West Brom EFL Championship Tactical Analysis

Norwich City scored another late winner on Saturday to retain their place at the top of the EFL tree, but why could it be their most significant win yet?

Elsewhere in the EFL, there were a horror shows, an untimely stag do and a rare home defeat.

With the battle of two of the biggest cats in the kingdom from four managers taking charge of their first game, here’s the EFL By Numbers.

With Goodbrand Stats.

Canaries soaring to the Premier League? 

If you’re a fan of stats, which I’m guessing you probably are since you’re here; you’re going to like this one. If you’re a Norwich City fan, you’re going to love it.

The Championship leaders 93rd-minute winner against relegation-threatened Bolton was significant for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it keeps Daniel Farke’s side 1 point ahead of 2nd placed Leeds and 6 clear of 3rd placed Sheffield United in the race for promotion.

Secondly, for us football boffins it’s significant because Saturday was the day the Canaries were promoted to the Premier League.

This is because in each of the last 10 seasons the team top of the Championship after 21 games has gone on to win automatic promotion.

In 7 of those seasons, they’ve gone up as Champions. So commiserations to Leeds’ fans, your team were in the Premier League at 16:45 on Saturday afternoon, looks like you’ll have to do it the hard way. Champagne on ice for Norwich?

Frank’s Brentford horror show 

Once upon a time, Brentford were amongst the Championship’s showstoppers in the race for promotion.

The Bees were in the play-off places in October, but have endured a bleak winter. Thomas Frank’s record as Brentford manager is scary to say the least.

On Saturday, he likened his side’s start against Swansea City to a “horror movie” before they eventually lost 3-2. It’s now 7 defeats in 9 for Frank, which has seen his side have slip from 5th to 18th.

The omens were not good for Brentford when Swansea took the lead after just 27 seconds. 28 minutes later they were 3-0 down.

The Nightmare on Griffin Park may not have the same ring to it as a certain Freddie Krueger movie, but Frank is certainly staring in a horror film of his own.

He’s lost 4 of his 5 home games in charge of the club, who only lost 3 home games in the entire 2017-18 season. Frank-it’s-time to go?

Rare home blues for Birmingham 

They say when a Robin appears it’s a sign of good fortune, so surely your luck must be in when a round of them come to town. I’m sure the irony still hasn’t been lost on Birmingham manager Garry Monk.

Last week, we highlighted the Blues remarkable home form under Monk, that has seen them go 15 games unbeaten at St Andrew’s. Naturally then, we jinxed it.

Famara Diedhiou scored the only goal of the game as Bristol City became the 1st side to win a league game at Birmingham City since March.

Speaking of jinxes, this was City’s 1st win at St Andrew’s since March 1993, a run stretching 9 matches.

Lee Johnson’s side have now collected 7 points from 9 in the league, rising to 13th in the table. Robins finally on song.

Lions vs Tigers 

Since the times of Ancient Rome, we’ve wondered who’d win in a fight between a lion and a tiger. After Millwall’s EFL meeting with Hull City on Saturday, we’re still guessing.

The Tigers drew first blood before the Lions clawed their way back into the game, putting them on course for a rare win.

Hull hit back to wound their opponents with an equaliser, but couldn’t finish off their pray as the match ended 2-2. Surprisingly, the Lions have struggled at home, conceding 16 goals at the Den this term.

Nigel Adkins was celebrating 1 year in charge of Hull and he will have been happy enough to see his side pick up their 8th point from 12 on the Road.

The Tigers have been enjoying an upturn in fortunes of late. A run of just 1 defeat in 6 games has seen them rise to 19th in the Championship.

The same can’t be said for Millwall. Harris’ side have won 0 of their last 6 and sit just 1 point and 1 place above the drop-zone.

Hull had the eye of the tiger, whilst Millwall proved an injured lion still wants to roar. All square at the Den.

Ardley good timing for a stag do

3 is anything but the magic number for Notts County right now. It’s the number of EFL games they’ve won this season, the number of permanent managers they’ve had and after their latest defeat, it’s the number of points County are adrift from safety.

In fairness to new manager Neal Ardley, he couldn’t have asked for many tougher starts. David Flitcroft’s Mansfield side have lost just 1 game all season and ran out comfortable 2-0 winners at Field Mill on Saturday.

The Stags are now unbeaten in 13 games, losing just 1 of their last 25. Mansfield are now unbeaten in their last 12 meetings with Notts County and haven’t lost to their rivals since 2005. County out for the count as the Stags party on.

New EFL gaffers fail to boss it

As well as Neal Ardley, there were 3 other EFL managers taking charge of their 1st game on Saturday.

Of the 4, only Wally Downs came away with anything, after his Wimbledon side drew 1-1 with Rochdale.

A respectable start considering the Dons had lost 13 out of their last 17 league games. Sam Ricketts suffered defeat in his opening game in charge of Shrewsbury. His new side went down 2-1 at the hands of Burton.

In Ricketts though, Salop have an up and coming manager, who enjoyed an outstanding spell at Wrexham in the National League. The former Wales international won 13 of his 25 games in charge, a win ratio of 56.5%. 

Over 9 years since he last dipped his toes in League 2, Sol Campbell made his return to the fourth tier this weekend.

Campbell played 1 game for Notts County before calling it a day, his new club Macclesfield will be hoping he’ll survive longer as a manager. He’s certainly been thrown in the deep end for his first job in management.

After waiting so long for a break, the former Arsenal and England defender is 6 points adrift at the bottom of the EFL after a 1-0 defeat at Colchester.


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