There were some huge results at both ends of the table in another captivating round of fixtures in the Championship, with Leeds maintaining their five-point lead over Fulham, all of the bottom three prevailing and Sheffield Wednesday finally ending their barren run to ease the growing pressure on Garry Monk.
There were plenty of stand-out performances too and here we offer our Team of the Week.
Nottingham Forest picked up a huge three points in their race for the play-off spots by beating Cardiff 1-0 away from home, and they have Samba to thank for it. He made four important saves to keep the Bluebirds out, and also won all three of his aerial duels. It could be the start of a good run for the shot-stopper – this is now two clean sheets in a row.
Brentford may have lost 2-1 to lowly Luton, but it was through no fault of the 20-year-old. The wing-back led the way in terms of key passes (4) and accurate crosses (3), whilst he also provided the assist for Ollie Watkins’ strike. The defeat was a blow to the Bees’ automatic promotion hopes, but more displays like this from the Denmark international will get them back on the right track.
Huddersfield dragged themselves out of the relegation zone by beating Bristol City, and Schindler was a rock at the back. He made the most clearances (7), as well as four tackles and two interceptions. Incredibly, he lost just one of his 13 duels too. This was a huge three points for the Terriers, and the 29-year-old led them to victory with a captain’s performance.
Chartlon will be heartbroken to concede in the fifth minute of stoppage time against Sheffield Wednesday, but the Owls won’t mind. Their 1-0 victory keeps their remote play-off hopes alive, and Lees played a starring role. He provided the assist for Steven Fletcher’s goal, whilst also winning 11 of his 14 duels. Wednesday have now brought a run of seven games without a win to an end.
Another late goal saw Fulham edge past Swansea 1-0, with Aleksandar Mitrovic on target, and left-back Bryan was in stellar form. He was solid defensively, making three tackles and as many interceptions, whilst he also completed two of his three attempted dribbles. Not only that, his last-gasp tackle on Conor Gallagher started the attack that led to the eventual winner.
Sheffield Wednesday should have had the game against the Addicks won far earlier as they dominated possession and shots – they led 55% to 45% and 24 to six respectively. Bannan’s display in the middle of the park allowed the Owls to control the game, as he landed 90% of his attempted passes, of which two were key. Fortunately, his performance got the result it deserved.
It seems Leeds may just have got over their mid-season blip – they have now won their last three games. Their victory over Middlesbrough was their third 1-0 in a row, and they have Mateusz Klich to thank for the only goal of the match. The Poland international also made three key passes and six tackles, showcasing his all-action style in a well-rounded display. Marcelo Bielsa has started Klich in all 35 league games this season, and his latest display vindicated his manager’s faith.
Just like Wednesday, Fulham should have had their match against the Swans wrapped up far before Mitrovic’s last-gasp header. Cairney contributed to their dominating display – they had 64% possession and 15 shots to six – with three key passes, five fouls won and an 89% pass accuracy. The Cottagers’s triumph allowed them to keep pace with Leeds, who remain five points ahead of them.
The third Fulham player in this Team of the Week is Belgian Knockaert. On the right flank, he made a game-leading five key passes, whilst also completing all three of his attempted dribbles. This was a big win for Scott Parker’s men – it is their first victory in four matches.
Forest’s game away at Cardiff was evenly matched – both sides had the same amount of shots and possession – but it was performances like that of Lolley that gave the visitors the edge. He completed three key passes, whilst also completing 100% of his attempted dribbles. Defensively, too, he proved his worth, winning eight from 13 ground duels.
The Wales international may only have had 31 touches of the ball, but he made his time in possession count. His ninth-minute strike set West Brom on their way to a 2-0 victory, whilst he also managed one key pass and won two fouls. The eight duels from 14 he prevailed in shows he gave the Preston defence plenty of problems, as well. Now, the Baggies are nine points clear of the play-off spots – the Premier League is within touching distance.