Bristol City claimed their first win of the season on Tuesday night as they beat Reading 3-2 at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.
That victory relieves some of the pressure on Nigel Pearson after a difficult start to the season, with late and sloppy goals ruining results against Blackpool, Forest Green Rovers, and Middlesbrough.
It means that three games into the 2021/22 Championship season, City sit 11th in the table – just three points off league leaders West Bromwich Albion.
There’s a long, long way to go but ahead of Friday’s game against Swansea City, we’ve outlined three things we’ve clearly learnt about Pearson’s Robins so far…
Set pieces are likely to be key
City’s toothlessness last season was an issue that simply had to be solved heading into 2021/22 and with seven goals in four games, you’d have to say there are positive signs about how they may fare in the final third this season.
A key part of that has been how effective the Robins have been from set pieces this term.
Three of the Robins’ five Championship goals have come from set pieces, with Matty James’ delivery from dead-ball situations and Tomas Kalas’ long throws proving particularly dangerous.
If the first few weeks of the season are anything to go by, it looks likely to be an area that will be key for Pearson’s side this season.
They’ve got a clear system but they’re not the finished article
The first four games of the campaign have suggested that the City boss has identified a clear system for his side to play and is keen to stick with it.
In all four games, the Robins have lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation and rarely if ever have they moved away from that – except in the closing stages when chasing a game or trying to protect a lead.
Pearson’s side may have a definite system but it’s clear they’re not yet the finished article.
They still don’t seem confident closing out games and there is a lack of familiarity between players that often hands opportunities to opposing teams.
Those are issues that the Ashton Gate faithful will hope to see ironed out as the season wears on.
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The young players will be given a chance
One thing that will surely have pleased the Robins fanbase so far this term is the faith that has been put in young players.
Alex Scott, Cam Pring, Saikou Janneh, Sam Bell, and Han-Noah Massengo have all been given chances to impress and for the most part they have.
Scott has been the standout performer so far, with the 17-year-old starting all three of City’s Championship games in the number 10 role and not looking out of place at all.
Perhaps the club’s most exciting young talent, Antoine Semenyo, is still yet to return and there are other academy products in the squad that you feel we can expect to see over the next few weeks and months.
There is a clear pathway for young players at Ashton Gate at the moment and that is something to celebrate.