Peach’s Championship Round-up – GW 18

Trick rather than treat for Carrick. Ndiaye haunts Corberan in nightmare Baggies bow. Terriers dust off the cobwebs. And Benson avoids Burnley scare. Justin Peach dissects a spooky weekend from the Championship in his latest round-up...

Justin Peach

A weekend in the Championship without any red cards was exactly the comedown that we all needed after the three last week. 

But, that’s not to say it was any less pulsating either with wins for Norwich, Sheffield United and Blackburn making things extra spicy at the top.

Defeats for Coventry, Wigan and Middlesbrough also made the potential battle for relegation even more intriguing, whilst West Brom slipped to the foot of the table in Carlos Corberan’s Baggies bow.

Let’s not neglect the mid-tablers here either, because without you it would just be like MLS, and no one wants that, do they?

Anyway, enough chit chat. Here’s the latest round-up from the big talking points this weekend and a big focus on some exceptional youngsters making a name for themselves in the second tier…

Bumpy starts for the managerial new boys

It was a week that saw West Brom and Middlesbrough finally fill their managerial vacancies after several weeks of searching for the right appointments respectively.

Sadly though for Michael Carrick and Carlos Corberan, both newbies lost their opening games, highlighting just how much work they need to do.

For Corberan, defensively they were a mess in their 2-0 defeat to Sheffield United and quite frankly, nowhere near their level.

That of course is not the fault of Corberan, who has had less than a week with his new side.

However, time is not an ally for a team low on confidence who are seemingly destined for another relegation scrap.

For Michael Carrick, creatively Boro barely laid a glove on Preston after scoring their opener, which should raise some red flags.

The balance between continuity and change is a hard thing to master and it is something Carrick has to get right as soon as possible.

Preston didn’t have to play anywhere near their best, which will concern the former Manchester United coach.

There’s ability in both of these teams, with both clubs possessing two of the stronger squads in the division who should be a shoe-in for promotion pushes.

A relegation battle is too soon to tell but it’s an increasingly high-pressure and concerning time for both clubs.

Huddersfield accidentally win

It’s perhaps a touch disrespectful to label this as an accidental win as anyone associated with Huddersfield will take anything at this point.

And why not? When you’re down in the bottom three, you’re scrapping.

So when a deep, poorly executed cross from 40-odd yards from Yuta Nakayama wins you the game, you take it and run for the hills.

To credit the Terriers, they did limit a Millwall side – who entered the game on a four-match winning run – to half chances and only a solitary effort on target in a frustrating afternoon for Gary Rowett.

However, the concerning factor for manager Mark Fotheringham is the need to start creating chances.

Nakayama’s goal was the first in open play under Fotheringham, a stat that is both equally hilarious and terrifying.

Birmingham for a playoff push? 

There’s a reason why Birmingham fans have a spring in their step and that’s because their team is finally one they can be proud of.

For years, the club has had a squad of overpaid, below-average players with managers who are more interested in internal squabbles than coaching the team.

Their 2-0 win over QPR was a combination of hard work, intensity and quality – something that Birmingham supporters have craved for a while.

Now, the Blues do have a habit of making steady starts before crumbling shortly after Christmas which is why you can’t remove them from relegation talk just yet.

But, under John Eustace they have a manager capable of so much more than just mid-table obscurity.

And their midfield three of Hannibal Mejbri, Tahith Chong and Krystian Bielik could be up there as the best midfield in the division.

So, the second-half season collapses should be a distant memory and hopefully supporters can look up the table rather than down.

Star performers:

Aaron Ramsey

The 19-year-old Aston Villa loanee has perhaps gone under the radar this season, particularly because he hasn’t quite hit his groove.

However, his brace against Stoke should provide him with enough confidence to push on and make use of his time at Carrow Road.

He showed plenty of intuition and drive to get into the box and find the loose balls, something that youngsters take time to do.

Should he maintain this form, Norwich could well have an extra goal threat from midfield, something they have been crying out for all season.

Iliman Ndiaye

This kid is a joke, a cheat code.

Ndiaye looked a raw player that needed refining last season and my goodness has he been refined.

His performance against West Brom showcased exactly what he’s about. A goal and an assist matched a performance that blew the Baggies out of the water.

His turn for the Oli McBurnie goal was in particular, world-class.

He takes on two Baggies players out of the game before laying up the ball for McBurnie to finish into the far corner.

Nine goal contributions in 17 games for the youngster is an exceptional start to the season.

Manuel Benson

With Burnley not quite at their best and the game fizzling out against Reading, they needed an injection of quality.

A driven volley from 20 yards out and an outside-of-the-boot cross for the winner later, Burnley are top of the league.

Both moments were exquisite individual pieces of brilliance and only highlights the strength in depth available at Turf Moor.

But, maybe more importantly, it also underlines the potential this group of players have under the stewardship of Vinnie K.

Leave a comment

Follow JustinPeach27 on Twitter