Championship matchweek seven: Five things we learned
Matchweek seven of the Championship provided another round of goal gluts and close clashes that hint how the rest of the season still ahead may shape up. So, what five things did we learn from these fascinating fixtures in England’s highly competitive second-tier?
Charlie Austin is treading water
Striking for the sixth time in seven matches, QPR frontman Austin has more than made his case to those Premier League teams (here’s looking at you Aston Villa and Newcastle United) that dithered and procrastinated over taking a punt on the Hoops hitman, before opting against it.
Coincidentally those clubs are now struggling for goals and to finish off games, while Austin’s loyalty to the Londoners has seen a lethal return yet again, with Hull City, who famously passed upon the chance to capture the attacker, aptly his latest victims.
Austin’s headed opener away at the KC Stadium ultimately pinched a point as QPR drew 1-1 with fellow promotion hopefuls Hull, but the Englishman has already proven himself at this level and continues to leave critics red-faced. “He looked like a Premier League striker with his workrate and involvement in some of our link play,” said Hoops boss Chris Ramsey. Quite right.
Rhodes brace brings Blackburn reprieve
Blackburn Rovers marksman Jordan Rhodes’ recent return to form finally paid dividends for the Lancashire club, as a first win of the season, an emphatic 3-0 result against Charlton Athletic, saw the stugglers crucially claw their way out of the relegation zone.
Now one point above the bottom three, Rovers will be hoping Rhodes, who has four in his last three, can continue to be potent on the road with two tough tussles up ahead against Hull and Ipswich Town.
“We know that if we create the chances, we’ve got the best finisher in the league,” said Blackburn boss Gary Bowyer after the game. Now is the time for Rhodes to prove it.
Charlie Taylor’s light shines bright for inconsistent climbers Leeds
Apparently coveted by a number of Premier League clubs, the sinister shadow of Manchester United was nowhere to be seen as homegrown Leeds United left back Taylor added to his growing reputation with a winning goal against MK Dons.
Following a frustrating midweek which saw the Elland Road outfit throw away points against Ipswich Town, the inconsistent Yorkshire side climbed to within three points of third place Hull. Still finely tuning their team, Leeds, 13/2 with Coral to end in the Championship top six, may just surprise a few foes this season, as just one loss in eight so far could see them yet emerge as credible outsiders to trouble the chasing pack.
Reading ready to rumble
Reading’s remarkable and recent fine run continued, as prolific Nick Blackman and Garath McCleary sealed a 2-0 victory against joint bottom dwellers Bristol City.
Just two defeats in 10 across all competitions, and ll league goals from the past four fixtures, leave Steve Clarke’s side well positioned in a surprise sixth place, and having already equaled a quarter of their haul from last term, when they recklessly flirted with relegation. Quite the turnaround, though it is still early days.
Troubled Trotters ship four to increase relegation fears
Alarms should be ringing for Bolton Wanderers, whose blues continued as they languish in the bottom three, following a 4-1 thrashing by Huddersfield Town, despite the Trotters (2/1 to be relegated) having originally taken the lead.
The once Premier League regulars still boast just one win this season, as they yet again allowed a fellow team in poor form to steal a march. Now on nine points, this victory propelled Huddersfield up the table, with young Welsh wizard Emyr Huws, on loan from Wigan Athletic, showing Dragons coach Chris Coleman just how dangerous he can be with a brilliant brace and assist.