Heading into the second international break Brighton remain on top of the table as the Championship’s only unbeaten side in 2015/16, but 3 draws on the trot means the ground is closing behind them. At the bottom Bristol City sit in 24th spot through goal difference with all of 3 of League 1’s promoted teams finding life in England’s second tier more than difficult. We take a look at the weekend’s action, analysing the statistics to select game of the week and the stand out performances.
Gameweek 8 Results
Friday 2nd October 2015
19:45 Rotherham 1-2 Burnley / G.Ward (75) – A.Gray (9), S.Vokes (81)
Saturday 3rd October 2015
12:30 Wolves 3-0 Huddersfield / K.McDonald (23), B.Afobe (66, 88)
15:00 Blackburn 2-0 Ipswich / J.Rhodes (pen 12, 16)
15:00 Brighton 1-1 Cardiff City / D.Stephens (38) – J.Mason (5)
15:00 Bristol City 1-1 MK Dons / J.Kodjia (6) – D.Powell (90+4)
15:00 Derby 2-0 Brentford / C.Martin (20), T.Ince (44)
15:00 Leeds 0-2 Birmingham / D.Gray (31), J.Maghoma (90+1)
15:00 Nottingham 0-1 Hull / A.Hernandez (41)
15:00 QPR 4-3 Bolton / J.Emmanuel-Thomas (13, 90+4), L.Fer (44), T.Chery (62) – G.Madine (8), L.Feeney (11)
15:00 Reading 2-0 Middlesbrough / D.Williams (1), N.Blackman (pen 88)
15:00 Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 Preston / K.Lee (45+1), D.Pudil (55), L.McGugan (90+6) – A.Browne (76)
Sunday 4th October 2015
12:00 Charlton 2-2 Fulham / J.Jackson (81), J.Cousins (90+6) – R.Tunnicliffe (32), R.McCormack (59)
Game of the Week: QPR 4-3 Bolton
Venue: Loftus Road
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Man of the Match: Jay Emmanuel-Thomas
Loftus Road bared witness to a 7 goal thriller on Saturday which saw QPR run out with all 3 points thanks to a Jay Emmanuel-Thomas 94th minute winner and subsequent brace. QPR didn’t have it all their own way however as Bolton came flying out of the blocks and into the lead with their first real chance, Liam Feeney finding an unmarked Gary Madine inside the QPR box who neatly headed home. Bolton didn’t give QPR much time to respond either as 3 minutes later a long throw was pumped into the box, this time Liam Feenery pouncing on a parried Darren Pratley shot to bundle the ball home for 2-0. The fans inside Loftus Road were certainly getting their moneys worth as QPR took just 2 minutes to announce their arrival to this fixture, Tjaronn Chery picking up possession on the left hand side before finding Jay Emmanuel-Thomas who powerfully headed his side back into the game, 1-2. The next 30 minutes were somewhat quiet considering the electric start but QPR did find an equaliser before the break when Ben Amos failed to hold Leroy Fer’s header who had no problems in tapping home on the second attempt, the scoreline reading 2-2 at halftime. QPR were to start the second half as they finished the first by putting pressure on the Bolton goal and when the ball found Tjaronn Chery just outside the box in the 62nd minute QPR were to move into lead following a beautiful curling effort into the top right corner. Bolton did well to stay in the game following the goal and stats including 72% pass success, 75% tackle success and 54% aerial success all exceeded that of QPR’s and was causing problems for the hosts as they looked to extended their lead. When Ben Amos pulled off a top class save to deny Sandro’s drive Bolton’s impressive defensive display looked to have payed off, with Brazillian forward Wellington Silva cutting in on his right to slot home his first club goal and put the Trotters back on terms, 3-3. The away stand was bouncing as with 5 minutes left Bolton looked to have nabbed a point but Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was soon to crash the party when he shrugged off Dorian Dervite before expertly finishing into the bottom right corner from the edge of the box to seal a 94th minute win for the R’s. QPR appeared to take confidence in the cliché ‘if you don’t buy a ticket you won’t win the raffle’ against Bolton as their 18 shots to the away sides 11 proved to be the difference in running out with a winning margin of 1 goal. Regardless of the amount of shots they had however, QPR were far more accurate in front of goal boasting a 56% shot accuracy to Bolton’s measley 36% which meant the slightly inferior conversion rate need not have worried the R’s on the day. When looking at the stats from the game it could be argued that Bolton’s lack of urgency to get their shots away was their downfall come the full time whistle as they boasted more possession, a higher pass success and as aforementioned a slightly better conversion rate of 27%. That being said Bolton’s defensive display should get some recognition, especially the before mentioned 75% tackle success as well as their 25 interceptions which without could have seen QPR rack up far more than 10 shots on target on the day, so perhaps not all doom and gloom for Bolton, but a contribution to the frustrating start to the season nonetheless. Following their 4-3 win QPR move up to 11th spot and end a 4 game winless streak whilst on the other side of the result Bolton remain in the relegation zone with just 8 points and 1 win to their name this season.
QPR substiutions: 76′ ON Sandro – OFF Leroy Fer.
Bolton substitutions: 46′ ON David Wheater – OFF Francesco Pisano, 64′ ON Jay Spearing – OFF Darren Pratley, 80′ ON Wellington Silva – OFF Max Clayton.
Goalscorers: Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (13, 90+4), Leroy Fer (44), Tjaronn Chery (62) – Gary Madine (8), Liam Feeney (11), Wellington Silva (85)
Assists: Tjaronn Chery (13), Paul Konchesky (62), Gabriele Angella (90+4) – Liam Feeney (8), Dorian Dervite (85)
Yellow Cards: Tjaronn Chery (45+2), Daniel Tozser (56), Karl Henry (75)
QPR: Robert Green 6.1, Nedum Onuoha 6.6, Gabriele Angella 6.9, Grant Hall 5.8, Paul Konchesky 7, Karl Henry 6, Daniel Tozser 6.9, Matt Phillips 6.8, Leroy Fer 8.4, Tjaronn Chery 7.8, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas 9.6, Sandro 6.6
BOLTON: Ben Amos 6.8, Francesco Pisano 6, Prince 6.7, Dorian Dervite 7.6, Dean Moxey 6.6, Neil Danns 6, Mark Davies 6.5, Liam Feeney 7.6, Darren Pratley 6.9, Max Clayton 6.4, Gary Madine 8, David Wheater 6.8, Jay Spearing 6.1, Wellington Silva 7.1
Team Performance of the Week: Reading (2-0 vs Middlesbrough)
Perhaps the easiest decision of this season was picking the weekends best performers as Reading not only beat Middlesbrough but they also kept a clean sheet versus the Championship’s top scorers to end their 7 game winning streak in the process. Steve Clarke’s men got off to a dream start in this one too when Danny Williams converted a Hal Robson-Kanu cross with just 15 seconds on the clock, this breaking a club record for the fastest goal scored by a Reading player. The 1st minute goal was Reading’s 13th from open play this season amassing to 81% of their overall 15 thus far. Going into the game Boro were the Championships top scorers with 17 goals, averaging 1.9 goals per game, but they were to have no joy at the Madejski Stadium as Reading prevented them from creating a clear cut chance in the 90 minutes. Despite ending the match with just 37% of possession it was the effectiveness to prevent shots on their goal which proved again to be Reading’s saviour, with Boro only managing 1 shot on target, and the Royals now conceding an average of just 7.4 shots per game. Looking at the stats from this 2-0 win, the impressive performance in key defensive areas highlights how Reading were able to reduce the away side to such few chances. Steve Clarke’s men won a staggering 80% of their 20 tackles on Saturday whilst winning 59% of aerial duels and racking up 21 interceptions. Although Blackman’s 88th minute penalty was the sealing factor in Reading’s win they were perhaps unlucky not to have scored a 2nd from open play despite their efforts being mainly limited to counter-attacks through Boro’s high amount of possession. Although a relatively low shot accuracy and conversion rate of 29% and 14%, respectively, a dribble success of 57% and cross accuracy of 33% meant Reading could create chances against an unprepared Boro defence (much like the opening goal) and completing 53% of their passes in the final third also considerably helped towards the cause. The 2-0 win meant the Berkshire side remain 3rd in the table, closing the gap on Middlesbrough and Brighton who both dropped points over the weekend, whilst the clean sheet gives them the joint best defence with just 7 goals conceded and a +9 goal difference which ranks 2nd. In the form table Reading’s last 5 games ranks them 2nd, picking up 4 wins and conceding just 3 goals. In terms of individual performances, in-form striker Nick Blackman’s goal vs Boro makes him the league’s joint top scorer with 7 although his 27% conversion rate makes him slightly more efficient than those he is tied with.
Goalscorers: Danny Williams (1), Nick Blackman (pen 88)
Assists: Hal Robson-Kanu (1)
Reading substitutions: 63′ ON Ola John – OFF Lucas Piazon, 82′ ON Aaron Tshibola – OFF Hal Robson-Kanu.
Reading Player Ratings vs QPR
Ali Al-Habsi – 7.1, Chris Gunter – 6.7, Michael Hector – 8, Paul McShane – 7.5, Jordan Obita – 7.1, Danny Williams – 8.2, Oliver Norwood – 8.1, Lucas Piazon – 6.5, Nick Blackman – 7.7, Orlando Sa – 7.3, Hal Robson-Kanu – 7.8, Ola John – 6.5, Aaron Tshibola – 6.3
Reading’s Top 3 Performers
Danny Williams – 8.2: Williams had plenty behind his performance from this game to warrant man-of-the-match, the obvious detail being the 15 second goal to build the platform from which his side would go on to win 2-0. The USA international has shown off his ability to turn over possession and convert defence into attack throughout his time at Reading and he did exactly that vs Boro. Defensively Williams made 2 tackles and 5 interceptions from centre-midfield which went hand in hand with his 3 shots, 2 successful dribbles and 1 foul won to help Reading seamlessly hit Boro on the break. In fact there wasn’t much Williams did wrong on the day as he completed 83% of his 40 passes which included a 75% long ball accuracy, all in all acting as a pivotal cog in the Reading team.
Oliver Norwood – 8.1: As Reading’s ever present deep-lying playmaker this season, Norwood has been the pick of the midfield bunch in the Reading side and was rewarded with a spot in the September team of the month alongside Dale Stephens. The Northern Irish international is better known for his passing ability and he showcased that brilliantly against Boro racking up a 33% cross accuracy, 66% long ball accuracy and an overall pass completion rate of 90% which included 3 key passes. Norwood also displayed the defensive ability to go with his deeper role, completing 6 tackles and 4 interceptions whilst also blocking 1 shot to make his overall performance an impressive one.
Michael Hector – 8: The now Chelsea loanee has received plenty of praise from his boss already this season as himself and Paul McShane have built quite the partnership at the back, one which proved too difficult for Middlesbrough to break down. Unsurprisingly Hector’s performance was highly defence orientated as he made 5 interceptions, 11 clearances and 4 successful aerial duels and although only making 1 tackle it is fair to say this highlights the defensive contribution of the team as a whole. Hector completed 60% of his 37 passes and 33% of his 15 long balls including 1 key pass to round off his 8/10 rated performance.
Reading stats vs Middlesbrough
Top Individual Performances of the Week
Goalkeeper – Dorus de Vries
Although on the losing team vs Hull, De Vries was the pick of the goalkeepers this week. A fairly run of the mill performance was boosted considerably by an excellent penalty save with his feet whilst also making 7 saves throughout the 90 minutes. Some flawless handling rounded off a tidy individual performance although the team performance didn’t follow suit.
Defender – Cyrus Christie
A well balanced full-back display against Brentford from the Derby defender which included an assist for Chris Martin’s opener. As well as being part of a back 4 which kept a clean sheet, Christie also offered plenty going forward with 100% shot accuracy, 2 key passes and a 33% cross accuracy making him a tricky customer for the Bees all game long. The 23 year old picked up man-of-the-match for the 2nd time this season against Brentford and he now boast an impressive average rating of 7.25 for the season.
Midfielder – Kevin McDonald
Arguably McDonald’s best performance this season came against Huddersfield this weekend as yet again he found himself on the score-sheet with a goal from outside of the box. There was far more than a goal to his 9.3 performance however as a pass completion rate of 87% from 70 passes including 1 assist, 3 key passes, 2 accurate through balls and a 55% long ball accuracy are stats Wolves fan will be drooling over. McDonald also made himself known off of the ball in this game, making 4 tackles and 1 interception, rounding off a performance worthy of his Scotland call-up.
Striker – Jay Emmanuel Thomas
Starting for the first time this season Emmanuel-Thomas stepped in to fill the rather large boots of the injured Charlie Austin who has already contributed 7 goals to the team this season. The QPR striker more than met expectations however as he provided 2 goals from just 2 shots including a 94th minute winner to ensure QPR ran out as 4-3 victors. As well as goals Emmanuel-Thomas’ hold up play was solid throughout as he completed 2 successful dribbles and won 4 fouls as well as completing 70% of his passes to prevail as QPR’s hero and Championship player of the week.
How It Stands…
*standings were sourced from flashscores.co.uk