to wrap up a famous victory at home over the Gunners but Bernd Leno made some smart interventions to save the blushes for the Gunners, who have only themselves to blame for blowing away a golden chance to finish the week in the top 4.

Here are 3 talking points from Vicarage Road:

1. Playing out from the back

The new ruling in the Premier League, which allows players to be inside the box during goal-kick situations, certainly favours teams opting to play out from the back with short exchanges. And Arsenal, who pride themselves in using such tactics to good effect, were the architects of their own downfall on Sunday. 

Watford were very much alive to the Gunners’ tactics and when they tried to play the ball out from the back with short lateral passes. The Hornets adopted a high pressing style to disrupt their rhythm. 

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In the build-up to Watford’s first goal, Leno passed the ball to Sokratis, who apparently thought that passing it to a crowded Matteo Guendouzi was a good idea.

Deulofeu, who was just waiting for a sniff to win the ball back, put out his leg to intercept the ball inside the box and Cleverly made it 2-1 with a cool finish. 

That, however, wasn’t the only time when Arsenal were sloppy when playing out from the back. Guendouzi was robbed off the ball inside his own penalty area in the first half and had it not been for Leno’s fine reflex save, the Gunners would have got some serious stick from their own fans. 

Quite clearly, Arsenal were too slow while playing out from the back and Emery, who knows a lot about the implementation of such tactics, will be aware of the fact that he needs to put in a lot more work on the training ground to avoid such embarrassment in the future. 

2. Watford’s resurgence under Sanchez Flores

The 2-2 draw was probably a fair reflection of the balance of the game but Quique Sanchez Flores would know that his team was ever so close to registering its first victory of the Premier League this term. 

Having failed to win any of their league games since April last season, the Hornets looked short of confidence under Javi Gracia but the appointment of Sanchez Flores has come as a breath of fresh air amongst the players, who put in a lion-hearted performance and showed the audacity to take the game to Arsenal. 

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The writing seemed to be on the wall for the hosts when they went into the interval with a two-goal deficit but the way they fought back to salvage a draw speaks volumes of their character and resilience, highlighting the change in mentality that the new manager has already brought to his unit. 

Looking at the stats, Watford had as many as 31 attempts over the course of the ninety minutes on Saturday, 10 of which were on target, while Arsenal managed to get only 4 out of their 7 attempts on target.  

Furthermore, the Hornets finished the game with 53% possession, which is largely a result of their unrivalled dominance in the second half, while the work rate of the players and the ability to carve out chances on a regular basis were a few other hallmarks of their performance. 

Despite the impressive 2-2 draw, Watford stayed at the bottom of the Premier League table with just 2 points from their first 5 games but they certainly won’t be there for long if they continue their resurgence under Sanchez Flores.

3. Luiz a liability once again

Arsenal’s persistent woes at the back over the past 12 months have been one of the biggest talking points of Unai Emery’s reign at the Emirates and the club’s hasty decision to bring in an impetuous centre-back like David Luiz in the summer has already shown early signs of backfiring, with the Brazilian veteran conceding yet another penalty on Saturday. 

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Luiz was quite horrible with his decision-making and mentality at the back in the games against Liverpool and Spurs, and his clip on Pereyra just inside the box paved the way for the Hornets to equalise in the second half.

Looking back at how things shaped up over the ninety minutes, the very fact that Watford managed to register 31 attempts is a clear indication of the fact that the Gunners just didn’t do enough at the back to close down the attackers soon enough. 

In fact, they were lucky not to have conceded three or four goals, thanks to some goalkeeping heroics from Leno and some poor finishing from the home side.

If Luiz continues to let the team down on such a regular basis, Emery might have his work cut out in guiding the team to a top-four finish this season. 

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Derby County

[Image] Here’s the EFL Championship TOTW for gameweek 7 featuring Middlesbrough and Leeds stars

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2019-20 EFL Championship: Team of the Week Round 7 

Round 7 of the 2019-20 EFL Championship had everything in store for all sections of the fans to savour and admire, as the players returned to action following the end of the international break. 

There was hardly any shortage of twists, turns and talking points in Round 7. Leeds United reclaimed top spot in the standings, Swansea and Charlton Athletic lost their unbeaten status, Stoke City and Huddersfield Town continued their losing habits and West Brom remained the only unbeaten side in the division. 

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There were some fantastic individual performances too, and with that in mind, here’s the Team of the Week for Round 7 in a 4-3-3 formation.

Championship Team of the Week

Darren Randolph (GK)

The Irish shot-stopper made some crucial saves to propel Middlesbrough to a 1-0 victory over Reading at the Riverside Stadium and he definitely deserves a place in the elite elven.

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Scott Malone (LB)

Derby County remained in the bottom half with a 1-1 draw against Cardiff City but the left-back put in a much-improved performance as compared to his previous outings and scored the Rams’ only goal.

Maxime Colin (RB)

Birmingham City broke into the top-ten by ending Charlton’s unbeaten run with a 1-0 victory away from home, and the Frenchman was instrumental in the Blues’ win with his solid display at the back. 

Derrick Williams (CB)

The Irish centre-back was one of the standout performers, as Blackburn Rovers got themselves back to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Millwall.

Darragh Lenihan (CB)

One of the architects of Blackburn’s victory at the weekend, the Irish defender is one of the surprise inclusions in this week’s elite eleven. 

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Kalvin Phillips (CDM)

The central midfielder put up yet another dogged display in the midfield to guide Leeds United to a 2-0 victory over Barnsley, registering an assist with a free-kick for Nketiah’s goal. 

Eberechi Eze (RAM)

The Nigerian has really come of age for QPR this term and the attacking midfielder was once again one of the driving forces behind his team’s 3-2 victory over Luton Town, registering a goal and an assist in the process.

Mateusz Klich (LAM)

The Polish international once again proved his worth as one of Marcelo Bielsa’s trusted lieutenants in the middle of the park and secured a 2-0 victory for his team with a well-taken penalty towards the end of the game. 

Robert Glatzel (RW)

The towering German centre-forward equalised from the penalty spot for Cardiff City in the Bluebirds’ 1-1 draw against Derby County and finally registered his first goal of the EFL Championship.

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Harry Cornick (LW)

Luton lost a five-goal thriller at Loftus Road but Cornick impressed with a goal and an assist in what was a fine individual performance. 

Nakhi Wells (ST)

A proven source of goals in the EFL Championship, Wells bagged a brace in QPR’s 3-2 victory over Luton Town to hand Mark Warburton’s side a third consecutive victory in the league.

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Manchester United

[Image] Predicted 4-2-3-1 Man United XI to face FC Astana – can the Red Devils begin Europa League journey with a win?

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Manchester United vs FC Astana prediction: Manchester United line-up

Manchester United begin their Europa League campaign with a home encounter against Kazakhstan side FC Astana on Thursday.

While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have endured a mixed start to the Premier League season, they still sit fourth on the table with eight points from five games. The Red Devils narrowly defeated Leicester City at the weekend and Solskjaer will look to achieve some momentum now.

With a relatively thin squad this time around, the Norwegian tactician could use the Europa League by giving the academy stars a chance to impress. In fact, it is the perfect time for some of the Manchester United fringe players to make a lasting impact.

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Team News

Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba are unlikely to feature on Thursday but they’ll be ready for Sunday’s trip to West Ham. Diogo Dalot is a doubt but Solskjaer could have Jesse Lingard back for the FC Astana test.

Probable Manchester United XI

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Sergio Romero (GK)

Romero has often featured in this competition in the past and the experienced Argentinean could start between the sticks on Thursday.

Ashley Young (RB)

With Wan-Bissaka expected to be rested and Dalot still out, Young is likely to be deployed at right-back.

Axel Tuanzebe (CB)

Tuanzebe made his first appearance of the season coming off the bench against Leicester on Saturday. He should get his first start of the season against Astana.

Phil Jones (CB)

Partnering Tuanzebe at the heart of United’s defence could be Jones, whose experience will come handy in such a tricky game.

Marcos Rojo (LB)

With Shaw out injured, Solskjaer could hand Rojo his first start of the campaign at left-back.

Nemanja Matic (CM)

Matic may not have played much this season but he is likely to start this game and help United get a solid start in the Europa League.

Fred (CM)

Fred looked lively in his first appearance of the season against Leicester, impressing after coming off the bench. This could be the perfect opportunity for Fred to get some minutes under his belt and impress the manager.

Jesse Lingard (RW)

Lingard hasn’t been able to make much of an impact for the Red Devils this season. So, he’ll look to seize the chance on Thursday against FC Astana.

Tahith Chong (LW)

Chong was very impressive in his cameo against Leicester, adding plenty of pace, energy and dynamism to the attack. He is in line to start his first game for Manchester United.

Angel Gomes (CAM)

Gomes is a special talent, who could provide some much-needed creativity and spark to United’s attack. He has been knocking on the door for some time now and is likely to start in the no.10 role.

Read More Manchester United News, Click Here:- Latest Manchester United News

Mason Greenwood (ST)

Needless to say, Greenwood needs a run of games in the number 9 role. No starts have come his way yet, but the first could come on Thursday.

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