Peach’s Championship Round-up – GW 5

In the latest edition of his new series, Justin Peach of the Second Tier Podcast joins us to pick out the three biggest talking points and the three star performers from the latest Championship gameweek...

Justin Peach

Yes Preston. I see you in those sparkly white clean briefs of yours.

Over 450 minutes without conceding a goal is an impressive feat and Ryan Lowe’s side are sitting pretty in ninth spot.

Away from the Lilywhites though, it’s been another exciting weekend of Championship action – although I’m obligated to say this every week – with plenty of talking points.

A six and seven goal thriller at this stage of the season though should actually be applauded, along with two Goal of the Season contenders from a certain Sheffield United youngster…

Here, I’ll take you through a round-up of the key things you may have missed as well as the performers who stood out to me over the latest gameweek.

So, what happened?

Preston keeping it clean

Sam Allardyce, Tony Pulis, Joe Kinnear. These defensive wannabes couldn’t even set these records.

Preston’s recorded their fifth consecutive clean sheet of the season in their 0-0 draw with Watford, which means they’re treading on ground that no other team or manager has done in the history of Championship football.

Whilst they’ve scored just the one goal (Brad Van-Pottsan anyone?*), they have actually been creating enough chances to win games.

Yes, that’s not how football works but it highlights more the quality they need to bring to the club in the forward areas.

However, they created as many chances as they conceded against Watford with another promising performance which will leave many North End fans excited for when they do start scoring.

(*the sub-editor of this article does not approve of Justin Peach’s poor puns.)

West Brom find their shooting boots

There was a worry that the Baggies were carrying on their chronic underperformance last season in front of goal.

Based purely on their xG alone, they should have been in the top six and that underperformance cost Valerien Ismael his job.

The same had been happening this season with chances galore going begging until this emphatic win over Hull.

Ironically, five goals probably flattered Steve Bruce’s side but the creative aspect was still prevalent and with Jed Wallace, John Swift and Grady Diangana in top form, there will be no shortage of supply.

With two defenders on the scoresheet and an own goal against Hull, there are still obvious improvements but this victory was a significant step forward.

Royals rise up

Reading have started the season in steady form and currently sit third after five games, which is all the more impressive after everyone tipped them for relegation.

Now, we’re still early on in the season so that previous paragraph can be taken with a pinch of salt but you do have to admire how this side has bounced back from an absolute horror show against Rotherham.

Two wins, two clean sheets and four goals isn’t bad for a team restricted in terms of their recruitment.

The Royals were the better side against Boro and fully deserved their three points with a performance that will make many stand up and take more seriously as the season progresses.

After that round-up, here are the three performers that caught my eye this weekend…

Iliman Ndiaye

Just wow. Ndiaye is one of the most exciting prospects coming from the Championship in recent years and his second goal against Rovers showcased that.

The dribble, the curved finish. Chef’s kisses all round.

Sheffield United were cruising to a win by the time the Senegal international came into the fray but he took them out of fourth gear, into third and put their foot down and Blackburn just could not keep up.

It took barely any time to settle into the game and the system deployed by Heckingbottom suits him so well.

He can play alongside or just off a forward and has shown he can link up with just about anyone – for which not many will be able to do in this league, young or old.

A return of three goals from the opening five games this season provides even more reassurance that Ndiaye can pick up the mantle from the Blades’ star of last term, Morgan Gibbs-White.

Daniel Bachmann

Bachmann has been key to Watford this season and has arguably been their best player so far this season.

The number of key saves he’s needed to make does raise alarm bells but it shows that it’s a position that does not need strengthening.

The Austrian made four key saves against Preston to take a clean sheet back down south to Watford.

Bachmann has been ever present so far for the Hornets and has a 90.9% save percentage according to FB.Ref, just behind Freddie Woodman of Preston in the league standings.

If he keeps this form up, he will be the best goalkeeper in the division by a country mile this season.

Tommy Conway

Excitement has been brewing all summer at Ashton Gate with Conway slowly breaking into the first team.

He’s added energy and an additional goal threat on top of what is already an impressive attack.

Better yet, his link up play with his peers shows intelligence way beyond the youngster’s years.

His performance against Cardiff highlighted a number of those qualities. His goal was an excellent near post run with a deft flicked header beating Ryan Alsop in the Cardiff goal.

His energy was important as well as he recovered the ball five times, being an important cog as Bristol City looked to counter against a possession-based Cardiff team.

Conway will go through the motions this season, but to produce that level of performance in a derby match live on Sky shows ability and confidence needed to thrive at this level.

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