Leicester City are now breaking 100-plus year records, none of the clubs that sacked managers earned an instant bounce and Crysencio Summerville is proving himself a class apart at Leeds. All this and more from the latest round of the Championship…
TEAM OF THE ROUND
We’ve been here before and the way things are going we’ll be here again as this season goes on. It’s looking very much like I’m going to have to exercise Burnley and Fulham levels of rotation when it comes to choosing Leicester as our team of the round, we don’t want things to become predictable in this column but we are here to reflect what’s going on in the Championship.
I’ll leave you to decide exactly how many, but Leicester are many levels above the rest of the division so far since their relegation and the records are tumbling in spectacular fashion. The Foxes have won a mind mending 11 of their first 12 games and have an 11 point lead over a Leeds side in very decent form back in third place.
This week’s Leicester entry into the record books was a sixth straight away win from the start of a Championship campaign, they are the first ever team in the 121 seasons of second tier football to manage that particular feat. They actually went behind at Swansea but were level by half time and powered on to a 3-1 win in the second half.
If we get another win for Leicester in midweek over Sunderland then they’ll have 36 points from the first 13 games of a Championship season which would make them the joint best second tier team in history. With that being said we’re going back well over 100 years to find the Bury and Bristol City teams that Leicester will move level with.
Who knows where this will all end, but the way things are shaping up we could be about to see history made by Leicester on a very frequent basis as the season goes on.
PLAYER OF THE ROUND
I remember showing up for Leeds United’s trip to Ipswich and, after a pretty underwhelming start to the season, the game represented the unveiling of the fearsome Elland Road attacking roster. I was blown away by the quality of Joel Piroe, Georginio Rutter, Willy Gnonto and Luis Sinisterra as they all scored at Portman Road and put Championship defences on notice that Leeds were going to be a tough opponent during this season.
That game at Ipswich was somewhat of a unique experience as Sinisterra left not long after for Bournemouth so perhaps we’ll never see that front four line up for Leeds again. No matter, as the embarrassment of riches at Elland Road also includes Crysencio Summerville and he was the key man in the win at Norwich this weekend.
Summerville’s season is really kicking into gear and he’s certainly putting up a flag when it comes to the October player of the month conversation. He scored the winner against QPR, got an assist in the win against Bristol City and, with Leeds 2-0 down at half-time at Carrow Road, it was a brilliant second half double that was the key factor in another three points going on the board for United.
They say knowing what is coming is one thing and stopping it is another, Norwich would’ve been well scouted on Summerville drifting in off the left hand side and curling right footed shots but they couldn’t stop it for either of his goals. Summerville is in form, Leeds are in form, keep an eye on both.
TALKING POINT OF THE ROUND
We had a different look in the dugouts for Millwall, Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham this weekend, but unfortunately none of those three clubs earned themselves a win. It was Wayne Rooney’s debut as Birmingham boss and the first game of a tricky looking start ended with an 89th goal from Morgan Rogers taking all three points up at Middlesbrough. While Rooney is limbering up to face three current top six opponents in Blues next four games, Boro are flying up the table and that’s five wins in a row for his old teammate Michael Carrick.
It was a similar outcome for new Sheffield Wednesday boss Danny Rohl as they also went under 1-0 to an 82nd minute Yasser Asprilla strike for Watford. That awful record of no wins for Wednesday in 2023/24 now extends to a whopping twelve games and they’ve failed to score in seven of their last eight games.
It’s a huge job for the new boss to turn this around, that’s what Big Val Ismael is trying to do at Watford and this win takes the Hornets out of the bottom five.
Finally Adam Barrett is in caretaker charge of Millwall after Gary Rowett left the club just a few days back. The Lions drew 1-1 at Preston, a handy result under the circumstance especially considering they were behind to an early Mads Frokjaer-Jensen goal when Zian Flemming bent one in from the edge of the box. It’s also no wins in five for Preston who drop out of the top three.
LOANEE OF THE ROUND
Ryan Fraser (Southampton on loan from Newcastle)
If ever a goal opened up a Pandora’s box of narratives for this column then Ryan Fraser’s strike for Southampton at Hull was that goal. In the most simple terms the goal was a 95th minute winner to ensure Saints recorded a third win in four games and moved up into the top five as the Championship table starts to get set for the autumn and winter months.
While there’s nothing particularly controversial or surprising about a newly relegated year-one parachute team mobilising for a promotion push in the Championship, Fraser the player has certainly had his fair share of controversial headlines written about him.
During that strange extended season as the pandemic took a hold of all our lives, Fraser was one of those players who stuck to the letter of his contract and opted not to continue for Bournemouth after lockdown had halted the 2019/20 season. There were apparently no hard feelings with Cherries boss Eddie Howe but in a classic example of the juiciest type of football irony, Fraser headed for Newcastle and after their takeover was completed he was reunited with Howe once again.
No hard feelings unfortunately turned into the Scotland international being banished to the under 21’s side at St James’ Park and now Fraser finds himself on loan in the Championship at Southampton. It’s always a bit of a stretch to believe absolutely everything you hear about a player, what isn’t in question as this weekend shows is Ryan Fraser’s capacity to contribute at Championship level and he seems settled and ready to do just that for Southampton this season.