After six games played in the new SkyBet Championship campaign, Bristol City currently sit in the play-off positions after a solid start to the season.
In this article I’ll look over the five things we’ve learnt from City’s start to the season.
The start to the season was just a blip
Lee Johnson’s side began the new campaign with no wins in three leagues games and suffered an unexpected first round exit in the Carabao Cup at the hands of League One outfit Plymouth Argyle.
Draws with Nottingham Forest and Bolton Wanderers followed by a very disappointing 2-0 loss at Ashton Gate to former City boss Tony Pulis’ Middlesbrough, proved not to be the start to the season Johnson and his side were looking for after last season’s events – which saw the club achieve a sensational start in the league and reach the last four of the League Cup.
Following that poor spell, The Robins have got unbeaten and won three consecutive games, including impressive wins over newly-promoted Blackburn Rovers and Graham Potter’s Swansea City.
The Carabao Cup exit may prove a good move
Last season, City made the impossible possible and pulled off wins over the likes of Crystal Palace, Watford, Stoke City and the mighty Manchester United managed by the legendary Jose Mourinho, but this season’s campaign saw a drastic change of events and we witnessed The Robins endure a dramatic first round exit at the hands of Plymouth Argyle, a team who have been struggling in the third division of English football.
City’s cup run last time around was doubtably the reasoning behind their rapid plunge down the table and saw them eventually finish 12th – which didn’t seem likely earlier in the season considering how well the side was preforming and the results they were getting.
With City being dumped out of the cup in the early rounds this season, they will not have to play those extra few games whereas the sides around them in the table may have to making City’s fitness that touch better.
Andreas Weimann is well in contention for the golden boot
Since making the move down to the South West from Derby County in the summer, Austria’s Andreas Weimann has found the back of the net five times in six games, including a double against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road. He sits just behind Brentford’s Neal Maupay in the Championship leading goalscorers list for the 2018/19 season.
Weimann is already over half way to matching his tally that he achieved during his time at Derby County and is well on-course to bettering that and his record of 17 goals during his five-year stay at Aston Villa.
If he was to go on to grab the golden boot, the Austrian ace would have been made to work hard for the honour with the likes of Maupay, Kemar Roofe, Ollie Watkins, Oliver McBurnie and West Brom’s Jay Rodriguez also banging on the door.
Selling tremendous talents of Joe Bryan, Aden Flint and Bobby Reid was a bold move but proved the correct one
Yes, Bobby Reid netted on 19 occasions during last season’s campaign and Joe Bryan and Aden Flint were also instrumental in City’s cup run and challenge for the play-offs, though, the club did pocket a huge amount of cash for the trio and already had good enough replacements for them.
Both Reid and Bryan had been at Bristol City since they were extremely young and were labelled as top class players from various spectators that had watched City’s juvenile sides, meaning it would have been a tough decision to move away from BS3.
Since both have left the club they have struggled in the Premier League, with both being handed a spot in the starting 11 at the start of their spell at the club before eventually being dropped to the bench.
Joe Bryan, who was a part of City’s double winning squad during the 2015 season and scored during the 2-1 win over Manchester United in December, has been seen still showing his love for his hometown club after he attended City’s 3-0 win at Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.
Since the trio have left the club the likes of Andreas Weimann, Lloyd Kelly and recent loan singing Tomas Kalas have proved to be viable replacements.
Kelly, another left-back that has came through the City academy, is surprisingly just 19-years of age and only made his debut just over a year ago in City’s 5-0 win over Plymouth Argyle. He has really shone this season and has arguably looked better than Joe Bryan did 12 months, which is a rather big statement considering how good Bryan was and preformed.
We had seen very of Czech Republic defender Tomas Kalas, however, what we have seen of him has looked promising. He is not officially City’s player due to him being on loan from Chelsea but he could be vital if City are to push for the top six this season.
The defence still needs work despite improvement
Despite managing to get the likes of Adam Webster, Jack Hunt and Tomas Kalas from Ipswich Town, Sheffield Wednesday and Chelsea respectively and already having various defensive talents at the club such as Eros Pisano, Bailey Wright and Lloyd Kelly, Lee Johnson’s defence still needs work.
A prime example of this was during the Blackburn Rovers game at Ashton Gate, where Blackburn took the lead through a Charlie Mulgrew corner that somehow found the right-hand corner of Niki Maenpaa’s net. The corner went straight through various defenders on the front post before finding the back of the net.
The defensive problems have been worked on since the start of the season when they were considerably worse, though, there are some minor tweaks that could be worked on to ensure a minimal amount of defensive errors. The defensive problems could possibly be what scuppers City’s play-off hopes.
Picture Credit: Bristol Post