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The72 Championship Team of the Week Matchday 6: Glorious Gayle

Sheffield United’s 4-1 home win over Aston Villa was the pick of this weekend’s SkyBet Championship results.

On Friday evening, the top two sides, Leeds United and Middlesbrough could not be separated at Elland Road, with the match finishing as a goalless draw.

Ipswich Town and local rivals Norwich City played out the first Old Farm derby of the season, which finished 1-1 at Portman Road.

With this weekend’s action being the final set of Championship fixtures before the international break, here is our Team of the Week based on match rating statistics from

Formation: 3-4-1-2

Goalkeeper: Christian Walton (Wigan Athletic) 7.91

Wigan Athletic continued their strong start to the season with a 1-0 victory over Rotherham United at the DW Stadium.

Goalkeeper Christian Walton, who is currently on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion, made four saves to deny The Millers from leaving Lancashire with any points.

He also claimed the ball twice as Walton kept his second clean sheet in the space of three league games.

This loan is already Walton’s sixth since 2013, having also endured short spells with Luton Town, Southend United, Plymouth Argyle, and Bury.

Defender: Pawel Olkowski (Bolton Wanderers) 8.78

Bolton Wanderers full-back Pawel Olkowski proved to be imperative as his side fought back to earn a 2-2 draw against Preston North End at Deepdale.

Having conceded twice inside the opening 20 minutes of the match, Olkowski was directly involved in both of Bolton’s goals before half time.

The Polish full-back first teed up Sammy Ameobi, whose long-range effort was spilled goalbound by Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd.

Moments later, Olkowski levelled the match with a strike from the edge of the penalty area that most strikers would have been envious of.

Defender: Kyle Naughton (Swansea City) 8.02

Despite not starting for Swansea City, Kyle Naughton’s substitute appearance was influential during their 2-1 win over Millwall at The Den.

Naughton was introduced after 35 minutes, replacing Leroy Fer, who was forced off through injury.

The ex-Tottenham Hotspur full-back scored the equalizer in the final quarter of an hour after firing his low effort into the bottom corner.

He also made three tackles, the most of any Swansea player in the match, despite playing for less than an hour.

Defender: Michael Morrison (Birmingham City) 7.99

Birmingham City avoided dropping into the relegation zone after holding Queens Park Rangers to a goalless draw at St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium.

The Blues’ third consecutive home draw was largely down to a strong display from their centre-back, Michael Morrison.

He won 10 of his 12 aerial duels in the match, with an 83% success rate that was only bettered by QPR’s Toni Leistner.

Morrison also made 11 clearances, three more than any other player in the match.

Midfielder: Said Benrahma (Brentford) 7.88

Algerian winger Said Benrahama marked his full home league debut for Brentford by creating both of The Bees’ goals, as they were 2-1 winners over Nottingham Forest at Griffin Park.

Having signed from Nice for just over £1.5 million in July, Benrahma continued his good run of form, having scored his first goal for the club during his debut against Southend in the first round of the EFL Cup last month.

His cross, which was headed in by Lewis MacLeod, opened the scoring on the stroke of half time.

Benrahma was again involved in Brentford’s winner in the 84th minute, as his deflected delivery was volleyed in from close range by Ollie Watkins.

Midfielder: Oliver Norwood (Sheffield United) 8.52

The Blades moved up to third in the league table with their fourth league victory in a row.

Their 4-1 win over Villa saw midfielder Oliver Norwood star and make our Team of the Week for the second week running.

Norwood created United’s first goal, with defender Jack O’Connell heading in from the midfielder’s free-kick.

He then scored directly from a free-kick shortly before half-time, with his effort catching out Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland at his near post.

Midfielder: Moritz Leitner (Norwich City) 8.03

As Norwich earned a 1-1 draw with local rivals Ipswich, Moritz Leitner stood out for The Canaries.

Leitner got Norwich’s goal from outside of the 18-yard box in the final 20 minutes put the game level.

The German completed 37 passes against Ipswich, 12 more than any other player in the match.

He also made four key passes, double the amount of the next five nearest players, who all completed two.

Midfielder: Mark Duffy (Sheffield United) 7.94

Mark Duffy was also amongst the goalscorers during Chris Wilder’s side’s comfortable win over Villa.

Duffy got United’s second with a dipping shot from distance which beat Nyland.

He also completed one dribble, the joint-second most of any United player at Bramall Lane, only David McGoldrick completed more.

Like teammate O’Connell and Villa’s Anwar El-Ghazi, Duffy scored with his only shot of the match.

Midfielder: Lucas Joao (Sheffield Wednesday) 8.24

Reading fell to the bottom of the league standings after losing 2-1 at the Madejski Stadium to Sheffield Wednesday.

Lucas Joao picked up his third goal in the space of two games to get The Owls’ second of the match shortly after half time.

The Portuguese forward curled his shot past opposition goalkeeper Vito Mannone from long-range to double Wednesday’s lead.

Joao’s record tally for a Championship season is nine goals, which he achieved during the 2017/18 campaign. Having already netted three goals in as many games this season, Joao will be hoping to continue his form and break his own Championship record later in the campaign.

Attacking-midfield: Adam Reach (Sheffield Wednesday) 8.25

Wednesday’s opening goal of the match also came from a shot from outside of the penalty area, courtesy of Adam Reach.

He opened the scoring in the 12th minute when he swept in Matt Penney’s pass with a low shot in the bottom corner of the net.

Reach also created Joao’s goal, his first two direct Championship goal contributions (goals and assists) of the season.

Last season, Reach added four goals and 11 assists to Wednesday’s side in his 46 Championship appearances.

Striker: Dwight Gayle (West Bromwich Albion) 9.10

This week’s Player of the Week is West Bromwich Albion striker Dwight Gayle, who scored both of The Baggies’ goals during their 2-1 win over Stoke City.

His first of the match was simply stunning. After a one-two with Kieran Gibbs, Gayle pulled off a sublime turn, took the ball around Bruno Martins Indi and Jack Butland before slotting into an empty net; an effort that was reminiscent of Dennis Bergkamp’s famous goal against Newcastle United in 2002.

Gayle got his second goal in the second half, half-volleying the ball past Butland with his second touch after controlling Jake Livermore’s long pass with his first.

The 27-year-old has scored three goals in five league appearances for The Baggies and his individual performance against Stoke helped to move West Brom up to ninth in the table.

Striker: Callum Robinson (Preston North End) 8.03

The final member of this week’s side is Preston striker Callum Robinson, who netted during their 2-2 draw with Bolton.

Robinson opened the scoring early on after being put through on goal by Brandon Barker before the former England Under-20s international dribbled around the goalkeeper, Ben Alnwick and put Preston in the lead.

He completed 87% of his attempted passes against Bolton, the highest success rate of any Preston player.

Earlier today, Robinson was called up to the Republic of Ireland’s senior squad and will be hoping to make his debut against either Wales or Poland later this month.


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