What better way to kick off the Championship season than with a three day weekend of football. Brighton and Nottingham Forest kicked off the campaign on Friday at the AMEX stadium which saw Brighton nick a 1-0 win thanks to a Kazenga Lua Lua drive into the bottom right corner. After an excitement packed Saturday and 26 goals later, Middlesbrough and Preston rounded off the first gameweek with a relatively low key 0-0 draw at Deepdale where Middlesbrough couldn’t even manage a shot on target, but as they say it’s a long old season and it’s finally back underway so lets take a look at the rest of the results and the top performers from the opening weekend.
Gameweek 1 Results
Friday 7th August
19:45 Brighton 1-0 Nottingham Forest / K.Lua Lua (50)
Saturday 8th August
12:00 Cardiff 1-1 Fulham / C.Noone (86) – M.Smith (47)
12:30 Leeds 1-1 Burnley / M.Antenucci (83) – S.Vokes (86)
15:00 Birmingham 2-1 Reading / D.Cotterill (40), J.Toral (47) – N.Blackman (58)
15:00 Blackburn 1-2 Wolves / C.Conway (29) – B.Afobe (39), D.Edwards (45)
15:00 Bolton 0-0 Derby County
15:00 *Brentford 2-2 Ipswich Town / A.Gray (92), J.Tarkowski (96) – K.Bru (45), R.Fraser (50)
15:00 *Charlton 2-0 Queens Park Rangers / T.Watt (52), M.Fox (72)
15:00 Hull 2-0 Huddersfield / S.Clucas (39), C.Akpom (71)
15:00 Rotherham 1-4 MK Dons / M.Derbyshire (13) – R.Hall (5), D.Collins O.G (28),
D.Bowditch (35), C.Baker (75)
15:00 Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 Bristol City / T.Lees (60), L.McGugan (71)
Sunday 9th August
12:00 Preston 0-0 Middlesbrough
*Game of the Week: Brentford 2-2 Ipswich Town
Venue: Griffin Park
Referee: David Coote
Man of the Match: James Tarkowski
The game of the weekend went to that between Brentford and Ipswich which ended dramatically in a 2-2 draw following 2 injury time goals by the home side. It was Ipswich who took the upper hand in this game just moments before the break when Josh Emmanuel collected the ball from Ryan Fraser’s attempt off the woodwork, with which he chipped into the box for Kevin Bru to guide home with an improvised scissor kick. Shortly after the break Freddie Sears was sent free down the right hand side which allowed him to bear down on the goalkeeper, drawing him off his line before an unselfish pass across goal allowed the waiting Ryan Fraser to tap home into an open net. The two goal deficit forced Bees boss Dijkhuizen into his first change of the game just 54 minutes in when Andre Gray replaced Konstantin Kerschbaumer in search of a goal. Despite Brentford controlling the game a goal still hadn’t come and the 72nd minute saw the introduction of new forward Lasse Vibe for one last push, with the formation also shifting to a 3-5-2 it looked like Dijkhuizen was going for broke. His boldness eventually paid off when a ball over the top from James Tarkowski found the run of Andre Gray who took it his stride before cooly slotting home to make it 2-1. A corner in the 96th minute bought even more good fortune for Dijkhuizen and the Brentford fans as a goal line scramble ended in a Tarkowski header finding the roof of the net and a point rescued out of nowhere, 2-2 the final score.
Brentford Substitutions: 54′ ON Andre Gray – OFF Konstantin Kerschbaumer, 72′ ON Lasse Vibe – OFF Alan McCormack.
Ipswich Substitutions: 69′ ON Giles Coke – OFF Kevin Bru, 78′ ON Jonathan Douglas – OFF Ryan Fraser, 82′ ON David McGoldrick – OFF Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Goalscorers: Kevin Bru (45), Ryan Fraser (50), Andre Gray (92), James Tarkowski (96)
Assists: Josh Emmanuel (45), Freddie Sears (50), James Tarkowski (92)
BRENTFORD: Button 7.5, Bidwell 7.1, Tarkowski 8.9, Dean 7.1, McCormack 6.3, Gogia 6.3, Kerschbaumer 5.9, Diagouraga 6.1, Jota 5.8, Judge 7.8, Hofmann 6.7, Gray 7.7, Vibe 6.4.
IPSWICH: Bialkowski 6.2, Knudsen 6.8, Smith 6.5, Chambers 5.9, Emmanuel 7.5, Fraser 8.3, Bru 8.2, Skuse 7.6, Maitland-Niles 7.1, Murphy 6.3, Sears 7.4, Coke 5.8, McGoldrick 5.7, Douglas 6.
*Team Performance of the Week: Charlton Athletic
Charlton Athletic got their 2015/16 campaign off to a dream start with a 2-0 home win over recently relegated side Queens Park Rangers in a game where Charlton defenders excelled. Playing in front of 19,469 fans who made the trip out to The Valley it took Charlton 51 minutes to take the lead through substitute Tony Watt who beat an unconvincing Rob Green at his near post. Charlton showed disciplined to ensure the likes of Charlie Austin didn’t get QPR back in the game and when man-of-the-match Morgan Fox drove the ball into the bottom right corner from outside the box it looked like Charlton fans were going home happy. The Addicks were unlucky not to bag a third when Johann Berg Gudmundsson struck the woodwork from a free-kick in the 84th minute, however Charlton eventually ran out 2-0 winners against a very capable QPR side.
Charlton Goalscorers: Tony Watt (51), Morgan Fox (71)
Charlton Assists: El-Hadji Ba (51), Tony Watt (71)
Man of the Match: Morgan Fox – 1 goal, 8.1 rating.
Charlton Athletic Player Ratings vs QPR
Nick Pope – 7.5, Chris Solly – 8.0, Alou Diarra – 7.1, Patrick Bauer – 8.1, Morgan Fox – 8.1, Jordan Cousins – 7.1, El-Hadji Ba – 7.5, Ahmed Kashi – 7.8, Johann Berg Gudmundsson – 7.3, Simon Makienok – 7.4, Karlen Ahearne-Grant – 6, Tony Watt – 7.6, Zakarya Bergdich – 6, Cristian Ceballos – 6.1
Charlton Athletic Top Performers
Ahmed Kashi – 7.8: Despite Morgan Fox being awarded man-of-the-match Charlton’s best performer for me was debutant Ahmed Kashi. The Algerian midfielder played the full 90 minutes in which his 59 touches were used to good effect by attempting 48 passes, 2 of them key passes whilst 3 were accurate long balls giving him an overall passing success rate of 88% for the day. Defensively Kashi offered 3 tackles, 1 interception, 3 clearances and 2 successful aerial duels all of which were done without giving away a foul. His performance showed quality and discipline to keep Tjaronn Chery and QPR at bay and for me was Charlton’s player of the match.
Tony Watt – 7.6: The 51st minute substitute came to Charlton’s rescue in this game as Watt scored and assisted during his 39 minute cameo. During his short appearance Watt managed 19 touches with which he produced 8 passes at a 75% success rate, 1 key pass, 2 successful dribbles, 1 assist and 1 goal. Regardless of what the statistics say however, Watt was a key factor in this Charlton win and will no doubt have earned a place in the eleven for next week.
Morgan Fox – 8.1 (MOTM): The games man-of-the-match had a sound game at left-back and his goal to seal off a 2-0 win was a very tidy strike from outside the box. Fox played a positive game when on the ball with 11 long balls attempted from his 40 passes at a success rate of 65%. In an attacking sense he produced 1 key pass and a 100% conversion rate, whilst defensively Fox made 5 tackles, 1 successful aerial duel and only conceded 1 foul to round off a solid performance.
Chris Solly – 8: The right full-back had a very impressive game defensively vs QPR in which he made 1 successful aerial duel, 8 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 clearance and 1 blocked shot, all of which without conceding a foul. His distribution of the ball was also a tidy show as he made 26 passes with 1 key pass and 100% long ball accuracy at a success rate of 85%. A very good performance indeed.
Patrick Bauer – 8.1: Patrick Bauer was part of a sterdy Charlton defence during this game and his individual contribution helped the cause considerably. The 6ft 4 German was unsurprisingly dominant in the air winning 6 aerial duels whilst also making 6 interceptions, 7 clearances and 1 tackle during his debut for the team. He also looked comfortable on the ball during his 55 touches which produced 39 passes at a success rate of 77%, whilst 2 of his 7 long ball attempts found the target. A confident debut from the 22 year old who looks to fit the Championship well.
Charlton Athletic Statistics vs QPR
Top 3 Individual Performances of the Week
1 – James Tarkowski (Brentford)
As mentioned previously, James Tarkowski played a vital role in Brentford’s late comeback to draw 2-2 with Ipswich Town as he assisted Andre Gray’s 92nd minute goal and scored the 96th minute equaliser to earn himself a rating of 8.9.
2 – George Thorne (Derby County)
In his first game back since last seasons injury crisis defensive midfielder George Thorne put in a solid man-of-the-match performance against Bolton this weekend in a 0-0 draw. Despite a lengthy spell of the sidelines Thorne offered a great service in front of his back four through his defensive and passing ability and although Derby only picked up a point, they could have easily been robbed of that. George Thorne however is off to a flyer and earned himself a rating of 8.5 for the game.
3 – Curtis Davies (Hull City)
The centre-back captained his team to their first win of the season in comfortable fashion as Hull City ran out 2-0 winners at home to Huddersfield. Davies had a solid game at the back and was efficient in everything he did, including keeping Nakhi Wells and Harry Bunn at bay who had little influence on the day. Davies read the game perfectly on the deck as well as in the air and achieved as deserved rating of 8.4 and man-of-the-match.
The Weekend In Numbers
1 – Only Jay Spearing saw red during the first round of fixtures.
2 – The opening weekend saw two bore draws.
4 – The number of games which ended with under 2.5 goals.
5 – The number of home wins as well as the number which ended all level.
7 – Seven headed goals were scored over the course of the weekend.
8 – The number of games which saw over 2.5 goals hit the back of the net.
18 – The number of assists provided during this weeks fixtures.
26 – The amount of goals scored during the Championship’s opening weekend
48 – Referees across the league dished out forty-eight yellows.
60 – From a possible sixty-six, sixty substitutes were called upon by their bosses.
9,860 – Lowest crowd attendance, Rotherham 1-4 MK Dons.
27, 672 – Highest crowd attendance of the weekend, Leeds 1-1 Burnley.
How It Stands…..
*player ratings and statistics sourced from whoscored.com
*league standings sourced from flashscores.co.uk