Barnsley really do look in trouble
This early on in the season it can be very easy to throw predictions and observations around but one that wouldn’t go amiss, is that Barnsley really do look like a club staring down the barrel of a gun. Narrowly surviving relegation on the final day of the campaign last year, Gary Flitcroft would have been optimistically hoping for an easy ride this time around but as of yet it looks like it is going to get worse before it gets better. A 5-1 home thrashing at the hands of Watford this weekend highlighted just what a mess they’re really in: six defeats in eight games, three without a win and nine without a clean sheet. Already they’ve got the worst goal difference in the league and despite the best efforts of Flitcroft who arrived last December at Oakwell, Barnsley simply look void of the of the talent needed to survive at this level. Troy Deeney opened the scoring for Watford early in the first half, before Jason Scotland equalised for the Tykes just seven minutes later but they were only level for a matter of moments before Davide Faraoni give the Hornets the lead once more. From that moment Barnsley struggled to contain Watford’s attacking power and the inevitable followed with goals from Fernando Forestieri, Sean Murray and Ikechi Anya.
AFC Bournemouth could be the surprise package this season
After 8 games The Cheeries are sitting pretty in 8th position on 13 points and have more than shown that they can handle themselves at this level. For many, the expectation was and still will be a close shave with relegation but for now, Eddie Howe’s men are fighting against popular opinion and showing themselves as somewhat of a surprise package. Despite throwing away a two goal against Middlesbrough this weekend, Howe will be pleased with the way his team played and will be buoyed be the positive way that his side went at the Boro’ especially in an away fixture. Yes, they’ve been thrashed twice – once of Watford and the other from Huddersfield – but on both occasions they’ve picked themselves up and performed brilliantly the weekend after, Howe will be hoping for a similar response next time out against Blackburn Rovers. Brett Pittman put Bournemouth ahead with two penalties inside 12 minutes but the lead was soon wasted as Middlesbrough pulled two back through Kei Kamara and Mustapha Carayol with only 32 minutes gone. Grant Leadbitter gave Boro the lead in the 75th minute and the chance to collect what would have been only their second league win of the season but a Jonathan Woodgate own goal seven minutes from time levelled the score.
Jesse Lingard really knows how to make an entrance
Manchester loanee Jesse Lingard set St Andrews alight as he scored four on his Birmingham City debut handing Sheffield Wednesday to yet another defeat, as they remain the only team in the Championship without win. The 20-year-old who has come through the ranks at Old Trafford opened the scoring up inside twenty minutes as he picked up the scraps after Chris Burke’s shot was parried into his direction. A second came 9 minutes later as Lingard latched onto Wade Elliot’ pass before he completed his hat-trick just after the half-hour mark floating in from the left flank before coolly slotting pass Chris Kirkland. The fourth came in the second half after more good work from Chris Burke, whose clever pull black was calmly finished by Lingard sending St Andrew’s into raptures. Sheffield Wednesday pulled one back through Kamil Zayatte but it was nothing more than a consolation for Dave Jones’ men. Lingard played superbly throughout and was a constant thorn in the side of the Owls and provided Lee Clark with a much needed victory securing only the side’s second of the campaign.
Federico Macheda showing Wayne Rooney how it’s done
The forgotten man at Old Trafford was certainly heard this weekend as he notched a double at the Keepmoat Stadium in a 2-2 draw against Nottingham Forest. The 22-year-old opened the scoring for Doncaster on his home debut after 34 minutes, slotting home what was a brilliant team goal. Richie Wellens fed Theo Robinson who in turned supplied Macheda and the Italian made no mistake from just inside the box. Donny however were pegged back within five minutes as Chris Cohen equalised for Forest but the impressive Wellens set Macheda up for his second, floating a delightful cross into centre and the Manchester loanee headed home. However Doncaster could not hold onto the lead as Andy Reid equalised in the final ten minutes. Macheda was impressive throughout and arguably should have hat-trick, being denied by Karl Darlow early in the first half before he opened the scoring: his movement and work rate was second to none, and he will be hoping to make the most of the opportunity of first team football in an attempt to force his way into David Moyes’ first team plans.
Wigan getting back on track?
The Lactics were thought to be one of the teams fighting for promotion this season but have so far struggled to match expectation winning only twice so far. This weekend saw them collect their third win of the season and while they were far from dominating, manager Owen Coyle will be pleased by their stubborn performance against a very resurgent Ipswich Town. Ryan Shotton who has arrived on loan from Stoke City opened the scoring from Nick Powell’s corner, heading home the Manchester United striker’s cross before Powell himself sealed the three points at the death after capitalising on a goalkeeping error by Dean Gerken. Wigan were lucky to go into half time level, let alone ahead but thanks to Scott Carson they did go into the interval with the lead but the England international had to pull off two great saves first to deny Daryl Murphy and then Cole Skuse. The ex-Liverpool man was then on hand again to deny Christophe Berra’s long rang strike late into the game, the last real chance before Powell doubled Wigan’s lead. Coyle will need to work on shoring up the defence but knowing that his side can take the chances being created will be huge relief and the Scot will hope that this can the fixture to get his side back into the promotion mix.