1 – QPR are looking very strong at the back
QPR claimed another win this weekend over Tony Mowbray’s Middlesbrough and did so keeping yet another clean sheet, the 7th consecutive one. Joey Barton and Charlie Austin got the goals for the Hoops, who now hold a 3pt lead at the top of the table remaining unbeaten and reaffirming the expectation that Harry Redknapp’s men will return to the top flight at the first time of asking. QPR have only shipped two goals this campaign and look extremely tight at the back with the central pairing of Richard Dunne and Clint Hill keeping Rob Green’s goal projected like Fort Knox. While Redknapp will be extremely pleased with strong defensive display, the lack of goals up front – only ten this season – will be something that he hopes to improve on.
2 – There is a mini revival going on at Millwall
Millwall continued their impressive form and climb up the league table with a 2-0 victory over Leeds United at The Den. This win was The Lions third consecutive win in what is a mini-revival after a poor start to the season where new manager Steve Lomas failed to win any of his first six games in charge, picking up only two points. This weekend’s victory over Leeds thanks to goals from Martyn Woolford and Scott Malone, followed victories over Blackpool and Charlton in the last fortnight seeing Millwall move up to 16th in the league. Lomas was under apparent pressure from disgruntled fans due the poor start to the campaign but the board’s decision to stick with the ex-West Ham defender is now starting to pay dividends and the hope will be that he can build on yet another impressive and composed performance this weekend.
3 – Burnley have a real goal threat
Burnley ran out 3-0 winners this weekend at the expense of Charlton, in what was, despite the score-line a hard fought contest. The match was extremely close, with only five shots on target between two teams and % of possession falling 51% – 49% in Charlton’s favour however goals from Burnley’s two strikers made sure that the Clarets’ shots on the target – all three of them – ended up as goals. Danny Ings netted his 10th of the season with a neat volley before a Sam Vokes double in the last twenty minutes. 16 goals between the two in only 9 games explains why Burnley remain in the top two and unbeaten at home but with reported interest from Premier league teams in Danny Inghs – Sean Dyche will be hoping that he can fight off any potential takers and persuade him to remain at Turf Moor and head up the battle for promotion.
4 – Some managers are living a charmed life
With Derby County’s sacking of Nigel Clough this weekend, it makes you wonder just how long certain managers can continue in their own jobs. Dave Jones, Dougie Freedman, Lee Clark and Tony Mowbray it could all be argued are living a charmed life at their respective clubs. Sheffield Wednesday slipped into the bottom three after a 1-0 home defeat to Doncaster Rovers in the local derby and this leaves the Owl still without a victory this season. Elsewhere expected-to-be promotion challengers Bolton Wanderers are also stuck in the relegation zone, still also looking for their first win and getting no nearer this weekend – needing a 90th minute equaliser against Yeovil Town.
Meanwhile Lee Clark, despite a convincing win last week thanks to the magic of Jesse Lingard saw his Birmingham City side fall to a 2-0 defeat away to Reading and leave them only 3pts off the bottom three with many beginning to question Clark’s suitability for the role. Middlesbrough are also another side struggling to live up to expectation, and Tony Mowbray may be feeling the pressure more than anyone else due his access to a very talented squad, another 2-0 defeat to QPR this weekend leaves the ‘Boro well of the pace in 16th.
If their form continues it won’t be long until they join Nigel Clough at the job centre.
5 – The Eastmidlands’ Derby is a feisty affair
Some derbies are worthy of Premier League status and the battle between Nottingham Forest and Derby County is certainly one of those, this weekend’s clash finishing in a 1-0 victory for Forest. The atmosphere between the two clubs is one to behold, steeped in a rich tradition and history partly thanks to the great Brian Clough who was successful at both clubs back in the 70s and 80s, unfortunately though for his son, Nigel, Derby’s defeat would cost him his job.
Forest’s victory thanks to a Jack Hobbs’ header was the first over their local rivals since 2011 and was fully deserved in a game where County rarely tested Reds’ Karl Darlow. A second half sending off for County captain Richard Keogh for made their task even harder and they were left trailing the remainder of the game. Nigel Clough was sacked a few hours later after 4 years at the The Rams.