Championship Chat: Bad habits hurting Leeds

James Marshment blasts Leeds' defending in this week's Championship Chat, but praises Henri Lansbury, Will Hughes and goal-crazy Bournemouth.

Last Updated: 25/10/13 at 09:40 Post Comment

Will Hughes: Left Leeds' defence all at sea on Saturday

Will Hughes: Left Leeds' defence all at sea on Saturday

More of the games that matter

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The Sky Bet Championship is often overlooked for the glamour and glitz of the Premier League, but there's much to be celebrated in the second tier as we find out in this weekly Thursday column.

The race for promotion, and the bid to stay in the second tier, is likely to be as competitive as ever, as we examine all the key talking points from the weekend, and also take a look at what's to come in the matches ahead.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the story comment box, below, or follow me on Twitter here.

To see all the weekend's goals, click here.

Goal of the weekend: Harry Arter, Bournemouth v Millwall

Goal three in Bournemouth's five-goal comeback against Millwall, the Cherries midfielder took a Tokelo Rantie pass first-time on the volley, the ball flying into the roof of David Forde's net from the edge of the area.

Worthy of mentions: Johnny Russell, Derby v Leeds; Darius Henderson, Nottm Forest v Brighton; Fernando Forestieri, Watford v Huddersfield.

Team of the week: (4-3-3) Ross Turnbull; Kieran Trippier, Clint Hill, Steve Cook, Benoit Assou-Ekotto; Henri Lansbury, Grant Leadbitter, Will Hughes; Charlie Austin, Fernando Forestieri, Danny Ings.

Special mention this week goes to QPR frontman Charlie Austin, who after a slow start to life at Loftus Road, now has five goals in his last five games. You clearly can't keep a good man down and Burnley and Hull's loss (a failed medial cost Austin a move to the Tigers in the summer) is very much Harry Redknapp's gain. 'T'riffic'!

Quote(s) of the week: Dougie Freedman

Bolton's struggles this season have put Freedman under unexpected pressure early on, but recent performances suggested a change in fortune was just around the corner.

That proved the case on Saturday when the Trotters earned a hard-fought 2-1 win in Sky's televised game, with a calm and collected Freedman saying afterwards: "It's not a relief because I strongly believe that if you work hard and you study the game then you get your rewards and that's what we've certainly done here.

"I've tried to stay calm, I've had good support from the chairman in a difficult moment, but we've certainly not been far away having registered five draws.

"I had belief that we'd turn it around if we just kept working hard.

"I had strong confidence it would come. You have to go through some bad moments to get your reward and that's what we've done."

Player of the weekend: Henri Lansbury, Nottingham Forest

The former Arsenal midfielder has been in fine form this season with his double at Brighton on Saturday evening underlining the confident displays he has been putting in this term.

Even without the goals, Lansbury's display was well worthy of praise and if he can it up, he'll have a big say on Forest's promotion hopes this term.

Gaffe of the week: Kasper Schmeichel, Leicester

The Foxes keeper is one of the Championship's top stoppers, but he'll have wanted the ground to eat him up whole after he dropped a tame Mark Duffy corner into his own net under minimum pressure.

To make matters worse for Schmeichel, the clanger condemned Leicester to only their second defeat of the season.

Game of the week: Bournemouth 5 Millwall 2

If you want to see the goals flying in, then go watch Bournemouth. There's been 42 in 11 league games involving the Cherries this season, and Saturday's clash with Millwall epitomised their season so far.

Poor defending saw them fall 2-0 down inside the first 10 minutes, but Eddie Howe's men have plenty of goals in their locker with five different players getting on the scoresheet on their way to a brilliant 5-2 victory.

Watch highlights of the game in the video above.

Result of the week: Burnley 2 Reading 1

Burnley have impressed many this season (not least yours truly, who has been banging on about the cracking job Sean Dyche has been doing from week one in this column), but this was seen by many as a game too far for the Clarets.

However, in-form strike duo Danny Ings and Sam Vokes netted in either half to help them on their way to a 2-1 victory, with an unfortunate Jason Shackell own goal proving only consolation for the Royals.

I'm still not convinced they have the squad depth to maintain their challenge, but on current form, Burnley remain the team to beat in the Championship.

Disappointment of the week: Leeds United

Shambolic defending seems to have dogged Leeds in recent years, but their defensive efforts at Pride Park on Saturday plunged new depths. It all started badly with three players chasing one player to leave Chris Martin with all the time and space in the world to notch the opener. And it got no better as the Rams netted twice more to earn a 10th straight win over Leeds.

The Whites have now conceded the first goal in 11 of their 14 matches so far this season and that's a bad habit Brian McDermott will have to get his side out of if they're to make any sort of challenge for the play-offs.

Celebration of the week: Neil Danns, Bolton

It's become something of a trend in modern football for footballers not to celebrate against their former clubs. In some instances, with long-serving, or two-club players, I think this is entirely acceptable, but sometimes you can take this 'rule' too far.

Anyway, that was clearly not something Danns was willing to adhere to when he netted his first goal in Bolton colours on Saturday, the diminutive midfielder partying like it was 1999 after putting former club Birmingham to the sword. Good lad!

Hot topic of the week: Good Will hunting

Despite being just 18, Hughes has already clocked up 55 appearances for Derby and continues to grow from strength to strength.

Arsenal were the first club to register their interest in the England Under-21 midfielder a couple of seasons back, but since then Liverpool and most recently Manchester United have both been linked to the player too.

It obviously won't be long before Derby accept a bid for the midfielder from a Premier League side, with new manager Steve McClaren accepting he won't stay at Pride Park forever.

Hughes has had a brilliant grounding at Derby, with former boss Nigel Clough (and the Derby Academy staff) deserving of credit for the way his breakthrough into the first-team squad has been handled.

But his next move will obviously be pivotal and Hughes should consider carefully where his first-team prospects would be best suited. For example, would he get into current Arsenal midfield with Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil both occupying similar positions?

I personally would love to see him sign for an Everton, Villa, or Newcastle - teams where he can play regularly, enhance his game, and further his reputation as one of the English games most gifted players.

What's to come...

Live on Sky:

It's a blank weekend as far as the Championship goes due to the international fixtures. However, you can catch the League Two clash between Plymouth and Portsmouth (Sky Sports 1HD, Saturday 12.15pm kick-off) and the League One game between Coventry and Sheffield United (Sky Sports 1HD, Sunday 4pm kick-off) this weekend.

By James Marshment, follow me on Twitter here.

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