23 games in. This is how the Championship looks.
Sitting in 8th, as we are, I’m satisfied. We’ve scored well, played some excellent football (we top the Average Possession charts with 63%, Pass Completion with 89% and the Passes Completed with 15389, which is 4000 more than the second team in that list.
I feel we’re conceding too many goals, and a lot of these have come via rebounds from the keeper, which is something that needs exploring (Pantilimon, being 6’8″, and somewhat slow doesn’t help), although, 7 clean sheets in the first half does help a bit.
Defensively, my centre back pairings have coped well. The current one of Tobias Figueiredo and Alex Milosevic seem to have an excellent understanding of each other, and Michael Dawson, along with Michael Hefele have been very dependable when covering.
Sam McQueen and Tendayi Darikwa have been near ever present at the full back positions, but, Jayden Richardson has seen time at right back coving for suspension and injury.
In midfield, Claudio Yacob, Ryan Yates and Ben Osborn have formed a dependable team in the engine room, with Osborn being everpresent. Carvalho, Lolley and Goncalves have rotated through the winger roles, with Arvin Appiah getting some match time.
Up front, Karim Ansarifard has disappointed, along with Hilal Soudani, and this has led to Lewis Grabban topping the scoring charts (along with Lolley and Yates) with 5.
In terms of transfer activity, Adlene Guedioura and Yohan Benalouane will leave the club during the next transfer window, to Portland Timbers and Basaksehir respectively.
Several young talents have been brought in, the most notable of which is 17 year old Scottish striker, Jamie Christie, who has shown remarkable improvements in all areas, and has already been called up to the Scotland U19 squad.
Joining the club on Jan 1st, from Greek side AEK, is Foivos Botos. The 18 year old attacking midfielder can play in any of the 3 roles, and will mainly be developed to play on the left side, so he can cut in and cross with his right foot.
At £400k and a sell on clause, the aim is to bring him through potentially at the end of this season, and look to get him in the first team squad next season for a potential sale.
In terms of home grown players, Arvin Appiah is attracting interest from 10 Premier League clubs, and if anyone makes a move on him, I intend to make them pay handsomely for him, as he is a player I rate very highly.
Matty Cash has been linked with moves away, Middlesbrough the latest side mentioned, and the midfield pairing of Osborn and Yates are beginning to attract Premier League attention, something which, I don’t like, as I feel Yates needs a season to develop in the Championship before moving on.
Theres irons in the fire for potential strengthening, but, that will come at a later time.