Championship Roundup: Leeds Top the Table as Blackburn, Forest & Swansea Win

​The Championship suffered its first managerial casualty after only three weeks on Friday night, as newly-relegated Huddersfield parted ways with Jan Siewert, who leaves west Yorkshire with the lowest win percentage of any manager in the club’s history – 5.3%. Yikes. 

As the most manic and unpredictable league continues to live up to its reputation week-in, week-out, we take a look at the shocks and surprises after another busy day in the most competitive league in the world. 

God bless the Championship. 

Huddersfield 1-2 Fulham 

The Terriers are sniffing out a new manager after Jan Siewert was given his marching orders following a disappointing start to the season. Huddersfield won only one match in seven months under the German’s stewardship, and the Terriers chairman had seen enough when his side crashed to a 2-1 defeat at home to Fulham. 

Aleksandar Mitrovic’s second-half opener for the visitors was quickly cancelled out by youngster Karlan Grant, but loanee Ivan Cavaleiro snatched all three points for the Cottagers, and sealed Siewert’s fate

Barnsley 2-2 Charlton

Barnsley and Charlton played out a dramatic draw in the battle of the newly-promoted sides on Saturday, the Addicks taking the lead through Cauley Woodrow, only for Conor Gallagher to level the scores just before half-time. ​

The Tykes restored their lead immediately after the break, Conor Chaplin with a calm finish inside the area, and looked to have sealed three points for the home side.

Lyle Taylor had other ideas however, and tucked away an 89th minute penalty to maintain Lee Bowyer’s unbeaten start to the season.

Blackburn 1-0 Middlesbrough

Blackburn picked up their first points of the season thanks to a penalty from ex-Middlesbrough striker Danny Graham. The 34-year-old slotted home to kick-start Rovers’ season, whilst things look bleak for Jonathan Woodgate’s side. 

​The former Boro defender is yet to clinch his first win as boss, and has lost his lost two matches in charge. The home side had the better chances, and ran out fully-deserved winners. 

Brentford 1-1 Hull

Brentford and Hull City shared the spoils on Saturday afternoon, in a game which exploded into life in the second half. The first 45 minutes were rather forgettable at Griffin Park, but soon after half-time Jarrod Bowen opened the scoring, hammering the ball past the Bees’ goalkeeper from an acute angle. 

Brentford talisman Ollie Watkins rescued a point for the home side, firing home from close range, in a match which both sides will feel they could have won. 

Bristol City 2-0 QPR 

Bristol City claimed all three points in their home match against QPR, grabbing their first win of the campaign, whilst condemning the R’s to their first defeat this season. 

Adam Nagy opened the scoring for the Robins, firing in a vicious half-volley, and capping off an excellent overall performance from the midfielder. 

Loanee Benik Afobe scored his first goal for the club after half-time, lashing home in the six-yard box, and QPR were unable to find their way back into the match. It was an excellent win for Lee Johnson’s side. 

Luton 1-2 West Brom

Luton Town fell to a home defeat against West Brom, as the Hatters’ poor start to the campaign continues, and the Baggies’ unbeaten run is extended. The home side took the lead in the 15th minute, Harry Cornick powering a header home after some sloppy West Brom defending. 

The game turned on its head after half-time however, with Grady Diangana scoring twice in three minutes to hand Slaven Bilic’s men the win, and to leave the Hatters only two places above the relegation zone on goal difference. 

Millwall 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday 

Millwall held on to a valuable victory against Sheffield Wednesday, despite playing the entire second half with only ten men. Matt Smith gave the Lions the lead after 37 minutes, but Jed Wallace was given his marching orders for a heavy challenge on Kieran Lee. 

Although the Owls played 45 minutes with an extra man, they couldn’t break down a resilient Millwall team, who leapfrogged the away side into fifth place in the Championship table. 

Nottingham Forest 3-0 Birmingham 

Nottingham Forest confidently dispatched midlands rivals Birmingham City, beating the Blues 3-0, and claiming their first league win in the process. The hosts dominated proceedings and scored two goals in seven minutes to take a commanding lead into the half-time break. 

Joe Lolley and Lewis Grabban’s goals were followed by a rare strike from veteran defender Michael Dawson, as Birmingham fell to their first league defeat of the season. Plenty to ponder for Blues boss Pep Clotet.

Stoke 2-2 Derby 

Stoke City and Derby County played out an entertaining draw at the stadium, but the Potters will feel that they should have come away with all three points. Nathan Jones’ men came from behind to lead just before the hour mark, Lindsay and Hogan responding to Waghorn’s early opener. 

Stoke dominated large parts of the game but couldn’t kill off a spirited Derby side, and the Rams got their equaliser with 20 minutes to play, Martin Waghorn slotting home a penalty and doubling his afternoon’s tally. 

After a tough start, the Potters are finally off the mark for the season. 

Swansea 3-2 Preston

Swansea continued their impressive start to the season with a dramatic win in a five-goal thriller over Preston North End. Swans striker Borja Baston bagged a brace, scoring the winning goal 20 minutes from time, and condemning the Lilywhites to a disappointing defeat. 

Victory for Steve Cooper’s men lifts them to fourth in the Championship table, as they continue to thrive in life after Graham Potter, who left the club to join Brighton over the summer. Preston are languishing in 16th position, but they will take some positives from a determined display. 

Wigan 0-2 Leeds

Leeds United sit at the top of the Championship tree on Saturday night, as they claimed a 2-0 victory away at struggling Wigan. The Latics were up against it from the off, Joe Williams receiving two yellow cards in the opening 21 minutes, leaving his side down to ten men for the remainder of the game.

A brace from Patrick Bamford secured victory for Leeds, as Marcelo Bielsa’s men aim to banish the nightmare end to last season from their memories, and finally return to the Premier League after a 15 year absence. 


Inter ‘Agree Terms’ With Alexis Sanchez & Hope to Strike Deal With Man Utd

​Manchester United winger Alexis Sanchez has agreed personal terms over a move to Italian side Inter – providing the two clubs can strike a deal for the 30-year-old attacker.

The Chilean international looks destined to end his miserable spell at Old Trafford, just over 18 months after his arrival from Premier League rivals Arsenal in 2018. 

Romelu Lukaku,Alexis Sanchez

Sanchez looks set to follow in the footsteps of former Man Utd teammate Romelu Lukaku – one of his closest allies at Old Trafford before he left the club to join Inter this summer in a deal worth around £70m. 

​Int​er are desperate to bring in a new forward, and since transfer target Edin Dzeko has signed a new contract with Roma, ​Gianluca Di Marzio reports that I Nerazzurri have turned their attention to Man Utd’s troubled forward. 

Di Marzio confirms that an agreement has been reached between the player and Antonio Conte’s side, and Sanchez is now waiting for the two clubs to sign off on the deal. The report doesn’t state however – at time of publish – whether the deal is a permanent one or whether Sanchez has agreed to a huge pay cut.

Roma previously made a move for Sanchez, but according to ​the Mi​rror, the winger refused the transfer despite I Giallorossi coming to an agreement with the Red Devils.

The former ​Barcelona man clearly plays no part in ​Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans for the coming season, and his massive wages only add to the complications of his time in Manchester. 

Inter will be hoping to get this deal over the line, and help Sanchez recapture his scintillating form of previous seasons. 


Why Michy Batshuayi Should Be Given His Chance at Chelsea

​It’s fair to say life at Chelsea for Michy Batshuayi has not been plain sailing – ever since signing for the club in 2016, the Belgian has struggled for game time and has been on numerous loan deals. 

However, with Chelsea’s current transfer ban they need to keep important players such as Batshuayi and finally give him a chance to prove himself at Stamford Bridge. 

Michy Batshuayi

Since signing for £33m from Marseille, Batshuayi has played second fiddle to the the likes of Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata. The lack of opportunities forced the Belgian to go on several loan spells at Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Crystal Palace. 

Now with Frank Lampard at the helm, this season could be the chance for the ​Batsman to break into the Chelsea starting line-up. 

Even though the 25-year-old has not featured in the first two games of Chelsea’s season, Lampard explained that he is still set for an important role in the squad. 

​​The forward will be competing with Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud this season but with none of those ​strikers yet to stamp their name down as the main choice, the opportunities to impress are still there for the Belgian. 

So, why should the Batsman be given the chance this season? 

First of all it goes under the radar that the striker is pretty clinical with the amount of game time he has got, scoring 19 goals in just 53 games for the Blues. In his first season in London he scored five goals in only 236 minutes, which equals out as a goal every 47 minutes.

As well as that Batshuayi has delivered when it has really mattered for Chelsea. Blues fans wont forget when he scored the goal to clinch the Premier League crown in 2016/17 in a 1-0 win over West Brom. Neither will they forget the winner against Atletico Madrid with the last kick of the game in the Champions League. 

The forward showed glimpses of what he is capable of in pre-season, showing the ability to get shots off from various positions and creating chances out of nothing. 

On the ball he showed his pace and skill to dribble past defenders and get shots off, but Lampard has hinted that it’s Batshuayi’s off the ball work that he needs to improve. 

However, with time this is something the forward can work on and with a coach that is willing to give him the chance, unlike Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri, the Belgian could finally establish himself at Stamford Bridge. 

Tammy Abraham

Batshuayi also helps give Lampard a different tactical route as the forward can be very useful when playing in a two up top. In his time at Marseille, he showed he was capable of working in a two, and was successful doing so – scoring 17 goals in the 2015/16 season. 

In pre-season, Lampard tried out the partnership of Batshuayi and ​Abraham up front for the Blues. Considering it was the first time they had ever played together they were impressive in terms of movement giving the Chelsea boss another option that he could utilise this season. 

Wherever Batshuayi has been playing, aside from his time at Valencia, he has been clinical in front of goal. With better movement off the ball and the forward given the confidence from his coach Batshuayi could be the striker to bag a lot of goals for Chelsea this season.


How Much Barcelona Still Owe Liverpool for Philippe Coutinho as Bayern Close in on Loan Deal

Reports in Spain in recent hours have suggested Liverpool are set to pocket a handy €20m from Philippe Coutinho’s imminent season-long loan switch from Barcelona to Bayern Munich – but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

The Brazil international has been subject to near constant speculation about his future this summer and now looks set to end his underwhelming spell in Catalonia with a temporary move to the German champions.


However, reports Liverpool are set to receive €20m from this loan deal appear to be somewhat wide of the mark. 

The Echo understands that the European champions have already received as much as €155m from Barcelona for the 27-year-old, with just €5m still outstanding between the two clubs.

Liverpool’s coffers were significantly swollen back in January 2018, after their want-away star finally sealed his €160m switch to the Catalan giants, following months of frustrating transfer speculation.

Despite netting 21 times in 76 appearances and bagging back-to-back La Liga titles during his time at the Camp Nou, Coutinho has faced frequent criticism from the press and the terraces as he struggled to live up to his huge price tag. 

The deal negotiated by the club’s now famed sporting director Michael Edwards, was the largest in ​Liverpool‘s history. The funds went some way to the funding of a club record move for Virgil van Dijk as Liverpool’s fortunes dramatically improved on the field.

Edwards also included a clause, effectively barring ​Barcelona from making a move for any other Liverpool stars, until the summer of 2020. The prohibitive clause would see Los Cules having to pay a whopping €100 premium for any Reds player on their radar.  


The Official Rule That Means Man City’s Disallowed Winner Against Spurs Was the Correct Decision

​Marge, it happened again.

Manchester City must’ve seen enough of that Video Assistant Referee (VAR) when Tottenham dumped them out of the Champions League last season – it denied them a late, late winner to take them through to the semi-finals.


That game was crazy. And on Spurs’ next visit to the Etihad Stadium – Saturday, August 17, 2019 – lightning struck twice. In the same ground. At the same end. Against the same team. At the same stage of the game. Gabriel Jesus scored to earn ​City (what they thought) was a 3-2 win and wheeled away in celebration…only for the goal to be overturned.

The ball hit Aymeric Laporte’s arm and fell into Jesus’ path before he smashed it in. City had done it again, ​Sergio Aguero and Pep Guardiola made up after a very public fall out, and then the celebrations were cancelled. Tottenham, overjoyed and perhaps a little confused, walked away with a point.

Plenty are quick to point to VAR. But VAR, sorry guys, has been enforced correctly here…according to the laws of the game on handballs in goal situations. 

The rule is new, and was ironically enforced off the back of Spurs’ Champions League match at the Etihad last season, where they managed to score a goal through Fernando Llorente…despite the use of an accidental arm.

It states, via ​Reuters:

The following ‘handball’ situations, even if accidental, will be a free kick: 

– The ball goes into the goal after touching an attacking player’s hand/arm. 

– A player gains control/possession of the ball after it has touches their hand/arm and then scores, or creates a goal-scoring opportunity.

Laporte didn’t know much about the connection with his arm at the time it happened, but unfortunately for Manchester City they’ve been pegged back by the laws of the game in a high profile fixture against Tottenham for the second time in a matter of months.

It’s very early, but in the title race, it’s advantage ​Liverpool.