MATCH PREVIEW: West Bromwich Albion vs Bristol City

City travel away to West Brom in the midweek match. City will be looking to make it 5 wins on the bounce after last weekends 1-0 win over Sheffield United.

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Marley Watkins celebrates his goal in the 1-0 victory over Sheffield United

Albion will be looking to improve on their 1-1 draw with Birmingham City. The hosts sit 8th in the table and if results go their way will see them leapfrog the visitors.

TEAM NEWS: 

West Bromwich Albion:

Midfielder James Morrison is expected to miss the match following his groin injury which ruled him out of Friday’s game. Wes Hoolahan could make his debut for the baggies after signing a short term deal with the club.

Birmingham City v West Bromwich Albion - Sky Bet Championship
Wes Hoolahan pictured in his new club colours after his arrival on Friday

Bristol City:

Eros Pisano is the latest addition to City’s injury list. The defender picking up a hip problem in training. Nathan Baker could start for the robins after shaking off injury problems; it would only be his third league appearance this season.

Prediction:

A tight game to call with both teams looking to pick up three points in the battle for the play off places. I think West Brom will just edge it with a 2-1 victory.

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Bristol City Monthly Review: August

Bristol City v Barnsley - Sky Bet Championship

City’s 2018/19 campaign is in full swing, with six league games and one Carabao cup game played, it was time to review how the Robins season had started.

Nottingham Forest (H)

Opening day action, Aitor Karanka’s Nottingham Forest were the visitors. Forest had recruited well in the summer window; 13 new additions. From young potential European talent; to key experienced players. They had been tipped to be one of the promotion pushers so this was by no means an easy game.

It was a bright start from City, backed by a vocal Ashton Gate they had the game from the off and deservedly went in front thanks to a debut goal from summer signing Andreas Weimann; it only took the Austrian 5 minutes to score and get off the mark at BS3. It was all City for the opening 45 minutes and they would of been frustrated not go in at 2-0 after Marlon Pack’s header  was cleared off the line.

After the restart it was Forest who started the better and similar to City it was rewarded; Murphy heading the visitors level after 46 minutes. From then on it was a dogged affair, Forest created chances but could not finish, City’s new keeper Maenpaa called into action more than once. City weathered the storm and were unlucky not to win the game when a penalty shout was ruled out right at the death, Mo Eisa went down in a crowded box but the referee did not agree, the full time whistle was blown seconds later to share the points at BS3; Bristol City 1 -1 Nottingham Forest.

Bolton Wanderers (A)

Away from BS3, City were at Bolton Wanderers in hope of gaining a result on the road. The first half started lively with City squandering key chances, there was even a penalty appeal on Josh Brownhill. After a neat one two with Paterson the midfielder was brought down in the box by Mark Beavers; protest from the City players, but the ref waved play on allowing Bolton to clear. Eliasson nearly broke the deadlock; his shot hitting the post from a tight-angle free kick.

Like the first half City started brightly, instant pressure from the Robins meant the chances kept coming, but again they could not finish. Against the run of play Bolton attacked, a dangerous cross prompting Maenpaa to tip over. The resulting corner then gave the hosts the lead; Josh Vela’s delivery met by Will Buckley with a right-footed finish. 1-0 Bolton. Minutes later it was to get worse for the visitors; a Nathan Baker foul lead to a quick free-kick, Pawel Olkowski picking out Josh Magennis to give the hosts a two goal lead.

City still attacked in hope of sparking a comeback. The attacking prowess was to pay off; Marlon Pack with a perfectly weighted pass to release Weimann who made no mistake in finishing past the Bolton keeper, 2-1 Bolton; game on. 10 minutes from time City found themselves level thanks to Jamie Paterson, cutting in from the left the midfielder found his first time effort nestle into the bottom corner. It was nearly a perfect comeback after City could have won the game at the death, Mo Eisa’s shot deflected wide of the goal. It finished 2-2, a hard earned point for City.

Plymouth Argyle (H) Carabao Cup Round 1

City kicked off their Carabao Cup heroics with a repeat fixture of last seasons competition to Plymouth Argyle. Last time out it was a rampant victory for the hosts 5-0, sparking a run seeing them get all the way to the semi-finals of the competition and nocking out numerous Premier League teams in the process (Manchester United even).

City started well dominating possession, but similar to their previous fixtures could not find the back of the net. Plymouth had their chances and thanks to Chelsea loanee Jay Da Silva the visitors were kept out.  But it wasn’t long until the visitors were ahead, Yann Songo’o with a powerful header from six-yards out to put it beyond O’Leary to give the breakthrough.

Second half began very evenly, both teams having a fair chunk of possession and squandering chances. City did get a goal back; or so they thought. Korey Smith’s driven effort finding the target, only to be ruled out for a controversial offside decision. City dominated the remaining half but couldn’t find that elusive equaliser. The game finished 1-0. City were out, there were to be no more cup heroics.

Middlesbrough (H)

After their shock cup exit to Plymouth, City hoped to bounce back with a league victory against promotion favourites Middlesbrough. It was a day that saw the return of Aden Flint after his big money move at the start of the season. City were playing with a make shift defence due to key injuries and it looked to be a hard day for the Robins with the visitors having an unbeaten start to the season and sitting in the top two.

Boro started the first half well pressing City a lot, so much so it took them just over 10 minutes to open the scoring; Jack Hunt’s misjudged pass finding Martin Braithwate who reacted quickly to slide the ball past the keeper and give the visitors a lead. Not the ideal start for City. Things got worse just after the half hour mark, Stewart Downing’s cross picking out Assombolonga who made no mistake in finishing, 2-0 to the visitors.

After the restart City played with real intent, key efforts on goal just 10 minutes after the restart looked to give the hosts a lift. The game grew open from this point on and both teams missed chances in front of goal. City began to dominate play again and nearly equalised after a Eros Pisano header hit the post, 10 minutes later Brownhill hit the crossbar with his speculative free kick effort from a central position. Despite the hosts dominance in the second half it finished 2-0 Boro to give Lee Johnson’s side their first league defeat of the season.

Queens Park Rangers (A)

City travelled to QPR in the midweek kick off in hopes of recovering from Saturdays home defeat. QPR were desperate for a win after a 7-1 thrashing away from home, they also found themselves in the relegation places. For City it would always be a tough game, they had not won at Loftus Road in over 40 years.

The away side started brightly and nearly found themselves in front, Eros Pisano’s ball  played wide to Taylor who delivered a deep cross to Eliasson at the back post, his volleyed effort fizzing wide. The left flank of QPR’s defence seemed to be shaky and it was here where City looked to exploit it. Taylor latching onto the ball in that pocket of space he dribbled at goal cutting inside before drilling a low effort into the far corner ;1-0 City.

Second half, City again started strong and it only took them 6 minutes from the restart to put themselves 2-0 up. Taylor again getting involved, his disguised pass finding the overlapping Eliasson who whipped a delightful ball into the danger area to find Weimann who nodded home. QPR did little to threaten the City defence but did have a key opportunity to claw a goal back, Washington taking it round the keeper and squaring it to Eze, his shot blocked on the line by the recovering Webster to keep the hosts out.

City added a third on 90 minutes when Ingram’s poor kick was intercepted by Taylor who found Brownhill, his effort saved from the keeper but only as far as Weimann who tapped in the rebound to score his second of the night and add more misery to QPR. The game finished 3-0 and it was City’s first three points of the league campaign, it was also their first victory at Loftus Road for 41 years, a good evening on the road.

Swansea City (A)

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Another away game saw City make the short trip over the bridge to newly relegated Swansea City. It was a much anticipated game for the visitors, so much so that they took a sell out away end (containing myself).

Thomas Kalas was thrown straight into the starting XI in defence after his loan singing move from Chelsea. It was to add much needed cover after City had only one recognised centre half playing the previous games.

Backed by the sell out away end City looked well up for it, and they were. It was a dream start, after 31 seconds they were ahead sending the away fans wild (We hadn’t even finished singing the national anthem!). Eliasson’s persistence on the right allowed him to put a low cross into the box where Andreas Weimann scrambled the ball home. It was his fifth goal of the campaign, the same he had scored at Derby all last season.

Swansea struggled with City’s pressure and looked to pounce on any mistake. They did have their chances  however, Bersant Celina’s free kick cleared off the line by Jack Hunt. Swansea tried to work it down City’s right hand side but struggled to get past Lloyd Kelly on numerous occasions. Kelly has been instrumental after filling in for the departed Bryan. City themselves could of doubled their advantage only to be denied by the Swans keeper from close range. Swansea nearly equalised close to half time after Celina’s long range effort sailed inches wide of goal, another close scare for the visitors.

Second half it was Swansea who had the better of possession and worked well with it. Chances were coming for the Welsh side but they couldn’t find the back of the net; Ollie McBurnie’s overhead kick dipping over the crossbar. City grew into the game as it went on , Kelly also growing further into the game attacking wide and causing much havoc along the left flank. His persistence earned City a free kick in dangerous territory which resulted in debutant Kalas shooting inches wide. It was Kelly at the heart of it again when his low cross was met by Weimann who took the ball around Mulder, forced wide he spotted Taylor, picking him out he shot first time to force a save from the Swansea keeper.

Swansea got back into the game and dominated the last 20 minutes, City did well to survive the onslaught. Goalscorer Weimann also showing his defensive ability after he headed an effort off the line. Then City keeper Maenpaa  was called into action, Matt Grimes driven effort tipped over the bar. Swansea piled on the pressure in injury time but it would not be enough as the game finished 1-0 to City and give them their second consecutive win since December of last year. It was also two consecutive clean sheets on the road.

Player of the Month: 

Queens Park Rangers v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship
Lloyd Kelly shows his delight after the full time whistle vs QPR

Lloyd Kelly – Since the departure of Joe Bryan to Fulham, Kelly has come into his own at LB, for a player of his age he shows considerable confidence when under pressure and can certainly handle himself. This is evident in the last two away games helping to earn consecutive clean sheets. The youngster also likes to drive forward similar to that of Bryan, this was most notable in the Swansea game where he created numerous chances. If he keeps playing how he is he will be a pivotal role in City’s campaign this season.

Summary

A solid start for City who find themselves floating around the play off places. If the team churns out the performances similar to the QPR and Swansea games then they will have no issue in finishing in the top half and even pushing for the play off places. It is however early days and my biggest concern will be if they can deliver when they need to, we lost vital games last season against fellow play off contenders; especially in the latter part of the season. But this is a side that looks good and definitely is doing the right things at the minute so who knows.

COYR!

 

All images taken from Credited sources: Getty Images

MATCH PREVIEW: Bristol City vs Blackburn Rovers Preview

Bristol City v Brentford - Sky Bet Championship

Bristol City host Blackburn in the televised Sunday clash. Both teams will be hoping to add to their strong starts to the season. Blackburn are currently unbeaten in the league and sit in 5th occupying the play off place, whilst City have recorded back to back wins since December of last year; both wins coming away from home (QPR 0 – Bristol City 3, Swansea City 0 – Bristol City 1) will help give the Robins a strong boost going into the game.

Blackburn having bolstered their squad with the addition of striker Ben Brereton from Nottingham Forest, the striker will be hoping to relish the chance of a dream debut. For City there is a much anticipated return of striker Famara Diedhiou after serving his 6 game ban for spitting.

Key Man:

Bristol City – Andreas Weimann, the Austrian forward has hit the ground running since his arrival, 5 goals in 5 games sees him sit joint top lead goalscorer. He will certainly be looking to add to his tally and it is important Blackburn keep him under control.

Weimann
Andreas Weimann celebrates after his second goal against QPR

Blackburn Rovers – Bradley Dack, the midfielder has certainly made the step up to the Championship, the midfielder has the ability to unlock the defence with a splitting pass and also has an eye for goal already bagging himself 3.

Prediction:

Both teams will be up for the fight but I can see City edging it mainly thanks to home advantage, I predict a 2-0 victory for the Robins to potentially leapfrog their opposition; results permitted that is.

ALL IMAGES FROM GETTYIMAGES

 

MATCH PREVIEW: QPR vs Bristol City

Lee Johnson’s side visit QPR in the midweek fixture and will be hoping to come away with all three points after defeats to; Plymouth Argyle in the League Cup and Middlesborough in the Championsh last Saturday.

Callum O’Dowda reacts to the League Cup defeat to Plymouth Argyle

It will be a tough game for the visitors, City have a poor record at Loftus Road, their last league victory taking place more than 40 years ago. Add to it a QPR side in desperate need of a win, 0 points from 9 and last weeks 7-1 thrashing at the hands of West Brom, QPR will certainly be looking to bounce back.

City will also be wanting a victory to give their first win of the season and kick start their League campaign, the sharks are starting to circle for Johnson, fans unhappy with the teams recent performances.

Lee Johnson and his coaching staff look on during the Championship clash with Middlesbrough

City are without centre half Nathan Baker having to settle with fullbacks to do the job, target man Famara Diedhiou is also missing; serving the rest of his six game ban.

With QPR needing a result and wanting to give something back to the fans after the horror show they had at the weekend, I predict a tight edgey game from the off but I can see QPR just edging it 2-1.

Bristol City FC 18/19 Prediction

imageWith City’s 18/19 Championship campaign less than a week away I thought I would take a look at the season ahead and give my predictions for it.

Last seasons finish was nothing short of disappointing taking into the account not only our league position but our form before the new year. It was hard to take the final standing of 11th. I felt after the Wolves game the players could just not come back from that, especially in the league, throw in a cup run by which was no means short of magnificent the players did not look the same. City will be hoping to improve on last season and there is no reason why they can’t aim for playoffs.

TRANSFERS

With Reid having the season of his life it was not surprising to see clubs coming in for him. No sooner had the season finished it was constant paper talk, a move looked imminent it was just unclear as to who would capture his services, so when Cardiff announced it him it was a hard one to take. From a fans perspective it was probably not ideal to sell to a local rival; however on the financial view £10 million (reported fee) was a good bit of business for a player who only made the move to striker that season and is yet to prove his worth in the Premier League.

Another big loss was the departure of fan favourite Aden Flint to Middlesbrough. Now i’m not gonna lie when I say the bloke is a City legend, he gave it his all for the shirt and provide us with some fantastic memories over the way. His no nonsense defending and eye for goal was pivotal for us during his 5 year stay and was not surprising to see him leave. We were lucky to keep him as there was strong links at the start of the season for a move away to Birmingham, just as well he didn’t. In my opinion I thought it was a good business from City with not letting him leave for nothing ,£7 million (reported fee).

City quickly searched for replacements and settled on Derby striker Andreas Weimann, I feel this is a good singing due to the experience, he has played in the Championship for numerous clubs so knows what it takes at this division. He has an eye for goal and will be vital in City’s campaign this season. Another arrival Adam Webster was brought in as replacement for Flint, the former Ipswich Town man is much younger than his counterpart and after seeing him in pre-season I feel is a much better natural defender than Flint, he is also very good on the ball, an asset that is much needed for the modern day centre half. What is yet to be determined is his eye for goal, I just don’t think Flints goal scoring presence can be replaced.

Jack Hunt was brought in from Sheffield Wednesday, again another good singing who knows the division inside out and will provide much needed competition in the RB spot.

Other arrivals include the signing of highly rated young winger Hakeeb Adelakun from Scunthorpe United. The youngster was brilliant for the Irons in there League One  campaign last season, pacey, skilful and eye for goal time will only tell if he can make the step up for City. Another youngster Mo Eisa signed from Cheltenham Town, Eisa was one of the standout players in League Two last season scoring 23 goals in it and even being nominated for the League Two young player award. It seems city have signed a real talent at a bargain reported fee of £1 million. Similar to Hakeeb it will be a case of waiting to see how he handles the step up.

Although not a signing Marlon Pack put pen to paper on a new three-year deal to extend his stay at BS3, he is a key part of the squad and too a fan-favourite for city. He has had his ups and downs for us but he has certainly proved his worth over the last few years, lets not forget this is a bloke that held the midfield against Manchester United and earned praise from Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola!

All in all I think City have done well in the transfer window and have certainly provided food for thought with the signings but we are still missing key elements. A creative midfielder is a must someone who can really create something when we need it (think Lee Tomlin on a good game).

We most certainly need a new keeper, Fielding last season was too inconsistent and cost us many a points, he can produce a fantastic save and then next let in a easy effort, his distribution was questionable last season and although he has been a good servant to us, I feel a much younger or more experienced keeper is needed.

Prediction

I feel this season will really be a case of one way or another, if the players gel well and we start strongly like we did last season than things will be looking up, it will be after the new year where we will begin to worry, we can not afford to lose leads like we did last season, something I feel Johnson has learnt, all be it taking him more than one occasion to learn. If however we start poorly and do not grind out strong performances then things will start to slide and we could well and truly be on our way for a relegation battle, when you look at how toxic it was two seasons ago it is not a position either the club or Lee would want to be in.

I ultimately think we will finish in 9th Place, an improvement on last season which as fans we would take. With the attacking football we can play and the support we provide there is no reason we can’t beat anyone; we certainly proved that last season… well for half of it!

Bristol City FC -March

 

On a surprising snowy day in BS3 City started the month at home to Sheffield Wednesday hoping to return to winning ways, “The Owls” had surprised may this season with their poor season occupying the lower half of the table for much of the season.

It was a game in which City controlled from the off, playing their quick free flowing football that has been synonymous with them. On 14 minutes City broke the deadlock,  a quick one-two between Reid and Brownhill before the Bristolian finished in the inside post. Sheffield Wednesday came close to finding an equaliser but Atdhe Nuhiu squandered his chance from 12 yards out. Directly from this City went up the other end and scored, Reid again finding the back of the net. More misery was to be piled onto the visitors as City scored again 2 minutes before the interval ; Josh Brownhill with a precise finish to the inside post after being teed up by Jamie Paterson’s back heel.

Second half there was to be no fightback from Wednesday and when city were awarded a penalty in the 62nd minute there was no stopping Reid to be denied his first career hat-trick and help secure a vital win in City’s play off push.

Midweek action City faced Preston North End away  in a crucial play off clash, hoping to avoid a repeat of last season’s 5-0 thrashing (A result which actually seemed to kick off city’s relegation fight). It was a cagey affair from the off both teams having key chances which should of been finished better, it took only 20 minutes to find the breakthrough; Hordur Magnusson clearing his lines rather than letting in run through to keeper Frank Fielding, his scuffed clearance falling straight to Browne who spotted fielding of his line and finished precisely. 1-0 Preston.

Second half action City played with much more attacking intent, they needed a result from this game, they were rewarded in the 67th minute when Reid’s in swinging cross was met by Diedhiou with a flashing header to even things up. City attacked with high pressure and ultimately got caught out for Preston’s eventual winner. It came only two minutes from the equaliser, Korey Smiths up field pressure caught out by the Preston midfield who teed up Maguire to calmly finish past Fielding and put the hosts in front. City huffed and puffed but couldn’t find another goal, the night only got worse for City when Aden Flint was given his marching orders after raising an arm to former teammate Greg Cunningham after being provoked.

Away from home City played Burton Albion a club who were struggling to stay up, on paper it looked to be an easy City victory but it did not turn out that way at all. It was a tripped I attended myself and can say it was also one of the worst away performances I’ve seen. City started poorly with no attacking options, it was Burton who penetrated the goal and should of gone in front if they had a striker that could finish. City did finally have a chance working it down the left hand side from Paterson but he could not put his shot on target.

The second half was not much better, Burton again having the better chances only to be denied by a fantastic save from keeper Frank Fielding. The game was crying out for width as that is where City looked to create their chances, however Lee Johnson opted for a bigger presence up top; Lois Diony and Milan Djuric being brought on. The subs had little affect and the game finished 0-0. It was a game in which City dropped two valuable points against a side they should easily be beating, in all honesty it felt like a defeat.

Another snowy day in BS3 City hosted Ipswich Town hoping to rectify there poor performance away. It was a game of two halves, City dominated play but couldn’t break through Ipswich’s stubborn defence. Ipswich should have really gone in front, their striker Martin Waghorn coming close and making himself a real nuisance. Second half City was much more better, breaking through the Ipswich defence much easier, this time just struggling to finish. Milan Djuric was brought on with 56 minutes gone hoping to give a much needed presence in the air, he certainly did. Youngster Lloyd Kelly’s delightful cross from the left finding Djuric who finished past the keeper with a crisp header. City 1-0. It was the only goal of the game as city grinded out a key win to help maintain their play off place.

For the final game of the month City played away to Barnsley. The home side started brightly having key chances from the off. It took only seven minutes for them to find the breakthrough. George Moncur’s corner met by Kieffer Moore who rose highest to head home the ball and put the hosts ahead. City could of got level, Josh Brownhill’s speculative effort saved. City did pull one back with a speculative effort, this time Famara Diedhiou, cutting inside he released a curling effort to find the top corner and bring City level.

Barnsley started the second half much quicker than City and should of gone in front, Frank Fielding producing some fantastic saves to deny the hosts. His heroics were short lived though as Barnsley eventually found a breakthrough; Kiefer Moore’s low cross met by the onrushing Potts to give the hosts a well earned lead. But City were not to lose this game and in the first minute of injury time found an equaliser, Josh Brownhill guiding a looping header into the back of the net and score against his former employers. The game finished 2-2 and helped keep City’s play off hopes alive.

“Accrington Stanley… Who are they?”

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When people first hear those words most people think of THAT famous advert that helps put “Stanley” on the map. For those of you who don’t know (BUT WHO DOESN’T) back in the 1980’s The Milk marketing Board launched an advert featuring two young Liverpool fans, one young fan tel
ls his friend that none other than Ian Rush told him if he doesn’t drink his milk he will only be good enough to play for Accrington Stanley, prompting the other to say “Accrington Stanley, who are they?”. The advert has gone down with iconic status and is always linked with the club.

Fast forward to this week and Stanley are the talk of the town. Following an impressive season Stanley have been promoted to League One for the first time in their history after a 2-0 victory over Yeovil Town. Manager John Coleman has done a fantastic job at the League Two outfit with the joint lowest budget in the league Stanley have defied all odds and welldeserve their promotion.

It has been a long time coming for Stanley who were forced to reform back in 1968 after the club had folded. It has been a meteoric rise for Stanley, from Non-league to the return to the Football League it has certainly been a ride for “The Club that wouldn’t die”.

Congratulations Stanley!

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Accrington Stanley players celebrate promotion to League One.