The fourth set of fixtures in the Sky Bet Championship took place over the weekend and if one word could sum it up perfectly, it would be goals. Six games featured three or more goals with at least one goal in every match played. But how does this effect our Power Rankings?
Number 10- Bournemouth- last week: 7 Change – 3
When Bournemouth travelled to Blackburn who were unbeaten in 14 league games until last Tuesday, everyone expected a goal fest. Not many people expected Rovers to be leading by three goals going into the break. We will talk more about the strengths of Blackburn later but the reason Bournemouth are still scraping inside our top 10 is for their first half performance. The team looked confident and arguably in control until the collapse defensively begun. Three goals in such a short space of time is just demoralising. It took until the 80th minute for the pressing Cherries to get a goal back with another controversial penalty followed by Cook’s goal in the 90th minute. Blackburn were pushed to their very limit today, and if Bournemouth hadn’t choked after the first goal has gone in, this game could have been completely different. A lot of work needs to be done, but it’s not all bad news for Bournemouth.
Number 9- Brighton- last week- N/A Change N/A
It was a home debut to remember for Joao Teixeira as he scored the winner against Bolton in the 64th minute. The Gulls initially went 1-0 down but an equaliser from Mackail-Smith gave the team a much needed boost before half time. Brighton are now on a two game win streak and look to make it a perfect three this weekend. Manager Hyypia was singing the praises of the Portugal striker who has now scored twice in two games to help his team to 13th in the table. It hasn’t been the most dominating form of all time, but it’s solid and that’s what this league requires.
Number 8- Charlton – last week- 2 Change -6
Charlton extended their unbeaten Championship start to four matches with what could be considered a lucky draw against Huddersfield Town. Igor Vetokele netted his third goal in three games as late as the 95th minute. It seemed to be a controlling affair for the home side however, with Peeter’s men unable to convert or even create chances. Huddersfield player Wallace saw red quite literally as he was sent off on the edge of half time. Winds of change? Not quite. The second half begun the same way the first ended with Huddersfield controlling the pace. An early goal gave them the lead and Charlton struck lucky with just a few seconds to go. The Addicks remain unbeaten, but this was a game they simply should have won.
Number 7- Sheffield Wednesday- last week- 6 Change -1
The blues extend their streak of unbeaten games with a narrow win at the Riverside Stadium. Sheffield struggle greatly to kick the gears into motion last year so to see them with two wins out of four is a great sign of progress. Morale will be sky high after Nuhiu scored a brace with Steve May also getting on the scoresheet. The team even hit the post a few times and overall it was an impressive display of Football. Defensively they seemed a little strong but giving away two penalties is not a positive that they can take away. Boro were actually among the pre-season favourites but have two wins and two losses so far this season. Sheffield took full advantage of their inconsistencies and claimed an emphatic victory. Mistakes like the sloppy tackles can be corrected and their overall form is pleasing.
Number 6- Wolves- last week- N/A Change N/A
Cardiff’s impressive run of form came to an end on their visit to Wolverhampton on Saturday when an own goal from Cardiff player Mark Hudson in stoppage time gave Wolves all three points. In the first half, Wolves were playing very attacking football and perhaps caught Solskjaer’s men off guard. It could be argued that the team were made to rue missed chances and were evidently frustrated. They didn’t give up and although Cardiff fought back extremely hard, the perseverance of Wolves could not be ignored and they deserved to snatch all three points.
Number 5- Blackburn- last week N/A Change N/A
With speculation growing over the future of Jordan Rhodes, he may have made Blackburn want to keep him more than ever after scoring on his 100th showing for the club. It was his 54th girl after just 13 minutes of play against high flyers Bournemouth. Grant Hanley and Rudy Gestede added to the tally to give Rovers a dominating 3-0 lead before the break. It wasn’t all Blackburn however
until the first goal went in, and the team looked on edge. But once the first strike flew past Camp, it was a very different story. Having lost only one game out of four, Blackburn look to continue their run of consistency despite ending their very impressive streak on Tuesday. They responded with a marvelous display of Football and determination.
Number 4- Norwich- last week 4 Change +/0
Last weeks number six become this weeks number four after a very narrow win at Ipswich. What can only be described as pure dominance from Ipswich Town was simply not enough to beat John Ruddy and handing the first win in the East Anglian derby for Norwich in a very long time. Lewis Grabban has already made quite a name for himself at Carrow Road and he continues to win fans over left right and centre with yet another brilliant game and yet another goal. Norwich sit third in the league with three wins in a row and would sit higher had they performed in the second half like they did in the first. A small win with big consequences as this one means so so much to the fans.
Number 3- Derby- Last week 10 Change +7
Fulham’s season is seeming to go from bad to worse as Derby went in all guns blazing on Saturday, slamming home five goals past Joronen. Derby had to rebound from their lost last time around and they did so in excellent fashion. Dominant in all areas of the game, their defending was top drawer as was their work in the midfield led by youngster Will Hughes. A brace from Martin saw Derby ease to victory and silence their critics. They will be hoping to take this sensational form to the unbeaten Addicks in the Capital One Cup.
Number 2- Watford – last week 8 Change +6
Another team who have been needing a bounce back have been Watford. A win last weekend was nice but it was by no means comfortable and the team knew that. However, a whopping four goals were pushed past the Leeds United keeper and with a brace from Forestieri, Watford looked the best they have for a long time. Two red cards definitely handed the advantage to the Hornets, but they capitalised on it extremely well. The nail in the coffin came in stoppage time when Tozser sent in a gorgeous free-kick from 30 yards, just moments before the dismissal of Sam Byram. A big win for Watford, as Leeds still struggle.
Number 1- Nottingham Forest- last week 1 Change +/0
Our second team to lead the Power Rankings for more than a week, there was no more deserving team than Nottingham Forest. Michail Antonio good form continues as he scored twice against his former side as Nottingham Forest moved to the top of the Championship following his goal in each half. The result here however, is not the most impressive thing. This is a very young, very attacking and very very new Forest side. There have been numerous new signings with a starting eleven at the start of the year consisting of mainly the summer transfers. The players have settled down faster than a new Kitten in a loving home and have already made their footballing intentions clear. They want top tier football. We mentioned last week about how it did indeed seem a little shaky, they seem to once again have responded beautifully to the critics by delivering a top drawer performance. Three wins out of four and only one of four teams who remain unbeaten as we go into the fifth weekend of games? Can anyone stop this fresh forest team flourishing?