Sky Bet Championship 2016-17: 5 things we learnt from Matchday 17
The Sky-Bet Championship is starting to have a familiar look to it, week on week. The same teams look to be cementing their places at both the top and the bottom. Yet, in-between, there is a merry-go-round of failing form and clean-sheets.
Will the Geordies maintain their top flight ambitions? Are Rotherham doomed to League 1 already? Which ex-Man United star turned manager is tightening up a Championship side’s defence? All this and more in the Championship’s Match Day 17 review.
#1 Newcastle pull clear
Is anyone going to be able to stop the juggernaut that is Newcastle United winning the Sky-Bet Championship this season?
They have won each of their last 8 games in the league and now sit on 40 points, winning 13, drawing 1 and losing 3. Their nearest rivals Brighton, are 5 points behind them and it’s surely not too early to say that it looks like they will be in the Premier League next year.
The 2-0 away win against Leeds United this weekend - that ended their 3-match winning streak - was an impressive display that saw Dwight Gayle score a brace to bring his goal tally to 13 for the season.
Despite this show of dominance, the Newcastle manager still believes his team can improve:
"I have to say thanks to every player, we could see a performance today against a good team we saw the effort, the mentality was good and the understanding of the game was very good.
"The atmosphere we were talking about as intimidating but we controlled ourselves. We knew what they could do but the players applied themselves and it's a credit to them.
"Everything we tried to do we did well, set-pieces, control of the game and counter-attack. There is room for improvement but I can't complain because we did very well."
It’s hard to see them dropping points in their next 2 games either. This coming weekend, they are at home to Blackburn Rovers who are in the relegation zone and after a midweek EFL cup tie against Hull, travel to 18th placed Nottingham Forest.