What we learned from matchday five of the Championship
Before Championship football goes on a fortnight’s hiatus, Coral experts ask what we learned from the fifth games out of 46 matchdays? There are implications at both the top and bottom of one of the most absorbing divisions in the world already…
Tough times for Blackburn and Bolton
Go back a decade or so, and Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers were recording top six finishes in successive Premier League seasons. Their goalless draw at Ewood Park was bowling shoe ugly, with just one shot on target apiece.
Occupying two of the current bottom four spots in the Championship, Bolton are 15/8 second-favourites for relegation, and Neil Lennon is certainly finding the Trotters to be a much tougher gig than coaching Celtic. Blackburn, meanwhile, are 3/1 for the drop, but may just manage to keep hold of star striker Jordan Rhodes.
Scoring from set pieces on three successive Saturdays is definitely something of note from Clarets defender and Manchester United academy graduate Michael Keane. He grabbed the winner for the second week running for Sean Dyche’s side and from the same source – David Jones corners.
Having signed a new-look strikeforce in Jelle Vossen and Andre Gray, plus grabbing free agent Joey Barton to patrol midfield, 4/1 promotion chances Burnley are becoming increasingly reliant on centre back Keane, who is ironically only in the XI because former skipper Jason Shackell was sold to Derby County. It’s all turned out pretty well.
Clinical Leeds continue Derby dearth
Six games into striking out on his own into management, and Rams head coach Paul Clement is still waiting for a first win. Leeds United, 5/1 chances for a top six finish, had just two shots on target at Pride Park, but both efforts from Tom Adeyemi and Chris Wood emphatically ended up in the back of the net.
Could County be cursed? Expensive attacking additions Tom Ince and Andreas Weimann are yet to score since signing for the East Midlands outfit, and midfield anchorman George Thorne came off with a calf problem in their latest loss.
Dutch attacking midfielder Tjaronn Chery made it three goals and as many league wins in 10 days for the Loftus Road outfit, scoring the winner at Huddersfield Town to catapult Chris Ramsey’s Hoops into definite promotion contention after a shaky start.
At 9/2 to go up, that price looks terrific – especially if top scorer Charlie Austin stays in west London. It’s all the more remarkable how quickly they’ve gelled, as Ramsey has made a dozen first-team summer signings.
Brighton and Ipswich go Dutch
Ahead of the table-topping clash between Ipswich Town (a tasty 10/3 for promotion) and Brighton and Hove Albion (11/4 to finally get into the Premier League), both clubs signed diminutive and exciting wide talents from the Eredivisie.
Mick McCarthy’s capture of Australia international free agent Tommy Oar, formerly of Utrecht, looked good, yet the Seagulls not only outdid the Tractor Boys on the field with a 3-2 win at Portman Road but added Feyenoord flyer Elvis Manu. Watch this space, as both arrivals can make real respective impacts in Suffolk and on the south coast.