SkyBet Championship: Gameweek 4 Analysed

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With the 2015/16 Championship five games deep the start of the season has been as unpredictable as ever, with Brighton finishing the weekend as leaders following a five goal thriller on Saturday. Elsewhere only two teams managed to secure a win on their own patch whilst Friday’s game between Blackburn and Bolton was the only game not to see a goal this weekend. Filtering through all of the stats from the weekend I pick out the game, team performance and individual performances which impressed numerically.

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Gameweek 5 Results

Friday 28th August 2015

19:45 Blackburn 0-0 Bolton

Saturday 29th August 2015

12:05 Derby 1-2 Leeds / C.Martin (48) – T.Adeyemi (43), C.Wood (88)

15:00 Brentford 1-3 Reading / L.Vibe (67) – Orlando Sa (17), N.Blackman (32,90+9)

15:00 Bristol City 1-2 Burnley / J.Kodjia (90+5) – B.Mee (34), M.Keane (40)

15:00 Huddersfield 0-1 QPR / T.Chery (84)

15:00 Hull 2-0 Preston / A.Hernandez (37), C.Davies (82)

15:00 Ipswich 2-3 Brighton / F.Sears (54), D.McGoldrick (pen 65) – K.Lua Lua (10), T.Hemed (12,67)

15:00 Milton Keynes Dons 0-2 Birmingham / S.Gleeson (57), J.Maghoma (79)

15:00 Nottingham Forest 1-2 Cardiff City / M.Antonio (86) – K.Jones (23), J.Mason (49)

15:00 Rotherham 1-3 Fulham / J.Clarke-Harris (72) – B.Pringle (7), R.McCormack (pen 16), C.Wood (90+3)

15:00 Sheffield Wednesday 1-3 Middlesbrough / M.Matias (64) – A.Reach (42), D.Fabbrini (67), C.Stuani (86)

15:00 Wolves 2-1 Charlton / D.Edwards (65), A.Le Fondre (85) – J.Gudmundsson (55)

Game of the Week: Ipswich Town 2-3 Brighon & Hove Albion

Venue: Portman Road

Attendance: 21,034

Referee: Keith Hill

Man of the Match: Dale Stephens

It was a no brainer selecting the game of the weekend as this five goal thriller saw Brighton triumph to replace Ipswich Town at the top of the table. It was Brighton who struck first in this game when Kazenga Lua Lua was set free down the left hand side prompting an excellent low drive into the bottom right corner from a tricky angle, Brighton leading 1-0 after 9 minutes. It didn’t take them long to double their advantage either when Dale Stephens whipped in an ever so tempting free-kick which needed the faintest of touches from Tomer Hemed to put Brighton 2-0 up leaving Ipswich stunned with the game just 12 minutes old. Brighton were looking unplayable as they found their way through the Ipswich defence yet again, this time via Sam Baldock whose impeccable first touch could not be converted as he shot narrowly wide of the right hand post. Ipswich’s first chance came through a set-play straight off the training ground when a drag back and dummy combination found the feet of Freddie Sears who blasted his effort wide from the edge of the box. After the break Ipswich fans’ hope was almost obliterated completeley when Dale Stephens caused yet more trouble, carving out a chance on the edge of the Ipswich box before striking the upright, somewhat of a lifeline to Ipswich. A spell of much needed momentum found the home side after this and they were unlucky not to be awarded with a penalty when Lewis Dunk appeared to handle inside the Brighton box, only a corner awarded by referee Keith Hill. The resulting corner was eventually turned home by David McGoldrick, but much to his despair it was ruled out for an offside during the build-up. The Tractor Boys finally got their breakthrough in the 54th minute when Brett Pitman did brilliantly to hit the woodwork from a tight angle, allowing Freddie Sears to slot home the rebound and put his team back in contention at 1-2. In an immediate reply for Brighton, Hemed did well to get away from two defenders before striking the ball into the side netting, many Brighton fans thinking he had just extended their lead. Instead it was Ipswich fans with something to cheer about when Bruno rather recklessly bundled Ryan Fraser to the deck inside the box gifting a 65th minute penalty to the home side with which McGoldrick had no problems in slotting home to put Ipswich level at 2-2. This game was set to take another turn however, as Ipswich’s equaliser was scrubbed off just two minutes later when Hemed headed home a Lua Lua cross to crash Ipswich’s party and put Brighton into a 3-2 lead. Only Fraser came close to getting Ipswich level again with a half-chance from range, but he could only shoot wide as Brighton held on for an emphatic away win at Portman Road, a result which has recently been hard to come by. It comes as no surprise that Brighton out scored Ipswich in this game as they registered four times more key passes (16), resulting in over twice as many shots (21) as the home side. Their 20 interceptions also amounted to double that of Ipswich’s on the day whilst a 64% aerial success comfortably beats the home sides 36%, the areas where the game was won plain to see for all as Brighton claim top spot for now.

Ipswich Substitutions: 46′ ON Piotr Malarczyk – OFF Josh Emmanuel, 46′ ON David McGoldrick – OFF Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 68′ ON Giles Coke – OFF Cole Skuse.

Brighton Substitutions: 46′ ON Lewis Dunk – OFF Uwe Hunemeier, 78′ ON Bobby Zamora – OFF Tomer Hemed, 83′ ON Rohan Ince – OFF Sam Baldock.

Goalscorers: Freddie Sears (54), David McGoldrick (pen 65)Kazenga Lua Lua (10), Tomer Hemed (12,67)

Assists: n/a – Gaetan Bong (10), Dale Stephens (12)

Yellow Cards: Ainsley Maitland-Niles (11), Brett Pitman (62), Ryan Fraser (90+4), Jonas Knudsen (90+5) – Uwe Hunemeier (36), Gaetan Bong (45+1), Kazenga Lua Lua (90+4)

Player Ratings

IPSWICH: Dean Gerken 6.3, Josh Emmanuel 5.9, Luke Chambers 6.3, Tommy Smith 6.1, Jonas Knudsen 6.1, Ainsley Maitland-Niles 5.6, Cole Skuse 6.1, Jonathan Douglas 6.2, Ryan Fraser 6.4, Brett Pitman 6.5, Freddie Sears 7.5, David McGoldrick 6.8, Giles Coke 6.4, Piotr Malarczyk 6.7

BRIGHTON: David Stockdale 6, Bruno 6.7, Gordon Greer 6.6, Uwe Hunemeier 7.5, Gaetan Bong 7.6, Liam Rosenior 7.6, Beram Kayal 6.7, Dale Stephens 8.6, Kazenga Lua Lua 8.2, Tomer Hemed 8.3, Sam Baldock 7.1, Rohan Ince 6.3, Lewis Dunk 6.7, Bobby Zamora 6

Match Statistics

Ipswich vs Brighton stats IMAGE 1

Team Performance of the Week: Hull City

Hull had all the elements of a solid team performance in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Preston and were slightly unlucky not to have scored more on the day. In the early stages of the game it was Hull’s precision on the counter attack which caused Preston the most trouble as they came close through some great team build up on a couple of occasions early on. Despite this it was a rather fortunate opener for Hull via Abel Hernandez who didn’t know a great deal about his goal, rebounding in off the striker as a Preston man tried to hack clear. Hull were a threat following the 37th minute goal and created chances at a steady rate throughout the game, their 68% pass accuracy in the final third really keeping Preston on their toes defensively. Hull persisted but could not find a second goal, allowing Preston a window of opportunity to get level, but Hull were as clinical at the back as they were in creating chances completing 67% of tackles whilst also making 16 interceptions throughout the game. Hull enjoyed less possession of the ball than Preston (48%) but this didn’t seem to matter as they completed 77% of their passes and 74% of their dribbles making life for Preston very miserable when they weren’t in control of the ball. Although Hull won 33 aerial duels during the game, Preston had a clear cut chance to get level through an Alan Browne header which was turned over the bar late in the day much to the frustration of Simon Grayson and the travelling fans. This provoked a reaction from the home side who shortly after put the game to bed when Curtis Davies latched onto an 82nd minute corner to volley the ball home and his team into a 2-0 lead. All Hull had to do was see the game out from there which with an eventual average pass streak of 5 whilst only being dispossessed 9 times as a team proved to be an easy task as Preston failed to find a way through. Hull ran out 2-0 winners to secure 2nd spot in the table and the second highest average rating as a team in the 2015/16 season.

Goalscorers: Abel Hernandez (37), Curtis Davies (82)

Assists: Shaun Maloney (82)

Hull City Substitutions: 70ON Sone Aluko – OFF Abel Hernandez, 70 ON Shaun Maloney – OFF Mohamed Diame, 83′ ON Isaac Hayden – OFF Chuba Akpom

Hull City Player Ratings vs Preston

Allan McGregor – 7.5, Moses Odubajo – 7.1, Michael Dawson – 8, Curtis Davies – 8.7, Andrew Robertson – 7.4, Ahmed Elmohamady – 7.5, David Meyler – 7.4, Mohamed Diame – 7.5, Sam Clucas – 7.7, Abel Hernandez – 7.3, Chuba Akpom – 6.7, Shaun Maloney – 7.2, Sone Aluko – 6.5, Isaac Hayden – 6.6

Hull’s Top 3 Performers

Curtis Davies – 8.7: Davies continued his flying start to the season by picking up his third man-of-the-match performance in 5 games following yet another commanding performance from centre-back. Davies’ performance was built on doing the simple tasks efficiently completing 77% of his 35 passes including a 50% long ball accuracy, whilst all of his 51 touches were successful ones. Defensively, Davies made 1 tackle, 2 interceptions and 10 clearances whilst his aerial dominance was effervescent, winning 10 aerial duels. The English centre-back rounded off his performance by scoring Hull’s second of the game from a corner, blasting a well timed half-volley into the roof of Jordan Pickford’s net. Another clean sheet and solid performance for Curtis Davies and another spot in Championship team of the week with a match rating of 8.7.

Michael Dawson – 8: Playing as Curtis Davies’ defensive partner Dawson also had a notable performance from centre-back in which his team ran out with a clean-sheet. Similarly, Dawson also had a solid game in terms of doing the basics right completing 71% of his 41 passes which included 5 accurate long balls from the 11 attempted. The centre-back managed 56 touches of the ball in the game at a 100% touch success whilst failing to be dispossessed when in control of the ball. There are no surprises Preston failed to break through on the day when you look at Dawson’s defensive contibution of 2 tackles, 2 interceptions, 8 clearances and 1 blocked shot. When considering he also won 6 aerial duels the combined stats of Hull centre-back pairing on the day was certainly something to marvel at.

Sam Clucas – 7.7: It was by no means Clucas’ impressive passing game which earned him the 7.7 match rating achieved vs Preston as the wide man was a constant service throughout the 90 minutes. From his 58 passes attempted in the game Clucas had a highly impressive 86% completion rate which included 2 accurate long balls and 3 key passes. As a wide man you naturally come up against several one on one duels with the opposite full back but Clucas wasn’t dispossessed once in this game whilst having a 100% touch success from the 67 touches attempted. Their was an air of discipline about his performance as well, making 2 tackles and 1 interception for his team whilst also winning 4 aerial duels to help Hull come out as winners to nil. Although not in the limelight during this game Clucas’ performance certainly showcased his disciplinary and creative attributes.

Hull City stats vs Preston

Hull City stats vs Preston IMAGE 2

Top Individual Peformances of the Week

Goalkeeper – Andy Lonergan (Fulham)

Lonergan claims goalkeeper of the week in gameweek 5 thanks to his impressive performance between the sticks against Rotherham. The Fulham stopper made 6 saves including an excellent penalty save to limit Rotherham to just the one goal whilst also completing 100% of his catches successfully. Although Lonergan had little influence on events further up the pitch his 30 passes, 57 touches and 1 successful aerial duel were all contributions to Fulham’s 3-1 win and his man-of-the-match performance (8.5).

Lonergan stats IMAGE 3

Defender – Curtis Davies (Hull City)

It has already been mentioned in this article how influential Curtis Davies was in his teams result this week and running out as man-of-the-match for the third time this season just highlights how well he has taken the Championship in his stride. Following another commanding performance vs Preston Davies now boasts an average of 2.4 tackles, 3 interceptions and 7.6 successful aerial duels per game whilst averaging a 79% pass success for the current season. Although he just misses out on player of the week this time around his 8.7 match rating means he becomes the highest average rated player in the 2015/16 season thus far.

Davies stats IMAGE 4

Midfielder – Nick Blackman (Reading)

Blackman played a key role in ensuring Reading claimed their first win of the 2015/16 campaign by scoring 2 goals versus Brentford. In front of goal the Reading man was fairly clinical, racking up a 75% shot accuracy and a conversion rate of 50%. Although his goals came from a well struck free-kick and penalty he was unlucky not to score early on when denied by the woodwork. Finer details of his performance include 33 touches with which he won 3 fouls and completed 1 successful dribble whilst also managing 1 interception. Although playing as a wide man on the day Blackman acted as more of an end product, highlighted by his relatively few 16 passes despite 75% of them being accurate. All in all the 25 year old walked out as the deserved man-of-the-match vs Brentford whilst also claiming player of the week in the SkyBet Championship boasting a goal every 93 minutes this season, having contributed to 60% of Reading’s 2015/16 goal total.

Blackman stats IMAGE 5

Midfielder – Dale Stephens (Brighton)

Despite Nick Blackman being the pick of the midfielders this week it goes without saying that Dale Stephens’ performance (8.6) against Ipswich cannot be ignored. Stephens played a vital role in Brighton’s emphatic 2-3 win at Portman Road on Saturday which saw him claim an assist as well as hit the woodwork with an effort from the edge of the box. The central midfielder was in the faces of Brighton every way they turned as he delivered 5 key passes, 1 tackle and 3 interceptions whilst also winning 3 aerial duels. Stephens was very much the provider this weekend with 40 passes at a 71% completion rate, more impressively competing 6 of his 7 attempted crosses. A 100% touch success from 56 touches rounded off a strong performance in the middle of the park as Brighton claimed a rare 3 points from Portman Road to top the Championship.

Stephens stats IMAGE 6

Striker – Tomer Hemed (Brighton)

Like Dale Stephens, Tomer Hemed was an important player in Brighton’s triumph at Portman Road as the Israeli striker sunk 2 headers past Dean Gerken to secure 3 points for Brighton. Stastically Hemed had a reasonably strong game in front of goal as 66% of his shots found the target whilst 50% found the back of the net. In terms of his contribution in the build up phases he achieved an 82% pass success including 1 key pass whilst completing 2 dribbles and winning 2 fouls in his 40 touches. Hemed was replaced in the 78th minute but the damage had already been done as his 67th minute header put Brighton into a 3-2 lead with which they would finish the game. The Brighton front-man now boasting a goal every 0.6 games with a 3:3 headed goal ratio since joining the seaside club. Fancy Hemed to be top scorer this season? There are endless live football-betting opportunities at William Hill.

Hemed stats IMAGE 7

How It Stands…

league standings IMAGE 8

*match and player statistics were sourced from whoscored.com & skysports.com

*league standings were sourced from flashscores.co.uk