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Championship review: Villa whiz Azaz a Plymouth star; Kamara dominates for Leeds; Norwich demise

Glen Kamara produced a five-star performance for Leeds United, Norwich City and David Wagner are on the brink and Carlos Corberan's West Brom are ticking along nicely. All this and more from the latest round of the Championship...


West Bromwich Albion

We celebrated a Stoke City run of three straight wins last week, so let's do exactly the same with West Brom this week following their 3-1 over Hull City. The Baggies battled to victory with two second half goals sealing the deal after Hull had cancelled out Jed Wallace's opener. This is a really impressive bit of work by Albion boss Carlos Corberan after a quiet summer transfer window and some none too pleasant rumours about the clubs financial position seemed to forecast a potentially troublesome season ahead.

This latest win came against a Hull side with genuine play-off aspirations themselves after a far more active summer of recruitment than witnessed at the Hawthorns. The other two wins in the trio did come against out of form QPR and Coventry teams, but beating Hull will quieten down the arguments questioning the calibre of opposition.

What would continue to quieten down those arguments is a continuation of this form through the next five games as West Brom take on five current top eight teams in a row. It seems like a tall order doesn't it, but then so was getting Huddersfield to third place and a play-off final in 2021/22, a feat Corberan has on his CV. He seems to have things going nicely at West Brom, I wonder if a repeat performance might be on the cards.


Glen Kamara (Leeds United)

Plenty of hype about the Friday night game last weekend and understandably so as Leeds scored a 1-0 win at leaders Leicester. Given Leicester's mighty record breaking start to the season, this doesn't shift the needle much in terms of the Foxes still being firm favourites to win promotion this season, but it will certainly embolden Leeds in their chase to catch the top two.

It did feel somewhat like the culmination of the new Leeds of Daniel Farke following the summer takeover and could prove a very timely jumping off point for this and future seasons at Elland Road.

If the changes at the top were represented by the presence of Chairman Paraag Marathe at the King Power on Friday, then on the pitch perhaps the new look Leeds was exemplified by Glen Kamara. The Finnish midfielder arrived in the transfer window and is starting to become a fixture in the centre of midfield.

If the Jesse Marsch era was crash bang wallop then the calm assuredness of Daniel Farke is certainly being channeled in the heat of battle by Kamara. Up against Championship standouts Harry Winks and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, it was Kamara and his partner in crime Ethan Ampadu that controlled the midfield battle. Young starlet Archie Gray had started the season in that area of the pitch for Leeds and while his time will come, for now that spot in safe hands with Glen Kamara.


Carrow Road Car Crash

Recent results meant that there wasn't a good feeling going into Norwich's game with Blackburn and the rest of the division had already played as the two sides lined up for the Sunday lunch time TV game. The Canaries faced an open and attacking Blackburn side having lost four of the previous five and with pressure on manager David Wagner reaching peak levels.

That's not strictly true actually, as that peak moment was reserved for the 15th minute in the game as Rovers took a two goal lead and the Norwich fans' visceral reaction to the goal felt like a highly symbolic 'point of no return'.

There are those that argue Wagner is a victim of circumstance at Norwich, perhaps they're right and will only be proven correct in the fullness of time. Significant news was to follow during the week as incoming sporting director Ben Knapper had his start date, due to be the end of November, moved forward to the first Monday of the international break.

It doesn't take a great leap of logic to assume that Knapper's first big decision will be to swap the current manager, who appears to have lost the fans, with his own choice. I guess we'll find out the answer to that particular question next week, in the meantime Norwich head to Cardiff with Wagner still in charge but in the eyes of many in an untenable position. If the next international break proves as busy as the last for managerial changes then I don't think there's much argument as to Wagner being in the most precarious position in the division.


Finn Azaz (Plymouth Argyle on loan from Aston Villa)

There's a pretty decent argument to suggest that both the Championship game and goal of the round occurred at Home Park, Plymouth, during round 15. The game was an exhilarating 3-3 draw between Argyle and Middlesbrough and showcased the work of two excellent young coaches, Stephen Schumacher and Michael Carrick.

The goal was by Finn Azaz, a beautiful right footed curler into the far corner to put his side 2-1 up as the first half came to a close. The game kept on giving with another three goals after Azaz's worldie, and Plymouth will hope his loan spell from Aston Villa will keep on giving in equal measure.

This is not the first rodeo for Finn Azaz and Plymouth, he was there last season and part of the exceptional 101 point season that Argyle put together in reaching the Championship. In a team of many strong performers Azaz posted 16 goal contributions, scoring 8 and assisting 8, from a position just off the main striker.

It's been a good continuation of last season's form so far this season with Azaz already having put three goals and three assists on the board one third of the way into the season. An overly simplistic projection based on that output would have Azaz matching last year's League 1 output and would have many others contacting parent club Aston Villa about his plans after this current loan is over.

Follow Benjamin Bloom on Twitter @BenjaminBloom

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