In a week where we saw Hull lose two inches from their goalposts and Andy Carroll single-handedly give West Brom three points at the weekend, there is inevitably plenty to unpack in the Championship.
Millwall have found consistency while Norwich and Sheffield United have to start riding the waves of poor form after they set the pace early.
That left the door open for Burnley who battered the Swans (I thought this was illegal) who were looking like promotion contenders themselves.
That’s only half of it as there is plenty to more to analyse, so let’s not waste any time shall we?
Luton get going
It seems the Hatters have found consistency and form at the right time after a bumpy start to the Championship season.
Now unbeaten in their last six, Nathan Jones’ side ran to an impressive 3-1 win over QPR who before the game on Saturday, had the best away record in the division.
But it didn’t matter as Luton pinned QPR back into their own defensive third for large portions of the game before showing their quality throughout the game.
The most impressive aspect of the game though? It has to be Jones’ ability to rotate his forwards.
Carlton Morris and Elijah Adebayo ran QPR into the ground before Cameron Jerome and Harry Cornick did much of the same and that ability to keep their press going will come in handy throughout the season.
Blackburn to lose in midweek?
Blackburn certainly deserve praise for their away win at Middlesbrough but the odds have swung heavily in the direction of a defeat in midweek against Sunderland.
Not only is Tony Mowbray returning to Ewood Park, but their inability to follow up a win with another three points or even a draw has meant their sequence of results since a mid-August defeat to Sheffield United reads as LWLWLWLWLW.
They found themselves fifth despite the obvious inconsistencies and it must be driving both supporters, management and players bonkers.
It could be even more frustrating for the Lancashire side because if they keep this form up, they would narrowly miss out on the top six based on the previous season’s points tallies.
Battle of Bramall Lane II
Scenes we don’t want to see but absolutely do.
By no means was this a “dirty” game of football like the original series back in 2002 against West Brom, but this amount of red cards in one game in the Championship is unprecedented.
The red cards of Marvin Ekpiteta and Dominic Thompson were your usual, run-of-the-mill second yellows. However, Thompson’s was somewhat embarrassing after petulantly kicking the ball at James McAtee.
That meant Blackpool were clinging on towards the end of the game with a 3-2 lead, before Ollie Norwood’s drilled volley equalised in the final minute of the game.
Then, chaos. Pure chaos.
Mass brawl, with Royal Rumble vibes that saw Wes Foderingham pinning Shayne Lavery to the ground before both received their post-whistle marching orders.
And the football was brilliant too.
Bacuna has been exceptional this season for Birmingham, and his ability on the ball and savviness in possession means he’s quite unique in John Eustace’s side.
Bacuna was a constant menace against Hull with his creativity despite playing out of position at right wing-back.
He gave Birmingham balance, width and steeliness allowing them to play out an almost perfect away performance.
He won 80% of his tackles, as well as maintaining a 94% passing accuracy meaning possession was barely wasted when he was on the ball.
To cap off his game, he scored one of the goals of the weekend giving Birmingham a two-goal cushion before seeing the game out with a clean sheet.
The win over Preston will hopefully be the catalyst for Tyrese Campbell returning to his best form.
He’s slowly been improving under Alex Neil with this performance against the Lilywhites his best for quite some time.
His partnership with Dwight Gayle looked promising and his ability to drop and show for the ball, whilst also running the channels gave Stoke plenty of options.
To cap off a brilliant performance, he took his goal brilliantly.
Recognising he couldn’t beat his man, he instead chose to place his shot into the far corner from almost a standing position.
Before his 90 minutes against Reading, Gardner-Hickman had played just 261 minutes of football this season for West Brom under Steve Bruce.
It’s left many scratching their heads as to why the youngster has been overlooked but he showed his quality throughout the 2-0 win over the Royals.
Firstly, his cross-field switch the Matt Phillips for the first goal was exquisite and pinpoint, allowing the Scottish international to grab the first.
Then, he created the second goal himself, pressing the experienced Jeff Hendrick into a mistake before rifling the ball home from 25 yards.
Those two moments of quality aside, Gardner-Hickman was near-perfect in the midfield, making nine tackles and four interceptions, turning possession over several times and starting attacks for his side.
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