It was, as per usual in the Championship, a month crammed full of unpredictable results, spectacular goals and controversial refereeing decisions.
Leading the way at the top of the table are Brighton and Southampton, both south-coast clubs riding the crest of the wave that bore them up from League 1, and enjoying the feel-good factor that this brings to the clubs. Southampton in particular have wowed the Championship with their brand of open, free-flowing football, with Adam Lallana and Ricky Lambert especially impressive. The former starred in their opening day victory at home to Leeds, while the latter has already poached five goals.
Brighton have been more compact, and have relied on the goals of Ashley Barnes allied to a resilient defence. Middlesbrough have also looked good in the opening 6 games, and are unbeaten thanks largely to Marvin Emnes-showing what he can do at last. All the ingredients are there for a successful year for Mowbray’s team, and they seem to be fulfilling their potential early on.
Another team looking decent in the opening weeks have been Derby, although they also seemed to have an excellent chance at this stage last year, before sliding away dramatically. This young team have played well and got the results, with the most eye-catching being a 2-1 win at home to recently relegated Birmingham. The latter have been somewhat of a disappointment in the recent weeks, but on the other hand they did lose key players. Chris Hughton will feel that a 3-o win at home to Birmingham last weekend will kick-start their campaign.
On the subject of teams not playing to their potential, Reading have been a team starkly guilty of this five losses in a row is not a statistic for their loyal followers to appreciate. The cause of this is of course partly due to the departures of Shane Long and Matt Mills for greener pastures, but loss of confidence and the lack of a suitable system must also be taken into consideration.
Nottingham Forest and Burnley have also had unenviable starts, with Steve Mclaren apparently close to an astonishing departure from the City Ground after a noticeable lack of transfer activity on deadline day. The Clarets have missed the creative force of Chris Eagles and Wade Elliott, and may take some time to settle down. In the category of teams expected to struggle must come Bristol City and Doncaster, the latter in particular having a miserable August with only a single point from 6 games.
Game of the Month: West Ham 2-2 Leeds, a game full of quality and endeavour.
Player of the Month: Ricky Lambert
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