Given some were predicting a tough season for Bristol City before the 2021/22 campaign started, the fact they sit two points back from the top six in ninth as we head into the October international break has to be viewed as positive.
It’s not always been pretty and there have been a fair few frustrating moments but City look to be making progress, in what is Nigel Pearson’s first full season at the helm.
Pearson remains in search of a first win at Ashton Gate as Robins boss but his side have the best record away from home in the division after their 3-2 win against Peterborough United on Saturday.
The international break means City have to wait until the 16th of October for their next Championship match, so we’ve looked back at what we’ve seen so far this season to outline the club’s best starting XI…
Dan Bentley was linked with a move away ahead of the summer but has remained at the club and become more important than ever.
Bar one slip up, City’s new captain has been at his best in recent weeks and is keeping the talented Max O’Leary on the bench.
Left-back was a problem position last season and now the Robins are spoilt for choice but it’s Jay Dasilva that gets the nod.
The former Chelsea defender has quite reached top gear yet but he’s done enough to earn himself in his side.
Nathan Baker is unfortunate to miss out after some outstanding performances but summer signing Rob Atkinson and Tomas Kalas have both been hugely impressive and are building an exciting partnership.
On the right, George Tanner looks like the player that could finally solve the club’s right-back problem and a steal for a six-figure fee.
A 4-4-2 has often been preferred by Pearson this season but whatever the formation, Matty James has been ever-present in the centre of the park – adding the quality and leadership that was lacking there last term.
Next to him, Joe Williams beats out both Andy King and Tyreeq Bakinson to start. The 24-year-old has returned from injury recently and showed why Wigan fans were so frustrated to lose him last summer.
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Obviously, Han-Noah Massengo had to be involved and his selection on the right of a midfield four does illustrate City’s lack of wide options but we shouldn’t take anything away from the young Frenchman, who has been excellent in 2021/22.
Cam Pring gets the nod on the opposite flank having performed well when asked to fill in there by Pearson, with his pace and power causing issues for opposition defences.
Nahki Wells can count him unlucky to not have had more opportunities this season but Andi Weimann and Chris Martin are our starting forward duo.
The pair have bagged eight goals between them this term and though neither are prolific, their link-up play and quality out of possession have been important for City.