EFL Team of the Week: more Maddison magic

Goalkeeper: Freddie Woodman

The goalkeeper position was a slightly problematic area for Swansea last season, which was partly why they did not reach the top six finish that their shot data arguably merited.

Woodman though is proving a strong shot-stopper, which is especially important when they have come under the cosh.

Swansea needed Woodman to keep them in the game in the first half of their 2-1 home victory over Hull, they needed him to preserve a point in the 0-0 draw at Derby the following week.

In the 1-0 victory at Leeds, he was important once again, making three good saves including one from Pablo Hernandez, allowing the Swans to bag the winner in injury-time and go into the international break top of the table.

Right-back: Sergi Canos

There seems to be a special relationship between Sergi Canos and Brentford.

When he first arrived at Griffin Park in 2015-16, there was a passion about the Spaniard that was not necessarily evident in every loanee – Bees fans could tell Canos had bought into the club.

Canos operated as a forward for much of his time under Dean Smith, but Thomas Frank thinks the team can utilize his tireless energy best as a right wing-back, which is partly why the head coach moved him into that position and shifted Henrik Dalsgaard back into a wide centre-back role.

Canos was a key influence in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Derby, which might just have got Brentford’s promotion push up-and-running.

Centre-backs: Byron Webster, Carlisle and Dean Moxey, Exeter

Not long ago, Bryon Webster was a top League One centre-back.

When Millwall lost the 2016 Play-Off Final to Barnsley, Webster’s late withdrawal through injury was recognized as one of the key reasons why.

Injuries in recent years mean Webster is not quite playing at the level he would ideally like but, with his bravery and leadership qualities, he is proving a key asset to Carlisle, receiving special praise from manager Steven Pressley after a 1-0 triumph at Scunthorpe.

Exeter City captain Dean Moxey, meanwhile, was a calming influence in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Mansfield.

After Ryan Bowman’s fifth-minute goal, the Grecians were protecting a lead throughout and so Moxey, on the left of the back-three in Matt Taylor’s 3-5-2 setup, needed to be at his best next to Pierce Sweeney and Aaron Martin.

Left-back: Nesta Guinness-Walker, AFC Wimbledon

The non-league hotshot, named by somebody watching an early-noughties Milan side in a pub, has enjoyed a fine start to life at AFC Wimbledon.

Guinness-Walker gained national exposure by being part of the Metropolitan University’s run to the FA Cup Second Round, where they put up a good fight against Newport.

The 19-year-old had big shoes to fill, replacing impressive wing-back Steve Seddon, who has since earnt a first-team spot at Birmingham, but he is proving more than capable of stepping up to the mark in Wally Downes’ 3-5-2.

Guinness-Walker brings an outstanding work rate and had his best game in a Dons shirt in Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Wycombe.

Central-midfielders: Flynn Downes, Ipswich and Jordan Williams, Rochdale

In Ipswich’s relegation season, Flynn Downes showed flashes of potential.

He displayed the ability to press with real energy at times, yet natives also felt he had the technical ability to be the long-term replacement for Cole Skuse in a slightly deeper role.

In a team that is a more prominent influence on their games, Downes is really thriving at League One level.

The same can be said of MJ Williams, who is “really enjoying” his football under Brian Barry-Murphy.

Rochdale’s quality of football had dipped slightly in the previous two seasons as the nerves of a relegation dogfight crept in.

This year, though, they have scored three different goals following passages of play involving at least 10 passes; the improved build-up has much to do with Williams operating as the pivot, at times dropping between centre-backs Jim McNulty and Eoghan O’Connell.

Right-winger: Sam Hoskins, Northampton

Hoskins is arguably among the most underrated players in League Two.

He can face criticism at Northampton and at times that is valid, because the quality of his end product can be somewhat inconsistent.

However, Hoskins always brings boundless energy to the teams he plays in and that was very valuable in the Cobblers’ 3-1 win over Plymouth Argyle – a result that was somewhat surprising given the early-season form of both sides.

The former Yeovil man produced a delightful cross from the right for Andy Williams to nod home and hugged the touchline to create more space for Matty Warburton in the number 10 role.

Attacking midfielder: Marcus Maddison, Peterborough

As Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony has said, if Marcus Maddison does not win League One Player of the Month this August – he never will!

We controversially left the wide forward out of our TOTW last week, following his stellar display in the 4-0 win at MK Dons, but had no choice this week.

Starring at the tip of Darren Ferguson’s midfield diamond, Maddison bagged a brace in the 3-0 triumph over Sunderland, including a delightful free-kick.

Left-winger: Grady Diangana, West Brom

After West Bromwich Albion’s 2-2 draw with Reading last month, Diangana was described by manager Slaven Bilic as wanting to “score and assist at the same time”!

In some ways, that shows the West Ham loanee can perhaps add composure to his game and improve on his decision-making.

In many, many other ways, though, it was a huge compliment.

From the left-wing, Diangana has been a bundle of energy, a box of tricks and a provider of quality to boot.

Not only did he come off the bench at half-time to score a brace in the 2-1 win at Luton, he grabbed his third goal of the campaign last time out, running almost half-the length of the pitch to chip the ball over the goalkeeper in a 3-2 triumph over Blackburn.

Left-winger Harvey Barnes was so crucial to West Brom in the first half of last season and on this early evidence, Diangana could have a similar impact.

Striker: Jordan Hugill, Queens Park Rangers

After Jordan Hugill came off the bench last week to miss an open goal from inside the six-yard box, he showed the strength of character to finish his next chance very smartly – and he even shared a joke about his miss on social media.

That moment aside, Hugill has enjoyed an outstanding start to the campaign with five goals in six.

From a neutral perspective, it is nice to see the West Ham loanee find form; he put in a lot of selfless graft during his time at Middlesbrough last season, but didn’t quite find that purple patch.

At QPR though, it helps that he is playing under a more expansive coach in Mark Warburton – and after scoring in the opening day 1-0 win at Stoke, confidence has flowed from there.

Manager: John Coleman, Accrington Stanley

A first victory of the season for Stanley came this week, thanks to a 2-1 triumph over MK Dons.

One of the goalscorers was Colby Bishop, signed in the summer from seventh-tier Leamington.

Bishop is clearly a technically accomplished forward, but it was a huge challenge for him to step up three divisions; the fact the 22-year-old has already scored four goals in all competitions says everything we need to know about the man management ability of John Coleman and Jimmy Bell.

The club’s financial limitations, which chairman Andy Holt is very open about, means that Stanley often have to sign players who would ordinarily be looking at offers two divisions below.

And yet, the players they are bringing in are being moulded into a team that is competitive at this level.


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