What can be learnt from matchday 11 of Championship action?
Brentford are showing real promise
The Bees moved into the top 10 with a 3-1 victory over Reading, sitting just two points off the play-off places. Despite suffering when facing the top teams in the division - with losses to Norwich, Middlesbrough and Watford - the former League One side are seeing off the weaker teams with ease, and giving themselves a perfect platform to mount a real fight for promotion. They play quick, highly attacking football, and with Tottenham loanee Alex Pritchard, as well as former Celta de Vigo winger Jota, they possess two of the most promising attacking talents in the division. It remains to be seen if they can build upon their positive start to fight for promotion, but they certainly have no fears of relegation with the performances they have been putting in.
Leeds United are dominating games again
It has been a tough start for Darko Milanic’s career in England, with two draws and one loss from his first three games in charge. The change in management from Neil Redfearn has not gone as smoothly as expected, and Milanic will be looking to use the upcoming international break as a way to truly get his grasp on the first-team squad. Despite the less than impressive results, the football being played has taken an upturn, with Saturday’s game at Elland Road showing all signs of promise. The 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday saw the Whites dominate the play, and they were unlucky to come away with just a single point. The two-week absence of league football has come at a perfect time for the club, and, courtesy of other results, the Whites still sit just four points outside of the play-off places.
Blackpool deserved their first win
Jose Riga finally oversaw a first league win of the season for Blackpool, with the 1-0 home victory over Cardiff applauded at the final whistle. A perfect rearguard performance, after taking the lead early in the second half, the Seasiders defended with keen intent, although they were unfortunate to not add a second strike to their tally in the final minutes. Despite deserving the result, the performance offers little in the way of promise for the remainder of the season, with a more attacking style required if they intend to fight off relegation - although their day of glory should not be taken away from the Tangerines.
Will a new manager be able to save Bolton?
Having dismissed Dougie Freedman, managerless Bolton went down to another defeat - a result that sent them bottom of the Championship table. A 2-1 loss to Bournemouth - who played over a half of football with just 10 men - showed little in the way of promise, and it appears unlikely that the Trotters’ fortunes will be changing any time soon. With the club looking to appoint a new manager in the impending international break, it is hard to see who would be willing to take the job - with relegation to League One looking increasingly likely.
No one is taking the initiative in the race for promotion
The weekend’s Championship action brought eight draws, resulting in eight of the top nine clubs picking up just one point. Middlesbrough were the only club in the play-off places to claim a victory this weekend, with their 2-0 victory over Fulham moving them to just one point off top spot. Three clubs lead the table, joint on 21 points, with just four points separating top club Norwich with 10th placed Brentford. With the abundance of draws in the upper reaches of the division, no club is forcing the issue and taking advantage, leaving the increasingly tough Championship race to itself. Heading into the October international break is when things start to change, and it remains to be seen whether the table stays as it is heading into the new year.