Championship Top Five, Round 31: Bryan the best for Fulham

The Cottagers won away at Blackburn, but Preston are the best represented side after defeating Wigan

12:00pm on Monday 10th February 2020
Martin Macdonald
Joe Bryan
D, M (L) - Fulham - 26 yrs
Feb 8, 2020

It was a tight affair between Blackburn and Fulham, with the latter eventually running out narrow 1-0 winners.

The only goal of the game was scored by Aleksandar Mitrovic after some superb work by the best player on the pitch, Joe Bryan. The left-back caused mayhem with his overlapping runs down the flank all afternoon, and it was via this position that he burst into the box to reverse a perfect pass inside for his team-mate to score.

Both in attack and defence, he was rarely bettered by whoever Blackburn player was up against him, as he won 13/17 duels, 2/3 aerial duels, and 5/7 tackles.

He enjoyed 100 touches in the match which was more than anyone in this round of Championship fixtures.

Tom Barkhuizen
AM (R), S (C) - Preston NE - 26 yrs
Feb 8, 2020

Tom Barkhuizen is the first of two Preston players to make the top five after they won 2-1 away at Wigan, with him recording a goal and an assist.

He displayed a predatory instinct for the first goal as he peeled away at the back post which was the perfect position for him to convert the superb cross from Daniel Johnson. Then, he returned the favour to Johnson with a neat pass into the centre of the box for the second goal.

The 26-year-old only completed 19 passes in the game, but 19 of these were sent into the final third which displays his effectiveness in attacking areas.

Daniel Johnson
AM, DM (C) - Preston NE - 27 yrs
Feb 8, 2020

Staying with Preston then, and Johnson is the other player who makes the cut after he and Barkhuizen exchanged a goal and an assist.

His work for the opener was excellent and was one of many darting runs into the box which caused trouble for Wigan. On this occasion, he picked out a low cross to the back post which allowed his team-mate to easily convert.

Johnson's goal was arguably the better of the two as he receives the pass inside to feet before whipping a cracking left-footed finish into the bottom right corner.

His quick feet in possession helped him evade challenges for his goal, as well as on a few other occasions in the final third.

Harry Toffolo
D (L) - Huddersfield - 24 yrs
Feb 8, 2020

Huddersfield moved a potentially vital six points clear of the Championship relegation zone after defeating QPR 2-0 in relatve comfort at home.

From pretty much the get-go, Huddersfield looked hungry for goals, and the first eventually came after Harry Toffolo was rewarded for refusing to play for a penalty inside the box. After being brought down after a tackle which surely would have resulted in a spotkick, he jumped up opportunistically instead to clip a cross to the edge of the six yard box for Elias Kachunga.

That was one of three successful crosses he put into the box, while he sent 12 passes into the final third, too. Defensively, he won 3/4 duels and 100% of his tackles.

Nick Powell
AM, F (C) - Stoke - 25 yrs
Feb 8, 2020

LIke Huddersfield, Stoke extended the cushion between themselves and the bottom three, with former Man Utd midfielder Nick Powell key to the 3-1 victory versus Charlton.

Before the half-hour mark, he used his height at the back post to nod a diving knockdown to the back post, where James McClean was placed to pass into the empty net.

Later on in the game, with the scoreline at 2-1, he took the game beyond Charlton after a smart run to the front post to get ahead of the defender, which allowed him to divert a cross into the roof of the net.

It was an all-round impressive display in midfield as he did the dirty work, too, winning nine duels and seven aerial duels.


Joe Allen (8.1) was typically combative in Stoke's victory, winning 10/15 duels and 4/4 tackles. He also gained an assist for the second goal with a threaded pass through the middle for Tom Ince.


Millwall pair Matt Smith (5) and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (5.1) had zero shots, zero crosses, and just five passes completed between them in the loss against West Brom. Talk about ineffective.

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